Troy Adams, Mitchell guard/linebacker
The 6-foot, 215-pound senior has become one of the county's top linebackers after dedicating himself to conditioning and weight work during the offseason. Big plays, such as his interception last week against Hudson draw the most attention, but the timeout Adams called after realizing the Mustangs were in the wrong defense against the Cobras' "polecat" or swinging gate formation was equally important in Mitchell's 27-21 victory, which gave the Mustangs the westside crown. He goes one-on-one with the Times' Frank Pastor:
FP: Best in the west. How's that sound?
TA: It sounds good, but we've got a lot more work to do. We can't get big-headed. We've got to play hard for four quarters every game. We haven't put a four-quarter game together, and that's still exciting for the team.
FP: You're known for your pad-popping hits. What's your secret?
TA: Middle linebacker is like your quarterback on defense, taking control out there. If I lay a big stick, my defensive backs get hyped, my defensive linemen get hyped and they want a big stick. That brings a physical defense, and a physical team gets turnovers.
FP: Tell me about the hit that sent Hudson QB Kyle Hatcher to the hospital with a concussion.
TA: I saw him roll out, I was in my drop zone, I saw him get around the defensive end. I came up, he threw it, we made contact, and I looked back and saw he was still down. I saw the pick by (cornerback) D.J. Crosby, got excited, and we took it into the halftime with the momentum. Later, they told me he was still down. I was concerned. I got knocked out of the playoff game last year (with a mild concussion), so I know how it feels. I'm concerned about him, but it was a clean shot. I've got to take that every time.
FP: Is that your mother I've seen snapping photos on the Mitchell sideline?
TA: Yeah, she just takes the pictures for the fellas and for me and my scrapbook. It's just always good to look back and see the pictures and reminisce. She's always done that since little league, so that's cool.
FP: Is she very vocal?
TA: She lets me know good and bad. Miss a block, miss a tackle, she lets me know it. But it's always good to know that your mother's there 100 percent.
FP: I remember trainers taping one of your shoes during the Pasco game and your mother jokingly asking the crowd for donations for your shoe fund. What's the story there?
TA: The week before I asked her for some new cleats because mine started to rip on the side, and she told me to wait a week. She didn't think with my feet it would be good to break in a new pair of cleats in a day, and they ripped so I was like, "Look, Mom, see what you caused?"
FP: Did you get a new pair?
TA: That Saturday we went to the store and made sure I had some cleats.