It was another day at the office for the unbeaten Morgan County Middle School football team as they moved one step closer to their goal of a conference championship. The Dogs have taken the Piedmont Athletic Conference by storm this season, but this one was not that easy. Once again, the defense stood tall while the offense scored 24 second half points to take the win.
Morgan faced off Wednesday with archrival neighbor Greene County (Carson Middle School) in the semifinal round of the PAC Championship at Bill Corry Stadium. The team came away with a decisive 30-0 thumping of the Tigers to move into the Championship game Thursday, Nov. 2. With the win they have earned the right to host the Loganville Red Devils, a team that lost to Morgan 19-0 earlier in the season. It was one of the closer games the Middle School has had this season.
Morgan took the opening kickoff, but was forced to punt on fourth and inches. The following snap was low, forcing Nathan Camacho to hurry his punt to give Carson excellent field position on the Morgan 37. The defense stood the test when Noah Young stopped the ball carrier cold with a solid tackle behind the line on fourth and five.
Two possessions later on the first play of the second period the Bulldogs cashed in on a quarterback fumble on a pass attempt. The loose ball was scooped up by Jacere Cooper who sprinted to the end zone for the 43 yard score. The point after try was blocked so with 7:46 remaining in the half Morgan led 6-0.
The golden leg of Camacho punched the ensuing kickoff into the end zone for the touchback and neither team could draw blood after that. The halftime score showed 6-0 Morgan and the Dogs went to intermission with some work to do.
Carson took the opening kickoff of the second half and got a bruising return up to the 40 yard line. They proceeded to go on a 45 yard drive in 10 plays while running 6:11 off the clock. With the Devils facing a fourth and 11 on the Bulldog 15, Carson fumbled the snap and the ball carrier was tackled for a nine-yard loss by Young. Morgan took the ball on the 24 and struck quickly. Two consecutive passes from DeMarcus (DJ) Smith to receivers Samaurea Ward and Marquavious Wright resulted in 19 yards of offense. With the ball on the Bulldog 43 Ty Butler took the pitch on a sweep to the right side. Loganville bottled him up so he promptly reversed his field and shot down the visitors’ sideline for a 41 yard touchdown. The Dogs got the two-point conversion on a Key Malone dive off of left guard. Morgan gave a small sigh of relief as the scoreboard showed 14-0 in favor of the Dogs with 1:58 to go in the third quarter.
Morgan kicked off and Reggie Ross made a nice play to stop the runner on the Greene County 26. The visitors moved the ball going into the fourth period, but another costly fumble by the Tigers on a would-be touchdown pass gave the Bulldogs possession at the 29 yard line. Ty Butler had to run down a Carson receiver who was wide open behind the secondary, but the ball was underthrown, giving Butler the opportunity to strip the ball away. Smith picked up the fumble and returned it to the 29.
The Dogs looked as if they would take advantage of the miscue, but fumbled on the two yard line on what would have been a sure touchdown. Mistakes continued to plague both squads when the Tiger quarterback was called for intentional grounding while in the end zone to give Morgan a safety. The Dogs led 16-0 with 5:22 left on the clock. After the kickoff from the 20 yard line by Greene, Butler returned the kick 14 yards into Tiger territory. Both squads played takeaway on the next pair of possessions as Greene intercepted a Morgan pass and Morgan’s Ashton Cooper intercepted a pass while showing some nifty footwork to keep his toe inbounds. Aijalon Edwards then hit Wright on the next play for a 20 yard touchdown pass with 3:47 in the game. After the extra point, Morgan had lengthened their lead to 22-0.
To the Tigers credit, they fought back and would have scored on an inside reverse if not for the heroic effort of Butler from his safety position to run down the play. The play went for 62 yards down to the Morgan 10. With Greene threatening to ruin the shutout, Cooper came up with his second pick of the afternoon at 2:18 in the fourth to stop the drive.
The Bulldogs scored once more when Butler streaked 90 yards on a sweep and ran out of gas on the Tiger five. Jay Eubanks redeemed himself for an earlier fumble by crashing into the end zone from his fullback position for the score. Bennett Ianelli split the uprights on the PAT and the game ended 30-0.
Don’t miss this week’s game for all the marbles. The game kicks off at 5:30 (Thursday, Nov 2)