Final Ninjaadcock Games By: Austin Adcock

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Dan Warnecke and Austin Adcock followed with two goals each with Tommy Diver and Connor Silk scoring single goals each as the Rebels opened a 9-0 lead four minutes into the second period. Jere Adcock called it the most exciting Decatur-Austin football game he’s ever seen.

SHERMAN, Texas – The Austin College football team turned the ball over seven times, resulting in 31 points for visiting Berry College in a 44-10 loss to the Vikings on Saturday at Jerry Apple Stadium. The 'Roos are now 2-3 overall and 0-3 in Southern Athletic Association play.

Austin College opened the game with an interception on the first pass of the game by Colt Collins, but the sophomore quarterback bounced back on the next possession after the defense forced a three-and-out for the Vikings. After Berry had pinned the 'Roos on the 1-yard line, Collins directed a 15 play, 99 yard drive that consumed more than seven and a half minutes and culminated in a 30-yard touchdown toss to Kevin Ray to make it 7-0 with four minutes left in the opening frame.

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On the next possession for Berry, the 'Roos forced another punt and got the block, gaining possession inside the Berry 20-yard line. The 'Roos wound up capitalizing with a 34-yard field goal by Cesar Ruiz to make it 10-0 with 14:17 left in the second quarter.

However, those would be the last points Austin College would put on the board as Berry scored 44 unanswered. Berry scored on its next possession with Austin Lowe breaking free for a 20-yard touchdown run to make it 10-6 after a missed extra point with 10:51 left, and the Vikings picked off their second pass of the day on the ensuing drive for Austin College. Lowe raced 35 yards and then Tate Adcock threw a four yard touchdown pass to Trey Ciresi to put the Vikings ahead 13-10 with 6:23 on the clock.

The Vikings would score once more, as Austin College was forced to punt on its next possession and Berry finished the half with a 13-play, 71 yard drive capped by another touchdown connection from Adcock to Ciresi with 10 seconds left before halftime, making it 20-10 at the break.

After punts by both teams to open the second half, a bad exchange led to another turnover for Austin College and Berry added a 19-yard field goal by Trey Gregory to make it 23-10 with 8:28 showing on the clock. Austin College had another pass picked off on their next drive, which turned into a touchdown run for CJ Stone to make it 30-10 with four minutes to go in the third.

Another Austin College interception in the fourth quarter gave the ball back to Berry, and the Vikings went 52 yards in eight plays with Adcock finding Tristen Cline for a 26-yard touchdown to make it 37-10, and the Vikings would pick off another pass on the next drive and turned it into seven more points on a short touchdown run by Heath Burchfield with 9:16 left in the game, and that would be the final scoring play of the game.

Collins finished the game completing 15-of-31 passes for 184 yards with a touchdown and five picks, and Trey Carr was 1-for-5 for 21 yards with an interception while adding a team-best 43 rushing yards. Tom Clancy caught four passes for 77 yards, and Jackson Townsend made 13 tackles to pace the Austin College defense.

Lowe rushed 13 times for 102 yards and a touchdown to lead the Berry offense, while Adcock completed 7-of-10 passes for 79 yards and three touchdowns. Ciresi caught five passes for 43 yards and a pair of scores, and Tyler Bertolini led a balanced defensive effort with five tackles. Antonio White added three tackles and two interceptions.

© Associated Press A man places flowers in front Hank Aaron's home run wall, left from when Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium was demolished. Aaron, who hit his record-breaking 715th home run there on April 8, 1974, died Friday.

Back in the early 1990s, my life revolved around sports.

Baseball, in particular.

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Final Ninjaadcock Games By: Austin Adcock Jr

I couldn’t get enough.

I’d played as a youth and at Mukwonago High School. And when I wasn’t playing, odds were I was at County Stadium, watching the Milwaukee Brewers.

I’d just landed a job as an agate clerk at the Milwaukee Sentinel – taking high school results over the phone, updating standings and formatting box scores – with my eyes on one day, hopefully, becoming a sportswriter. Never in my wildest dreams could I have guessed that in 2021 I’d be entering my 11th year covering the Brewers, or that I'd just sent in my first Hall of Fame ballot.

But here we are.

Anyway, I attended most of those games with one of my best friends, Mark Grunske.

A fellow baseball nut who just so happened to be a budding entrepreneur, Mark rolled the dice late in his teenage years and began promoting sports card shows and autograph signings in the Milwaukee area.

He did well from the outset. And what a boon that turned out to be for me.

I quickly became one of the go-to guys for these events – especially when it came to the autograph guests.

Airport pickups and drop-offs were my specialty. Manning the autograph tables became another staple. Taking tickets and handling pens was a small price to pay for the opportunity to spend a few hours interacting with some of the game’s greats.

Willie Stargell. Harmon Killebrew. Enos Slaughter. Bobby Doerr. Billy Herman. Hal Newhouser.

Then there were the hometown heroes, the 1957 Milwaukee Braves.

Warren Spahn. Eddie Mathews. Red Schoendienst. Joe Adcock. Lew Burdette. Bob Buhl. Del Crandall. Johnny Logan. And so on.

All their playing careers had long since ended by the time I began truly following the game, but I knew how special they were. And here I was getting to help them out, listen to their stories, go out for meals with them, watch them interact with the fans who were old enough to have seen them play and still salty about how they had been stolen away from Milwaukee.

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While the Brewers were embarking on what would be a long, painful period in those early ’90s, Mark had brought most of the ’57 Braves back to Milwaukee to a great response.

But there had been one notable player absent from the list: The Hammer.

No question, there was no name bigger than Hank Aaron, no former Milwaukee Brave more in demand. And when he was finally locked into making an appearance at State Fair Park, I had my fingers crossed that I would be the one chosen to sit next to the game’s greatest power hitter.

That’s exactly what happened.

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But any hopes I had of chatting him up or listening to him tell stories were quickly dashed. Hundreds and hundreds of people lined up and wound their way through what is now the Cream Puff Pavilion on the State Fair grounds and they all had items to be signed.

Aaron arrived, and after a quick introduction he made his way to the table. And for the next three-plus hours he signed. And shook hands. And signed. And shook hands. And signed some more.

He couldn’t have been more gracious.

All the while I took the tickets, handed him the bats, balls and pictures and handed him the correct pens (caps off, writing end down each time).

Then, without smudging the signature, I’d get the items back to their rightful owners.

It was tough to keep up, but my focus was solely on getting the job done. As a result, those three or so hours flew by, and before long his time was up.

Other than pointing to where things needed to be signed or passing along specific requests, I never really had the opportunity to talk to him.

Bummer, but still a terrific experience.

He made his way to a side office where he concluded his business. Then he shook the hands of the few lucky employees who were inside (me included) and took a couple pictures while his agent, Bob Allen, pulled a car alongside the building.

As Aaron bid adieu, he asked me to follow him outside.

And I did, wondering, what could he want?

He made the short walk to the car, opened the passenger door and ducked in for a moment. I stood a few feet away, waiting nervously. Then he turned around, walked up to me and stuck out his right hand for another handshake.

I reached out, grabbed his hand and shook it again.

Except this time, I felt something in my palm.

As I pulled my hand back, I looked down.

I couldn’t believe what I saw.

A crisp, neatly folded $100 bill.

At first, I was confused. Then it hit me.

“I can’t accept this, Mr. Aaron,” I stammered. 'It was my pleasure.'

“You earned it, son,” he said with a smile. “Thanks for all your help today.”

Then he got into the car and it pulled away, leaving me dumbstruck.

Baseball’s home run king, the man who broke Babe Ruth’s record, had just tipped me $100.

For doing something I would have paid him several hundred dollars for the chance to do.

It still blows my mind to this day.

In hindsight, as a late 40-something, I can say with certainty that I should have kept that $100 bill and framed it.

But the brain of an early 20-something doesn’t work quite the same way.

So, I did the next-best thing with that $100.

I spent it later that night on a Sega Genesis game system.

I know, I know.

But also, know this: In the years that followed, every time I played it – and believe me, I played it a lot – I smiled and thought about how lucky I was.

I still have that Sega Genesis. And it still works.

And this weekend I’m going to walk past the PS4, fire up the Sega Genesis and play a few games on it to honor one of the greatest ever in my own, unique way.

Thanks again, Mr. Aaron.

And rest well.

Final Ninjaadcock Games By: Austin Adcock 2020

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 'Thanks again, Mr. Aaron': Nearly three decades later, a once-in-a-lifetime meeting remains indelible