By R. Alan Richardson
The Bulldogs pushed their record to 3-2 this week beating up on Lamar County 14-0. Maybe Morgan didn’t put up the points they would have liked to with a few squandered opportunities, but it was the defense that showed up and were lights out for the entire game. Lamar just couldn’t move the ball at all against the stout play of the Dogs. Leading the way for Morgan on defense were MJ Webb, Keandre Williams, Malik Chapman, and Javis Benford.
Morgan took the opening kickoff and Lamarcus Stokes made the return to the 31. They could only move the ball to the 48 where the drive stalled. On Lamar’s first play from scrimmage, a deep pass down the middle was intercepted by Benford who quickly returned it for 31 yards to the Trojan 47.
The Dogs then went nine plays for the touchdown behind the running of Chapman, Richard Brooks, and quarterback Trey Patterson. Brooks took it in from one yard out. Tristan Sewell tacked on the point after to give Morgan the 7-0 lead with 3:44 remaining in the first quarter.
The next series for Lamar gave them a little life. The kickoff was returned to the Morgan 26 on a 51 yard return and the Trojans had a chance to tie the game. However, the defense stood tall, and along with penalties, Lamar had to punt from the 36. The punt rolled dead on the MCHS seven and the Dogs were in a hole with their backs against the goal line.
Morgan gave the Trojans a golden opportunity after gaining little ground and fumbling on their own 14 on a third and four play. Lamar took over and pushed it down to the 10 yard line before settling for a field goal that was no good. Morgan breathed a sigh of relief when they took over on the Lamar 20. That drive ended up in a Morgan punt that only went 22 yards and gave the opposition great field position again on their own 46.
The defense again gave a stalwart effort holding them to minus eight yards that forced a punt. A running into the kicker penalty by Morgan gave Lamar another attempt but had to sprint giving the Dogs possession on their own 25. Both teams exchanged punts and possessions for the remainder of the half and the Bulldogs took a 7-0 advantage into the locker room.
It was another big kickoff return that started the second half for Lamar as they raced to the 27 of the Dogs on a 53 yard return to put them back in business only down seven. Again, the defense stood tall allowing no yards and forcing the Trojans to give it up on four and out. Morgan then went 75 yards in eight plays to put their second score on the board. They were led by Jordan Huff who went 34 yards to the Lamar three yard line and Brooks’ punishing inside running. Huff scored from the three to make it 14-0 with 6:58 in the third quarter and that would end up being the final score of the night.
Lamar threatened in the third taking it down to the Morgan 29 before being stopped on downs and again in the fourth threatening from the 15. It was still the defense all night that kept them out of the end zone. After that neither team was in position to score for the remainder of the game. Dogs win it 14-0.
Defensive coordinator, Allen Crowley, commented on the play of his defense, “I’m very proud of the players’ execution, focus and toughness. Hopefully those characteristics will carry over into region play.”
Head Coach Bill Malone had this to say about the Lamar County game, “Offensively we did enough to get by. Being without a fullback in the fourth quarter really limited what we could do. A couple of turnovers deep in our territory and poor coverage on kickoffs really flipped the field for Lamar all night. Defensively we did a great job defending a very short field. Our secondary and linebackers are growing up and complementing our front very well.”
Morgan faces their first Region 8-AAA opponent next week on Homecoming Night at 7:30 at Bill Corry Stadium with East Jackson coming to town. It should be a good one. Come out and support the Dogs!
In other news from this past week’s game, the Bulldogs honored on the field a number of Morgan County Recreation athletes before the game. The Morgan County High School Varsity Cheerleaders hosted this summer’s kiddie campers and recreation cheerleaders for a pre-game performance before the Lamar County football game on Friday night, September 23. The girls performed several cheers and a dance for the crowd. Football players and other recreation teams were also honored.