By R. Alan Richardson
The Morgan County JV football team lost a tough matchup to Hart County 40-35 in a game that would rival any JV game you could ever watch. It was a war.
Morgan scored first on a 63 yard strike from Pratt Spivey to Elijah Reynolds on the first play of the game. He was wide open and took it to the house. Nathan Camacho was good on the PAT with only 9:43 remaining in the first quarter to give the Dogs the 7-0 lead.
After a Camacho kickoff that went into the end zone for a touchback, Hart went three and out. The Bulldogs went on a nine play drive that stalled at their 24. Camacho was called on for the 39 yard attempt that went wide left.
The Dogs went into the second quarter after a big Will Harper tackle for loss, but with third and seventeen on their own six-yard line, Hart connected on a 94-yard touchdown pass with 9:44 in the half to cut the lead to 7-6. The PAT was wide left and Morgan was still in the driver’s seat.
MOCO then fumbled on the 47 after a quarterback sack to give Hart some excellent field position. They made good on it. The visiting orange and black Bulldogs scored with 5:07 in the quarter to take the lead. After a converted pass on the two-point conversion, Hart led 14-7.
It didn’t take long for Morgan to tie things up in a wild second quarter. On a third and nine situation at the Morgan 41, Spivey hit Rogers Clarke on a pass route that covered 59 yards for the TD. Camacho was again good on the point after try and things were tied up again at 14-14 with 3:24 in the half. The action was just heating up.
Hart went ahead with only 1:07 remaining. They took the kickoff and marched 78 yards that culminated in a 34 yard touchdown run up the gut to give them the 20-14 advantage before the half. The two-point conversion failed.
It was lights out for both teams offensively the second half. Hart pushed their lead to two touchdowns with a score with 9:42 in the fourth quarter. After the two-point conversion Hart led Morgan 28-14.
MOCO punched right back with a touchdown of their own with 6:35 remaining in the contest. The Dogs returned the kickoff to the Hart 35.
On third and ten, Al Edwards made a circus catch on the Morgan 44 to put the Dogs in business. It was third and eight when Spivey found Edwards again on a 40 yard bomb for six points. Camacho’s kick was dead on to make the score 28-21, but this one was a long ways from being over.
Hart took the ball on the 20 after a Camacho touchback. On their first play from scrimmage, a Hart runner went 80 yards straight up the middle and the Morgan defense couldn’t run him down. Seconds later the score was 34-21 after Edwards broke up a pass for the two-point conversion.
The Dogs roared back after an Edwards’s kickoff return that ended up at Morgan’s 45. Three plays later MOCO took it into the end zone. Proby finished off the drive with a 16 yard touchdown on a jet sweep at 5:03 and Camacho was good to make this crazy thing 34-28.
On the ensuing series by Hart, a huge fumble was recovered by Morgan on their 45 to give them a shot at taking the lead. With the Dogs sitting on the 32 and staring at second and eight, Spivey again hit, you guessed it, Edwards on a post route that covered the final yardage for the possible lead and things tied at 34-34.
The snap was mishandled, but somehow got put down. With all the pressure on, Camacho hit it straight through the uprights for the lead at 35-34 with only 2:30 remaining in the game.
Hart returned the kickoff to their own 42, but fumbled. There was a scramble for the loose ball, but possession remained in the hands of the visiting Bulldogs.
They took it from there, went on a nine-play drive and scored with only 1:08 to once again take the lead at 40-35 on a pass that found a wide-open receiver in the end zone.
Morgan wasn’t finished. They showed some true grit down the stretch. The Dogs returned the kickoff out to the 31, but Edwards was injured on the play. He was a guy we needed down the stretch. Morgan completed a pass to Rogers Clarke on first down that took it out to the 48. After an intentional grounding penalty, the Dogs faced a third and fifteen with only 32.1 seconds. A pass was dropped that could have put the Dogs in good field position, but the coaches drew up an old-style flea-flicker play that gained a first down and kept the drive alive.
A pass to Proby pushed the Dogs inside the 15 with only 10.2 seconds remaining. Two incompletions later time expired and MOCO came up a little short in a great game.
Coach Carter Shultz talked about the game, “That was the best JV game I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately we came out on the wrong end, but our kids never considered giving up. This group has been a blast to coach all year and I can’t remember a team that consistently played as hard as these guy did. There is a ton to look forward to in the future with these guys and they embrace those high expectations.”