By Alvin Richardson
Morgan County exorcised a few demons last Friday night at Pete Herndon Stadium. They did it with an impressive show of power and finesse in a 46-14 thrashing of the Orange clad Dogs from Hart County. The win, Morgan’s fifth in a row, improved their season record to 6-2 and more importantly to 3-0 in Region 8AAA to lead the pack with two games remaining on the regular season schedule. Hart County had been a thorn in Morgan’s side since 1996. Hart had won nine of ten games over that span but they were overmatched on this night.
Head Coach Bill Malone was pleased with his team’s energy and execution and said, “Tristan Sewell started the game off with a touchback, the defense came up with a three and out and our punt return unit got a big play from Quin Williams (blocked punt) and Richard Brooks (recovered for TD). Those things really got our kids excited and it led to a dominant performance by our whole team.”
Richard Brooks and Malik Chapman led the rushing attack with 124 and 100 yards respectively. Brooks scored three TD’s (including the fumble recovery) and Chapman tallied twice. The Dogs piled up 345 yards on the ground and finished their evening’s work with 367 total yards. On defense Morgan was led by University of South Carolina signee M.J. Webb and Keandre Williams. Webb finished the night with seven tackles, seven assists and a whopping five tackles for loss. Williams recorded five tackles, two assists and two QB pressures. Quin Williams and Jordan Huff also turned in strong performances in the win. The Bulldog defensive unit continued their stellar season by limiting Hart to just 95 total yards (1 yard rushing) and eight first downs several of which came in the second half after the game had been decided.
With the victory the Dogs matched their longest winning streak since 2012 and now face second place Franklin county Friday night at Ed Bryant Stadium in Carnesville. The winner of that contest will likely play for the region title in the campaign’s final week of the regular season.
Morgan immediately seized the momentum against Hart County. The Bulldogs from Hartwell were forced to punt from their 15 yard line after three plays against Morgan County’s rugged defense failed to gain. On fourth down Quin Williams broke through to block the punt and Richard Brooks pounced on it for Morgan’s first touchdown with 10:01 left in the opening period.
Two possessions later the Bulldogs marched 69 yards in 12 plays to widen their lead. That drive was keyed by solid running from Malik Chapman, Richard Brooks and a timely pass completion from Trey Patterson to Blake Nelson. With the first quarter winding down Chapman finished things off on a three yard scoring run to make it 12-0. Hart added to their misery by fumbling the ensuing kickoff and Lamarcus Stokes was there to cover it up at the Hart 23 yard line. Richard Brooks immediately broke off tackle for 17 yards and then polished off the two play drive with a six yard scoring run to make it 18-0 and Hart County was in a hole they would never dig out of.
The Bulldogs tallied once more in the second period when the defense once again put them in prime field position at Hart’s 36. From there Jordan Huff bounced outside for 11 yards, Hart County was penalized half the distance to the 12 and Malik Chapman hit a middle trap to score on the next play. With Tristan Sewell’s PAT the score was 25-0 and that’s the way things stood at halftime.
Brooks added touchdown romps of 27 and 48 yards in the third quarter and Jayson Fryzel tacked on one more in the final period as Morgan just continued to pull away.
The Dogs hit the road once more as they travel to Carnesville this Friday to take on the Franklin County Lions. It will be their third consecutive game away from Bill Corry Stadium. Game time is 7:30. Friday night at Ed Bryant Stadium in Carnesville. The winner of that contest will likely play for the region title in the campaign’s final week of the regular season.