RAMS Bring Home the Gold – With a Complete Photo Gallery


Craft (2) celebrates with his teammates after his second goal in the State Semifinal on Wednesday, November 2, 2022.


For the Rochester Adams Men’s Soccer team (commonly referred to as RAMS), sights were set high from the get go, as the talent on the roster was so good that anything but a late playoff run would be a disappointment. And a late playoff run they made, indeed.

The State Semifinals provided an intriguing matchup for the Highlanders, as they headed to Troy Athens on Wednesday, November 2nd for a neutral site matchup against one of the top-ranked teams in the state, the Salem Rocks.

Salem’s high-powered offense was no match for the defensive effort of the Highlanders, as they were shut down whenever close to the Adams goal. Junior defender Nick Hopkins made an impressive play on a Salem attacker, running in from behind near the Adams corner and booting the ball out of bounds, preventing a golden scoring opportunity for the Rocks. Junior goalkeeper John Coon recorded a clean sheet, saving the few shots that Salem was able to put on goal.

On the offensive side, one Highlander shined in the Semis, junior Jackson Craft. Craft kept a remarkable 20-plus goal season going, netting one goal in each half and lifting the Highlanders to a 2-0 victory, giving them a chance at their first state title since 1999.

“(Junior Colton Janes) played it in. I couldn’t ask for a better ball,” said Craft when recalling his first goal of the night. “I knew right when he played it, that was our first chance to score, and I was able to…put it in the back of the net.”

Adams had only a few days of rest to prepare for perhaps their toughest test of the year, a State Final matchup against an undefeated Rockford Rams team, who was coming off a 3-0 win over Detroit Catholic Central in the Semis. Rockford came into the game ranked third in the state, with 15 shutouts on their record.

Craft (2) beats a Rockford defender to the ball and strikes a shot that would give Adams a 1-0 lead in the State Finals on Saturday, November 5, 2022

On the chilly, cloudy Saturday afternoon, the game was quiet for the first 37 minutes, with neither team finding the back of the net. That was, until Craft decided to bust open the scoring once more. Craft got into a breakaway alongside a Rockford defender, with nothing else in his way but the goalie. Craft found an opening and sent a strike into the bottom left corner, a shot the keeper had no chance at stopping.

Adams went into the halftime break with a 1-0 lead, and much like the first half, there was no scoring for the vast majority of the second half. Coon had an impressive showing in the State Finals, making three saves on shots that certainly could have found the back of the net.

With just over four minutes remaining in the match, Craft ran down a ball into the Rockford corner, with one defender contesting. Using some skillful footwork, Craft faced the corner with the defender behind him and reversed the ball through the defender’s legs, earning himself an opportunity at a pass. Craft found senior Matthew Vostriakov, who played a sweet shot between the legs of a Rockford defender, into the right side of the net to seal a 2-0 victory and the Highlanders’ first State Championship in over two decades.

Adams players run towards their supporters in the stands to celebrate their State Final victory on Saturday, November 5, 2022.

As the clock ticked down to zero (it goes down in high school soccer), Adams players threw their arms in the air, hugged their teammates and coaches, and ran over to the student section to celebrate with their fellow Highlanders in attendance.

“I’m just proud of the boys,” said Head Coach Josh Hickey. “Getting this far is really rare…(and) these guys have set a tone for this school, now that we’ve been winning.”

Rockford then received their finalist trophy, as Adams hoisted the most sought-after possession in High School sports: the State Championship trophy. The victory is the school’s 16th State Championship and the second of the school year, following the Girls Golf team’s title in October.