ELIDA — Quite often, good things come to those who wait.
For Elida’s Isaac McAdams, it was a double-edged sword of waiting for an opportunity to start at quarterback, along with living in the shadows of his older brother, Reggie.
Reggie McAdams was a standout multi-sport athlete at Elida, who went on to play basketball at the University of Akron. He also was a stellar quarterback throughout his high school sports career.
It wasn’t until his junior football season that Isaac finally got the opportunity to play at the varsity level on a regular basis. But once McAdams (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) got his chance, he definitely made the most of it.
This past fall, McAdams closed out his high school football career by leading Elida to the playoffs, and also earning postseason accolades, including being named The Lima News 2017 Dream Team Offensive Player of the Year.
He also was named the Western Buckeye League Offensive Back of the Year, as well as First Team All-Northwest District in Division III.
In 10 regular-season games, McAdams threw for 2,407 yards on 202-of-324 passing (62.3 percent) with 26 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He also rushed for 1,120 yards and 12 TDs. He led the Bulldogs to an 8-3 overall record, 7-2 in the WBL and tied for second place with Celina.
McAdams spent the majority of his freshman and sophomore seasons watching Logan Alexander calling the signals at quarterback for Elida. Alexander is now playing football at the University of Mount Union.
“It was a little stressful, like when I was a freshman and sophomore, because I didn’t play hardly any varsity,” McAdams said. “When I was a sophomore, I was a ‘tweener’ – really good on JV, but couldn’t play varsity. They would just throw me into a position (in the varsity games), because I was a good athlete.
“It was tough. My freshman year, I was kind of OK with it. … I understood. Then my sophomore year, that’s when all my friends went up to (play) varsity, and I was like 50/50 (junior varsity/varsity). That was one of the hardest times – my sophomore year, not playing varsity. I think I used that a lot as motivation. I think I wanted to prove people wrong.”
Growing up, Isaac was always being compared to Reggie.
“Growing up, it was always ‘Reggie’s little brother.’ That’s all I heard,” he said. “With him going off to college, he was away a lot. When I got into high school and he came home, he always helped me. During basketball and football (season), he always had some advice for me.”
Elida head football coach Bill Speller brought his up-tempo offense with him when he took over the program two years ago. McAdams said he felt like Speller’s offense was a perfect fit for both him and the supporting cast.
“I absolutely loved this offense that Coach Speller brought,” McAdams said. “I remember his first year, it took about a half a year to get used to it, and then we started clicking. My senior year, we just picked up where we left off. It’s just a lot faster. The plays are designed for us to just be athletes. We just go and make plays.”
This year, Elida was the top-scoring offense in the Western Buckeye League, averaging 38.6 points per game. The Bulldogs were No. 2 in the WBL in both total offense (449.2 yards per game) and passing offense (240.7).
“I would say that teams respected our passing game,” McAdams said. “So, I started running the ball and (running back) Daniel (Unruh) got his fair share of touches, also. I think the Celina game, I had like 120-plus yards. … I think that was the first time I had a 100-yard rushing game. Coach realized that we could run the ball. So, he turned it into more like a 50/50 (pass/run).”
McAdams also will be a starter on the basketball team this winter. He plans on playing football at the next level, but is uncertain at the moment on where he will attend college.
“When I was a freshman, I wasn’t really sure which sport was going to take off,” McAdams said. “I knew I was probably going to have to pick one. When football came around, I think I just stood out more. Ever since my sophomore year, I kind of knew that I wanted to play football in college.”
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.