Friday Night Hero: Salisbury's Keion Adams
By Mike London
SALISBURY - Salisbury's Joe Pinyan is as staunch a two-platoon head coach as has ever lived, but he's had to make an adjustment when it comes to Keion Adams.
The senior is now officially a fullback/linebacker, as much as it goes against everything Pinyan believes in.
"We've told Keion to grease up to play both ways," Pinyan said. "He understands. He wants us to be the best team we can be. That means he'll get his rest now on special teams - and on Saturdays."
There may be a dozen or so guys in Rowan County who can run legit 4.6 40s. There also are a handful of guys who check in at 6-foot-2, 230 pounds.
But there is only one Adams. He's the one guy who is 6-2, 230, who also can sprint that 4.6.
"They really liked him at the Shrine Bowl combines," Pinyan said. "He's got a pretty good chance to make that team."
Adams' gift of speed is hereditary. His father is Desmond Adams, who rushed for 1,353 yards and 21 touchdowns on only 123 carries as a senior for Salisbury's 12-1 1995 team. Desmond Adams also won the gold medal in the 100 in the 1996 2A track and field state championships.
"He texts me before every game," Keion said. "He tells me to go knock some heads together."
Adams knocks heads together as well as anyone, but he has finesse as well as physicality. The interception he made in Salisbury's loss at West Rowan will get votes as the play of the year. It looked like it was going to be a West touchdown. Adams nearly made it a Salisbury touchdown.
"It was actually a really well-thrown pass (by Tyler Stamp)," Adams said. "It would've been a touchdown, except I've got extra long arms."
He stuck up one of those arms and plucked the pigskin from the sky. Then he returned the pick 40 yards or so. Watching Adams motor on that play may have convinced Pinyan that Adams was the spark his offense needed.
But Pinyan also knew he couldn't take Adams off defense, where he is one of a handful of veterans. Hence, the decision to use him both ways.
Salisbury was 1-2 after the loss to West Rowan on Aug. 31 and averaging 14 points a game.
Adams has started the last two games at fullback, with Max Allen shifting to halfback in Salisbury's wishbone. The addition of Adams to the trio of Allen, QB Brian Bauk and halfback Justin Ruffin gives the Hornets a four-headed monster, with any one of the quartet capable of a 150-yard, three-TD night.
It's true Salisbury has faced the county's two weakest defenses since making the change, but the results still are noteworthy. The Hornets have won 64-9 and 68-28 against South Rowan and Carson. Part of it has been Adams as a runner and receiver. And part of it has just been the threat of Adams helping everyone else.
"We've got four seniors in the backfield, and we can make great things happen," Adams said. "The only adjustment I've made is running my sprints harder in practice to get in game-shape to go both ways."
Adams carried six times against South. He scored once. He also hurdled a defender. He'd seen it done on TV, so he just did it. A South defender came at him low, and he bounded right over him.
"A Ball State coach was there to see Keion," Pinyan said. "He looked at me on that one and shook his head."
Ball State has provided one of Adams' two official offers. The other is from Howard. A lot of people are interested. Adams doesn't lose sleep over recruiting. He knows he'll get a chance to play linebacker or tight end somewhere.
He was awesome in Friday's romp at Carson.
"Well, he didn't win our offensive player of the week or our defensive player of the week," Pinyan said. "But he could've won either."
Adams ran 58 yards on the first snap. After catching his breath, he took the ball to the end zone from the 11. Carson DBs had no chance. It looked like a truck rolling downhill through parked cars.
"The thing is we missed three blocks on that play," Pinyan said. "Keion still scores."
Those were Adams' only two carries. He also caught a 26-yard pass that might have been a TD if Bauk hadn't underthrown him a little.
Defensively, he made eight tackles and forced a fumble on Carson's first possession.
"(Brandon) Sloop was carrying the ball on an outside run," Adams explained. "Like I said I've got those long arms, and I reached in and nudged the ball loose."
Pinyan expects Adams to keep making plays - on both sides of the ball.
And if you're an opposing coach, you have to be worried to death that Adams might actually get 15 carries some night.
"It's not like Keion is just talented," Pinyan said. "He's a fierce competitor."