Late score lifts Faith
Clinging to a tenuous 14-13 lead, the Morgan Academy Senators’ defense bowed their backs one final time as Faith Academy drove the ball inside the Morgan 10 with three and a half minutes left in the game.
Having already missed an extra point try badly, it seemed unlikely that Faith coach Robbie James would actually try the field goal on fourth and five at the 9-yard line.
But after a timeout, the ball was snapped in the driving rain and kicked towards the goal.
The ball sailed wide right and the Morgan fans and players began to celebrate.
Then the Faith side erupted, drowning out the Senators and their fans.
A late yellow flag hit the turf, giving the Rams hope.
“I was looking at the ball. I didn’t notice an obvious foul, but we’ll look at the tape and see,” Senators coach Robert Gartman said. “If it’s good call, great.
Whether it was a bad call or not we didn’t deserve to win.”
A roughing the kicker penalty set the Rams up, first and goal at the 5.
Morgan’s defense held for two plays, but quarterback Joseph Anderson stuck the ball across the line with 1:52 left in the game.
A two-point conversion put Morgan down 21-14.
The Senators drove to midfield, but Josh Donaldson’s interception sealed the Rams’ win.
“The thing that disappoints me is that we played progressively worse as the game went on,” Gartman said. “We got whipped and we wore out.
That thoroughly surprised me.”
The Senators struggled to get off the field on third and fourth downs.
The Rams regularly converted on those situations.
“A lot of times defensively we had people there to make plays and they didn’t make them,” Gartman said. “We missed a lot of tackles.
Basically just a poor coaching effort on my part.”
The Senators came out on fire.
The offensive line was ripping massive holes in the defensive front and the backs took advantage.
Robert Collins led the Senators attack with 103 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Quarterback Travis Lyon added 77 yards on nine carries.
Callen Blanton carried for 33 yards and Josh McAteer had 23 yards and a touchdown.
Eric Pilcher had three catches for 34 yards for the Senators.
Lyon was 3 of 7 for 34 yards and an interception.
For the better part of three quarters, the Rams’ offense was limited to one man. Fort Dale transfer Bryce Landwehr carried eight times for 114 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown romp.
In the end, big Phillip Quineley began to wear down the Morgan defense. He finished with 68 yards in 16 carries.
Anderson had 66 yards and an interception through the air.
He ran eight times for 13 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Robert Armstrong had 10 tackles for Morgan.
Callen and Walt Harrison had six tackles each.
Morgan took the opening kick and went right to work. They quickly moved inside Ram territory then Collins went to work.
He found a massive hole up the middle and took advantage.
The senior hit high gear and 47-yards later, Morgan was ahead.
McAteer added the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
The Morgan defense held and forced a punt that rolled dead at their own 5-yard line.
Lyon quickly flipped the field position as he broke loose for a 39-yard run up the middle. Morgan rolled all the way to the Faith 27-yard line.
On fourth and six at the 27, Jeremy Smith took the ball on a reverse pass and lofted it towards the end zone.
The ball was six inches too long and the Rams took over at their own 27.
Two plays later Landwehr found a seam and scooted up the right sideline for a 69-yard touchdown run.
The extra point tied the game at 7.
The teams traded punts and an occasional turnover on downs until late in the first half.
Collins picked Anderson off at midfield and Lyon went to work with 2:58 left in the half.
Lyon rolled and hit Pilcher for a 17-yard gain. They moved down to the 18 before McAteer found some running room to the outside.
He ran over a tackler at the 10 and headed for the end zone.
His dive for the pylon was ruled short but Morgan had a first and goal at the 1-yard line. Morgan got stuffed on first down, but McAteer punched it in a play later.
His extra point made it 14-7 with 16 seconds left in the half.
The teams traded punts to open the third quarter. Morgan appeared ready to force another but a screen pass on third and seven at the 25 went for 32 yards and into Morgan territory.
Faith rammed it down Morgan’s throat and punched home a touchdown with 4:15 left in the third.
Quineley punched in the touchdown but the extra point missed badly.
The Senators drove the ball into Faith territory, but the drive stalled and Morgan punted.
The ball went into the end zone and Faith started at their own 20.
The Rams started a slow, methodical drive that took up the end of the third quarter and all but the last two minutes of the fourth.
After two short runs, they converted a third and two at the 38 for a first down on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Anderson moved the chains on a fourth and two at his own 42.
They converted a third and one at the 34 and another at the 20.
Finally the defense held,
setting up a field goal try on a fourth and five at the 9.
The kick was missed, but the roughing the kicker penalty gave the Rams new life.
Morgan has little time to lick their wounds.
They travel to Fort Dale next week, a game that could set the tone for the rest of the season.
“We’re going to keep getting after it,” Gartman said. “Fort Dale is probably the best team on our schedule. We’re going to be ready next week.”