Adams brothers lift Wetumpka defense
By Tim Gayle
WETUMPKA – On a team that features offensive playmakers such as Kavosiey Smoke and Jadarious Martin, it’s easy to overlook the Wetumpka defense.
But as the Indians set their sights on establishing themselves as one of the state’s best, it will be the defense that ultimately defines the 2017 season.
“About the fourth game, we just noticed they had elevated their level of play and they’ve kept it there,” Wetumpka coach Tim Perry said. “Not that we were bad early, I guess they just got accustomed to some guys starting for the first time. After that (game), we just played so much better.”
The competition is intense on the defensive side of the ball and it starts with brothers Chase and Colton Adams.
“They’re competitive,” Perry said. “One wants to have a better game than the other, but they support each other. In the weight room, they’ll push each other and challenge each other, but you never see any blowups.”
Chase, a senior who is the older of the pair by 19 months, has started at the ‘will’ linebacker position the past two seasons.
“We’ve always been competitive,” Chase said. “It can be from who weighs the most to who’s the tallest. We’re competitive about everything. But I think he probably has me by about 15 tackles right now, so if I don’t show up in the next couple of weeks and make more tackles, he might have me beat.”
Colton, or “Bubba” as he is known, is a junior who has started the past two seasons at the ‘mike’ linebacker position and leads the team in tackles.
“It’s always been competition, since we were little, because we’re so close in age,” Bubba said. “We’re always trying to outdo the other person. That’s how we were raised. That competition has always been there. It goes on everywhere.”
The 2016 team was good, finishing 8-3, but allowed an average of 25.7 points per game, beating Prattville (55-53), Stanhope Elmore (54-37) and Chilton County (40-32) in shootouts while losing to Chelsea (35-28) and Opelika (38-37) because the defense couldn’t get off the field.
After the third game of 2017, Wetumpka (9-1) hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in any game, losing to Opelika 20-19 because of a pair of turnovers deep in Indian territory, not because of any defensive breakdowns.
“I’d say the difference on defense is coming into the playoffs this year we’re a lot more focused,” Chase said. “We’ve only given up 29 points (in a single game) this year. We have a lot more talent in the box. We had a bunch of young guys last year on defense. This year, we’re older.
“We’ve been talking about this season since we were little. Everybody on the team has. I knew, going into the season, we had a lot more talent. We had a bunch of players on the team last year that were really good, but I knew this year, coming in, it was going to be a big season.”
The competition between the brothers intensified in the offseason workouts as Chase increased his weight from 190 to 205 and Bubba went from 180 to 210.
“Last year, I was probably a little undersized,” Bubba said. “This year, it’s not that bad. I had a lot better offseason. We were in the weight room (together), gaining weight, getting stronger.”
The result was a stronger, more physical Wetumpka defense that stumbled only once, at Opelika, before rebounding the next week to win the region championship with a win at Benjamin Russell.
“Some people thought (the loss to Opelika) would really define us as to whether we’d come out and play harder or we’d put our heads down and let the season go,” Bubba said. “That loss defined us because we picked our heads up and worked harder to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Friday night’s first-round game against Blount will mark only the eighth time in school history the Indians have hosted a first-round game at Hohenburg Stadium. Only once (1987) have the Indians ever failed to advance past the first round.
For Chase Adams and four other seniors on defense, there is so much at stake in Friday’s first-round playoff game. The next loss will be the end of their football careers. It’ll also mean Bubba Adams will win the tackle competition between the pair.
Does he hear much about it?
“Always,” Chase said.