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Alumni football: Sterling handles Rock Falls at Hinders Field

ROCK FALLS – When Anthony Adamson accepted a position in Rochester, Minnesota at an armored car security company, he was surprised at how quickly he was trusted to handle the responsibilities without much instruction.

“Aside from having to be licensed to carry a weapon,” Adamson said, “all of the training basically happened on the job.”

He had to learn his craft quickly. Maybe that helped him Friday night, as he played quarterback in a game for the first time in his life. He had to learn how to run the offense in a matter of hours, and it looked as if that was his natural position all along in leading Sterling to a 24-8 win over Rock Falls at Hinders Field in an Alumni Football USA contest.

The win gives Sterling a 2-1 all-time advantage over the Rockets in alumni football play.

Adamson is a 2010 Sterling graduate, and drove 5 hours on Friday from his new home in Rochester to play in the game. The tall, wiry player, who played as a wide receiver in high school, caught two touchdown passes for Sterling in last year’s win over Rock Falls. But this time he found himself on the other end.

“I definitely like playing wide receiver more,” Adamson said. “It’s such a different game as a quarterback because it’s a lot more mental. I was calling the plays in the huddle, and the guys were helping me out.”

“If it wasn’t for my team, and our great defense, we probably don’t win this game,” Adamson said. “I for sure couldn’t have performed like this without them.”

He was just what Sterling needed, standing tall in the pocket and accurate on the move. He threw for 119 yards, including a 9-yard touchdown pass to receiver Logan Wharff. Adamson also ran for 101 yards and two more scores. Running back DeAndre Johnson capped the scoring with a 6-yard run up the middle.

Sterling scored a touchdown in the first quarter, two more in the second and another in the fourth.

Rock Falls couldn’t crack Sterling’s stout defense. The unit held the Rockets to 133 yards, including just 23 through the air. Luis Lorenzy picked off Rock Falls quarterback Chance Wright on the second play of the second half, redeeming himself after dropping two potential interceptions on the Rockets’ first series.

“It was fun, but we didn’t play well,” said the Rockets Taylor Shepard, who had 27 rushing yards. “They were able to stop most of what we did.”

The only aspect of the Rockets game the Sterling defense couldn’t stop was Alex Leaf.

The 2013 grad displayed dizzying athleticism and speed, which he used to gain 67 yards on seven touches and the Rockets’ lone score.

“It kind of all came back to me pretty quick,” Leaf said. “Coming in, I was a little hesitant because I haven’t played since the fall of 2012, and wasn’t sure if I would have the same kind of agility. I guess the only thing that was lacking was I was a lot more winded.”

Leaf will be a junior at Illinois State University in the fall, and sometimes regrets not going out for football or another sport.

“It makes you question it a bit, especially after today,” he said. “But I’ll probably just stick to intramurals.”

Sterling team captain Andrew Trobaugh spent time as a defensive back, and was tasked with bringing down Leaf as he reached the second level out of the backfield often.

“I love the kid to death,” Trobaugh said, “but man, he is so fast. He’s something else out there.”

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