By Alvin Richardson
Showing superiority in all three phases of the game, Morgan County used an offense that was clicking on all cylinders, a stingy and turnover producing defense, and one of the best kicking games seen in recent memory to stymie Greene County early. The Dogs traveled to Greensboro to avenge a 13-12 loss from a year ago in which the Tigers used the big play to nip the home team in a barnburner that came down to the final play. A year later Morgan County struck early and often on offense while the defense created turnovers that gave the Dogs excellent field position. This one was never close and ended 49-20.
Morgan received the opening kickoff. After returning the ball to the 28, Trey Patterson hit wide receiver Anthony Cooper on the first play from scrimmage for a 71 yard strike. Cooper was tackled on the one before Jordan Huff took it in for the score with only 22 seconds off the clock. Finn Williams, who was stellar on the night, kicked the point after to give the Dogs the 7-0 lead.
Bulldog kicker, Carlos Hernandez, had a tremendous night on kickoffs pinning the Tigers deep after every touchdown. On his first attempt, the ball landed in the arms of a Greene County return man who stepped into the end zone for the touchback.
On Greene’s first offensive possession, Jayson Fryzel went to work from his nose tackle position by blowing up a dive play in the backfield on second down and then chasing down the quarterback for a safety on the next. Fryzel had his way the remainder of the game in an outstanding effort. With 10:43 remaining in the first quarter, Morgan held a 9-0 advantage.
The Dogs next received a free kick after the safety where the Tigers looked totally discombobulated. They took a timeout and then received a five yard penalty before punting very shallow. Keirreon Farley (injured in the second half) took the pigskin 17 yards down to the Morgan 33. It didn’t take long for MOCO to strike again. The air attack again spurred the points with Patterson hitting Jacarius Robinson and Cooper for first downs to move to the Greene five before Rambo Rambus punched it in. Williams was again good on the PAT to put the Dogs on top 16-0 with 8:52 still remaining in the first.
The rout continued in the first quarter. Greene moved the ball up to near midfield when a quarterback keeper resulted in a Tiger fumble that Morgan fell on at their 45 yard line. Four plays later the Dogs were in the end zone again. The big play of the drive was a 27 yard reception from Patterson to Tre’mon Moore. After a 15 yard facemask penalty was tacked on, Morgan had the ball on the Tiger 13. A negative play and illegal procedure penalty backed the Dogs up before Farley caught another pass that ended up on the two. All-around athlete Jordan Huff lined up in the wildcat (wilddog) formation and took it to the house from there. Williams was again good on the PAT and Morgan held a 23-0 lead.
Greene’s troubles continued on the ensuing kickoff. After another great kickoff to the six, Morgan forced another turnover that was recovered on the 25. From there it took three plays to get on the board. Patterson, who had an all-world first half, hit Robinson on the numbers for 18 yards and the score. Things were getting ugly with the Dogs on top 30-0 after the extra point. And we still have 4:58 to play in the FIRST quarter.
Greene finally crossed midfield on their next possession and got on the board with their only real sustained drive of the night. However, the Tigers were aided by a questionable and head-scratching unsportsmanlike call that kept the home team in business. After two consecutive penalties by Greene, Fryzel, who made a living in the backfield all night, stopped a play for no gain and pressured a pass that went incomplete to force a punt. This was where MCHS was penalized giving the Tigers a first down and a chance to keep the drive alive. The Tigers gained good yardage on three plays to grab the first down and then tossed a screen pass that went 48 yards for the score. The PAT was good and the score was now 30-7 with 42 seconds left in the quarter.
The Dogs continued the onslaught in the second stanza. After receiving the kickoff and returning it to the Greene 49, Morgan got good yardage on the ground only to see it erased with holding and offsides penalties. The Patterson to Cooper connection came up big again on a 38 yard TD aerial attack to make it 36-7. Greene was called for encroachment on the extra point attempt so Morgan went for two, but the try failed with 10:24 remaining in the second.
The Dogs got another touchback from Hernandez on the kickoff and held Greene to a punt. Morgan again got great field position and gave the ball to junior Donovan Nelson for his first carries. He broke loose on a 36 yard run to the one before Moore finished things off with the one yard carry. The point after was blocked and the scored soared to 42-7 with 4:47 remaining in the half.
However, the Dogs weren’t finished and scored once again after a Greene County punt. Robinson scored on an end around after a seven play drive from 55 yards out to take a 48-7 lead and Finn put it through for the 49-7 halftime lead.
Volunteer spotter for the Morgan County Citizen was Andy Frost. He summarized the first half pretty concisely, “The Bulldog offense was clicking and Greene County shot themselves in the foot.” Thanks for the help, Andy.
Coach Bill Malone emptied the bench for the most part in the second half and the Tigers came up with two scores to make the final a 49-20 lopsided win for the Dogs.
Morgan’s special teams were excellent on the night. Kickers
Defensive coordinator Brett Bell weighed in on his group’s performance. “Proud of the way our players competed in the game. We had a large number of players (25 Total) play on defense in the game. We are looking to continue to build depth and build a deep unit that competes hard not only in the game but every day at practice against one another. The performance started with the dominance of our front, particularly Jayson Fryzel, who finished the game with eight total tackles, three tackles for loss, three QB pressures, and one sack that resulted in a safety. Linebacker Rambo Rambus piled up numerous tackles and a sack while Sophomore linebacker DJ Jones made a great interception on the Greene County signal caller in the third quarter. Injuries to Javis Benford and Brandon Smith (both did not play) in the secondary allowed for multiple players to step in including freshman safety Denver Laughlin who recovered a fumble that was forced with a jarring hit from safety Tre’Mon Moore. Cornerbacks Jacarius Robinson and Kevin Pearson were solid all night and shut down the outside wide receivers from Greene County. Junior David Williams came up with a big blocked punt. Overall, it was a solid performance by our defense. We are excited about the win against a rival, but are now turning our focus on North Oconee and their spread offense which presents a challenge for any defense in modern football.”