By R. Alan Richardson
Morgan’s boys are still alive. Coach Aaron Paul’s team once again showed their stingy nature on the defensive end by shutting out Murray County 1-0. The Dogs will now advance to the AAA Sweet Sixteen to play Tattnall County May 3 at 6 p.m. at Bill Corry Stadium.
After winning the 8-AAA Region Championship, the team was pumped to play the first round in their backyard as the number one seed. The only goal needed for the win came off a nice Tristin Sewell pass to the middle of the net that Grant Friddell headed in with 24:11 remaining in the first half. The shots on goal for Morgan highly outnumbered those by Murray. The Dogs kept the pressure on offensively, especially in the second half, but just couldn’t connect on some solid opportunities the rest of the way.
The scouting report on Murray was they liked to pack a lot of players in the box defensively and then hope to get long runouts with their speed. Morgan’s defense would have no part of that strategy. According to Paul, “The team played very hard with great defense from Harrison Yost, Patrick Griffin, Sam Kuperberg, and Ben Adams. Wesley Butler, Carlos Hernandez, Yusuf Baig, and Andrew Watkins provided support in the midfield, and Phillip Webb and Finn Williams rotated together to hold out the striker position.” In the first half the Indians were held to only two shots with neither coming close enough to making goalie, Collin Sitzman, have to work that hard. He did make a couple of good plays in the second half to help stave off any threat.
After the game Paul made these remarks, “The team fought really hard for the entire game, but was not able to connect on quite a few opportunities in the 2nd half to add another goal or two. This was our first game back after spring break, so with about ten days off from not playing any games during the week definitely had an effect on our play. Murray County also had significant speed and quickness all over the field that proved to be tough at times. Another opponent showed its face, the heat. We have not been used to playing in warmer humid temperatures, and with a 6 p.m. start time instead of our usual 7:30 we were in much warmer conditions than normal. I was very pleased with the effort of the team. We play a very good Tattnall County team this week.”