Morgan falls in semi-finals against Monroe Academy

Published 12:28 am Saturday, November 11, 2017

Morgan Academy’s football season is over. It ended Friday night in Monroeville.

The Senators lost to Monroe Academy 34-7. The Vols explosive, balanced offense was too much for Morgan to handle in the second round of the AISA playoffs.

Monroe broke a scoreless tie with 7:10 left in the first quarter. The Vols moved 66 yards in just four plays with the brothers McKenzie doing the work. Quarterback Griffin McKenzie hit Dalton McKenzie on a 45-yard wheel route for a touchdown pass to give Monroe a 6-0 lead.

Morgan Academy blocked the extra point.

On the Vols next possession, Dalton McKenzie raced 52-yards to the end zone, and added a two point conversion to give Monroe a 14-0 lead.

The Senators moved the ball at times in the first half, but couldn’t score.

A TD pass from Morgan’s Peyton Egbert to Hardin Utsey was called back on a holding penalty and the drive stalled out.

The Senators held Monroe scoreless in the second quarter and went to halftime only down two scores.

“The players believed in each other,” said Morgan head coach Josh Thacker. “At halftime, they believed they were going to win the game.”

The Vols marched 73 yards on their first drive of the third quarter. Griffin McKenzie scored on a four yard scamper on fourth down to give Monroe a 21-0 lead.

The brothers hooked up again with 6:18 remaining in the third quarter on a dazzling 66-yard, hook-and-lateral pass to make the score 28-0.

Quarterback Griffin McKenzie was 6 of 9 passing for 149 yards. He ran for 50 yards on 10 carries.

Dalton McKenzie rushed eight times for 90 yards as the Vols out gained Morgan 416 to 171, and racked up 267 yards on the ground.

“We didn’t execute,” said Thacker. “And do a lot of other things that caused us to lose this football game.”

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Grayson Stacey scored on an 11-yard run to put Monroe up 34-0. Cooper McKinney blocked the extra point for Morgan.

The Senators never quit. Morgan marched 67 yards in nine plays to get on the scoreboard.

Egbert hit Utsey on a 25-yard touchdown pass with 6:51 left in the game, but that would close out the scoring.

Egbert completed 4 of 12 passes for 68 yards and Sam Brackin accounted for 33 yards on 11 carries.

Pierson Atchison led the Senators defense and punted for the first time all year in place of Mason Perkins, who injured his knee during the week and could not play for Morgan Academy.

The Senators close the season at 6-6, while Monroe improves to 12-0 and will play in the state championship game on November 17 in Troy.

Morgan made the playoffs this year for the first time since 2011. It was a season for the Senators that will be remembered.

It was the last game for 14 Morgan Academy seniors, who saw their win total go up each year.

“This team has a lot of heart,” said Thacker.