AISA Game of the Week: Morgan on the rebound

Published 10:26 pm Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Two teams will try to bounce back from disappointing first-week losses when Morgan Academy squares off against Kingwood Christian on Friday at Senator Field.

The Senators entered last Friday’s game against the No. 8 Pike Liberal Arts Patriots ranked No. 4 in the state. They came away licking their wounds after a 23-7 loss.

“We got beat by a better football team,” said Morgan coach Robert Gartman. “We got outplayed and outcoached.”

The Lions — who have made it to the AISA playoffs the last three years — fell to Hooper 43-2. It was their worst regular season loss since falling to Meadowview Christian 45-6 last August.

Gartman thinks Kingwood’s stumble last week is not indicative of the team the Senators will see this Friday night.

“They’ve got a lot of good looking players,” he said. “They just made a lot of mistakes against Hooper.”

Both teams are in search of redemption and an elusive first win.

The Senators entered this season with aspirations of reaching Troy for the AISA state title game. With 18 returning starters from last year’s team, the optimism was understandable.

However, against Pike Lib, the Senators were reeling from the loss of sophomore safety Austin Smitherman. He went down in practice last Wednesday and did not play against Pike Liberal Arts. He will not play this Friday, either.

The Lions will run a split four defense and spread offense. Morgan will counter with its flexbone/wishbone/veer mix on offense and a 5-2 on defense.

This home opener will be key to getting Morgan’s season back on the right track. The question is, can the Senators bounce back from Friday’s loss?

“It depends on how they respond in practice this week,” said Gartman of his players. “We’ve just got to go back to work. That’s all we can do.”