Morgan looks to extend success

Published 7:12 pm Tuesday, September 16, 2008

After last Friday’s dramatic 14-13 overtime win over Marengo Academy, it appears Morgan is back on the right track.

The win improved the Senators to 2-1 on the season and 2-0 in Class AAA Region 2 — tying the Senators with two-time defending AAA state champion Bessemer.

But the Senators must forget the win quickly and gather their focus when they host Lee-Scott (2-1) on Friday.

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“There will probably be an emotional letdown this week,” said coach Robert Gartman. “They knew last week’s game was a region game and got up for it.”

Friday’s win was a confidence booster for both the Senators and their coach. But Gartman feels that it’s still too early in the season to get a good feel on his team’s capabilities.

“It’s still hard to get a gauge on where we stand,” said Gartman. “This is the most balanced I have seen the AISA. Four or six teams on any given night could beat any of the others.”

Lee-Scott is a team with several unknowns. The Warriors haven’t been to the playoffs since joining Class AAA in 2004.

The Warriors opened the season with a 38-0 loss to Bessemer, but bounced back with wins over Taylor Road Academy and Macon-East.

“They’re much better than they have been,” said Gartman. “Based on what I’ve heard, they’re much better than last year. They’re a lot more physical.”

Part of the improvement may be due to new coach Robert Maddox. Maddox was the coach of Troy University from 1988 to 1990.

The Senators’ success will also depend on their ability to overcome injuries. Running back Austin Smitherman will miss Friday’s game due to injury. Tackles Paul Kirk Jones and Brandon Kiel and quarterback Daniel Lee are all dealing with nagging injuries, but will play against Lee-Scott.

Though Morgan’s game with the Warriors will have little impact on its playoff hopes — the Warriors are in Region 1 — a win would provide another boost to a team still fighting its way back from a season-opening loss to Pike Liberal Arts.

“We just need to continue winning,” said Gartman. “It would continue to give us a lot of confidence.”