Morgan Academy advances to second round of playoffs

Published 11:59 pm Friday, November 3, 2017

The exciting roller coaster ride continues for Morgan Academy.

The Senators advanced to the second round of the AISA playoffs by defeating the Glenwood Gators on their home field in Smiths Station, 21-14.

The victory set off a big celebration by the Senators and the fans that made the long trip.

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“I’m happy for the guys,” said Morgan head coach Josh Thacker. “They’ve never experienced something like this. I’m happy for our school, our fans, and our community.”

Morgan served as the predator in this game. The Senators attacked the Gators moving the football on the ground and absolutely refusing to lose.

After a scoreless first quarter, both teams exploded just before halftime.

Glenwood struck first. Gator defensive back Dave Copeland intercepted a Peyton Egbert pass and returned it 65 yards to give Glenwood a 7-0 lead with 1:32 to go in the second quarter.

Egbert rebounded. Morgan’s senior quarterback hit Hardin Utsey on a 59 yard post pattern to tie the game 7-7 with 30 seconds to go before halftime.

Glenwood answered just as quickly. Gator quarterback Bryce Valero rambled 43-yards on a nifty run to the end zone to put Glenwood up 14-7 with :07 left in the first half.

That would be all the points the Senators defense would allow.

Pierson Atchison, Kenneth Nichols, and Sawyer Hopkins played strong up front for Morgan, and Sam Plummer, Ed Williams, Mason Perkins, and Utsey did a great job in the secondary.

The Senators held Glenwood to just 192 yards of total offense.

In contrast, Morgan gained 385 yards with most of it coming on the ground.

Sam Brackin rushed for 111 yards on 14 carries and Egbert had a season-high, 127-yards on nine carries, including two touchdowns.

He scored on a seven yard keeper with 11:53 to go in the fourth quarter to end an 84-yard drive and tie the game at 14.

On Morgan’s next possession, the Senators moved 80 yards in just six plays. Egbert covered the last 29 yards on a quarterback sneak as he sneaked through the secondary and into the end zone for the game winner with 4:49 remaining.

“He’s a competitor,” said Thacker. “We hit them with a lot of unbalanced stuff, and they never adjusted.”

The Morgan defense made one final stand inside their 25 yard line in the closing seconds to set off the celebration.

“We had the best week of preparation since I’ve been at Morgan Academy,” Thacker said.

Morgan closed with 15 first downs to 10 for Glenwood, and a six minute edge in time of possession.

The Senators improved to 6-5 on the season with the victory.

Morgan will be on the road for the fourth straight week next Friday. The Senators play Monroe Academy in round two of the playoffs. The Vols defeated Morgan 56-20 back in September in Selma.