By R. Alan Richardson
The Morgan County Middle School football team traveled to Monticello this past week and climbed all over Jasper County to remain undefeated on the season. The team has yet to be truly tested with their plethora of offensive weapons and swarming defense.
Up until Wednesday, the defense was unscored on before the Hurricanes got a touchdown early in the second quarter. With that monkey off their back, the Dogs simply shut down Jasper as they have every other opponent this season.
Morgan’s first score came with just 6:00 remaining in the first period. Bennett Ianelli took over the kicking duties for an injured Nathan Camacho and performed well. Monticello took over on their 41 and fumbled two plays later. Jacob Pritchett picked up the loose pigskin and rambled inside the 30 to give the Dogs great field position. On fourth and 16 Aijalon Edwards found Ty Butler streaking down the sideline for the 35-yard touchdown reception. The PAT was blocked to give MOCO an early 6-0 lead.
Key Malone, Jacere Cooper, and the big boys up front stopped the Canes and forced a punt after the kickoff. The ensuing drive went 69 yards in seven plays. The big play of the series was a pass from DeMarcus Smith to Ashton Cooper that covered 29 yards and gave the Dogs a first down at their 21. Samaurea Ward then hauled in a touchdown pass on second down to cover the remainder needed for the score. After the missed try, Morgan led 12-0 with 1:09 in the first quarter.
Jasper County came back with their best drive of the afternoon, a nine-play series that had the defense confused when the Canes went to a double slot formation. The balanced running and passing attack ended in a score with 5:50 until the half. Monticello went for two using the old swinging gate formation, but Morgan sniffed out the play and stifled the try. Score 12-6 Morgan County.
Jasper stopped Morgan after the kickoff and then made another long drive that had the defense on their heels before Marquavious Wright intercepted a pass on the one-yard line. The play stopped the momentum and gave Morgan one more shot with just 1:25 in the half. They cashed in on the opportunity by serving up a long ball to Wright that went for 75 yards with 45 seconds remaining. Ze’Marion Little then took a toss sweep around left end for the final 18 yards for the touchdown. It was 18-6 at the intermission.
After the break, the very old saying of “Where’s the Beef” took over. Morgan’s offensive linemen got busy in the trenches and deserve a lot of credit for the win and for the season. They don’t get their names in the paper that often but deserve a shout out for the work they do each week. Some of those guys are: Antavious Elder, Johnathon Nash, Dominic Frazzitta, Chance Reid, Ajoni Ivory, Lyshon Swain, Jay Lacey, Nolan Brown, and Trevon Franklin to name a few.
Morgan scored three more times in the second half. Little went 62 yards on a bruising carry off the toss sweep at 3:20 in the third and Ty’Quarius Butler scored twice while tip-toeing the sideline for one TD off a sweep, and topped that off with another run of 32 yards from his halfback slot for a score to cap the scoring. The Pups were good on two of their three two-point attempts after the half. One was a pass to Ward and the other a fullback dive to Malone.
Key plays in the second half came from Wright with his second interception and Cooper to end the game with another, the tenacious defensive play of Rogers Clark who was all over the field and had two quarterback sacks, knocked down passes by Malone and Ward, nice coverage from Ethan Mizell, pressure on the quarterback from a number of Dogs, and tough running by seventh grader Jay Eubanks.
Coach Carter Shultz said before the game, “With the number of seniors on our varsity squad, I think that some of these guys might contribute next year, but their sophomore season we should see a lot of these faces on Friday night.”
Coach Bill Malone said, “This group has a chance to be pretty good if they will stay grounded, do the right things, and stay together.”
The middle school will play this week at Social Circle in another PAC contest. Game time is 5:00 p.m..