Not even a member of the Harlem Globetrotters could have pulled off the feat accomplished by Mission Hills Alemany quarterback Vernon Adams on Friday night in a 28-17 victory over Encino Crespi.
Adams leaped over a teammate in the first quarter, lost the ball, somehow caught it in midair and went in for a nine-yard touchdown run. It was part of a near-flawless first-half performance when he completed all six of his passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns in giving Alemany a 21-7 lead.
"He was fantastic that first half," Alemany Coach Dean Herrington said.
As far as his wizardry with the football, Adams said, "I was trying to hurdle my lineman, Akeem Gonzalez, and the ball just popped out and I got it, thank God."
Adams completed 14 of 17 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns in helping No. 6-ranked Alemany improve to 7-0 and win in its Serra League debut.
Two years ago, the Warriors wanted nothing to do with the Serra League. They didn't think they were ready to move to the Pac-5 Division.
"Our proposal was [Gardena] Serra should go," Herrington said.
Now the Warriors should very much be in the talk of being a Pac-5 title threat.
When Crespi (5-3, 0-2) made a run at the Warriors, taking advantage of an Adams fumble and interception in the third quarter and closing to 21-17 with just over eight minutes left, Alemany responded with a devastating 80-yard scoring drive that ended on an Adams bootleg and nine-yard touchdown pass to Saladin McCullough. McCullough also caught a 76-yard score in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, Alemany's defense contained Crespi quarterback Kenny Stenhouse, limiting him to 195 yards passing. He was dropped six times for losses, including three sacks by Kyle DeVaughn.
Alemany's secondary, led by cornerbacks McCullough and Steven Mitchell, battled Crespi's talented group of receivers and more than held their own.
The best move Herrington made was hiring away his middle brother, Rick, from Newhall Hart two years ago. Rick was the defensive architect for many of Hart's eight Southern Section championships, including a win over Mission Viejo and quarterback Mark Sanchez in 2003.
The challenge Friday was dealing with Crespi's formidable passing duo. Receiver Devin Lucien, who picked up a scholarship offer from UCLA this week and came in with 13 touchdown receptions, was held to three receptions even though Dean Herrington said before the game, "He's the best we've faced."
The versatility of Adams has been critical to Alemany's success, though his lack of size might be scaring off some college recruiters.
"He's right at 6 feet," Dean Herrington said. "I'm pretty confident he'll get something."
Herrington reserved some time this past week to put together a highlight tape to send out on Adams.
He might want to update it after Friday's performance.
Alemany, with victories over Westlake Village Oaks Christian and Woodland Hills Taft, must show it can handle the weekly grind of the Serra League. La Puente Bishop Amat is 8-0 and 2-0 in league. The two schools will play in a league finale possibly for the league championship.
"We've harped all year, if you don't come ready to play in this league, you're going to get beat," Herrington said. "You can't have any days off."