Senators move closer to triple-header

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 6, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

According to Morgan Academy coach Robert Gartman, winning a state championship is expected of his football team. On Friday night, his Senators played that way, making short work of the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots 41-12.

After forcing the Patriots to punt on their opening possession, the Senators proceeded to drive the ball down the field. The drive, which started at the Morgan 40 was fueled by a pair of swing passes. The First came on second down and six at the Pike 45. Jeremy Smith took the snap, pivoted to his right and fired a strike to Ware Cox next to the Pike Lib sideline. Cox moved the ball down the field for a 15-yard gain. A handful of plays later, Smith ran the exact same play to the other side of the field. This time though, his target was Blake South. The senior wide out tore through the Patriot secondary until he was knocked out of bounds at the one-yard line.

Smith called his own number and powered ahead for the touchdown. The quarterback then turned around and split the uprights with the point after, giving the Senators the lead, 7-0.

“We played a good game,” said Smith. “We made some mistakes, but we still played a good game.”

The Senator defense made life difficult for Pike offense on the next series, senior linebacker Henley Hughes nearly intercepted a pass from quarterback Brent Poole. One play later, Smith picked a Poole pass out of the sky and carried it 30-yards in the opposite direction.

Senior tailback Josh McAteer scored the first of his two touchdowns on the night, capping a seven-play drive with an eight-yard touchdown run on fourth down and two from the eight-yard line. Smith added the point after and the Senators pushed ahead to 14-0.

“We played awful the first half,” said McAteer. “We had a bunch of bad breaks.”

In the second quarter, the Senators’ offense continued to pound away at the Patriot defense, Smith called his own number on an option and carried the football for a 46-yard romp into the end zone. The score was negated by a holding penalty. Four plays later, the Senators were in scoring position again. On third and goal, Smith rolled out of the Wishbone and passed to tight end Will Summerlin who tipped the football into the hands of Cox for the touchdown, putting the Senators up 21-0 with the extra point.

Pike Lib however, put themselves back into the game on the en suing kickoff. Sam Sellers took the kickoff 93 yards in the opposite direction for the Pike Liberal touchdown.

“That was the sloppiest game that we’ve played in while,” said Gartman. “We made enough mental errors to last a season. We came out ready to play, but we lost our concentration and we can’t do that these next two games and expect to win.”

Trailing 21-6 with time ticking down in the first half, the Patriots recovered an onside kick around midfield. On second down, Poole was looking for Sellers, but found Hughes who carried the ball 50 yards for a Senator touchdown.

“It was a big game for us,” said Hughes. “We’ve got to be ready to play next week.”

The interception was called back for defensive holding. On first and 10 from the 40, the Poole took to the air again, this time on a bomb into the end zone. The pass which was batted away by a host of Senator defenders, fell into the hands of a sliding Douglas Hawkins for the touchdown. The Pats attempted a two-point conversion that was stopped in the backfield. At the half, the Senators led by nine, 21-12.

“I think our kids competed,” said Brian Seymore, coach of the Pike Patriots. “I’ve got a great bunch of seniors, they were the backbone of this program. We want to get our program to where Morgan is at and have a chance to play on a state championship level. We’ll keep working and we’ll be back.”

Nine points was as close to the lead as the Patriots would get in the second half.

“We came out a completely different team in the second half,” said McAteer.

On Morgan second possession of the half McAteer took the option pitch from Smith around right end and through a Pike Lib defender for a touchdown from 70-yards out.. Smith added the point after which pushed the score to 28-12.

The Senators added another touchdown on the following possession. South took the handoff from Smith on a tight end reverse play that had the defense scratching their helmets. The senior broke through the middle of the defense en route to a 35-yard touchdown scamper which was capped by his leaping a defender inside the PLAS five-yard line. The point after was wide right, but the score still pushed ahead 34-12.

Ben Callaway added the final Senator touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard run into the end zone. The run was setup by a 21-yard run by the senior tailback to end the third quarter. Logan Cowart added the point after bringing the game to the final tally of 41-12.

McAteer finished the night with 179 yards rushing and Callaway capped his night with 94 yards rushing. As a team, the Senators ground out nearly 500 yards of total offense. Next weekend Morgan will play host to a familiar foe, the Fort Dale Eagles at Senator Field in the second round of the AISA state playoffs.

“It doesn’t matter to me who we play,” said Gartman. “The object is to win the state championship. We start the season with the expectation to win the state championship with nothing else being a success.”

The Eagles upset the Edgewood Academy Wildcats in the first round of play. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.