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No. 5 Morgan Academy Eyes Trip to Monroe Academy

By Lew Gilliland

The Selma Times-Journal

No. 5-ranked Morgan Academy proved last Friday it’s capable of overcoming a little adversity.

More than a little, actually.

The Senators survived a sloppy first half by their offense and picked up their second victory in as many tries this season, downing visiting Clarke Prep 34-6 in AAA, Region 2.

What kind of first half was it for the Morgan Academy offense? Well, on one play, the Senators blocked their own punt when the personal protector backed into the punter. The Senators finished the half with three punts and a turnover inside the Gators’ 10-yard line.

The turnover ended a promising drive that saw quarterback Andrew Thomas complete passes of 30 yards to John Allen Ingram and 21 yards to Rhyne Williams.

Still, the Senators got their offense rolling in the second half and ended the night celebrating another win.

“I thought our kids did a really good job,” Morgan Academy coach Danny Raines said. “We had some mistakes. We shot ourselves in the foot and had some drive-killers in the first half, but the kids played hard and stayed after it.

“I just tell our kids to do the best you can. We all make mistakes. The kids the other night did a great job hanging in there. Our defense was really good, too.”

Morgan Academy (2-0, 1-0) will attempt to make it three wins in a row when the Senators travel to Monroe Academy for another region game Friday night. The Volunteers (0-2, 0-1) opened region play with a 28-6 loss at Bessemer Academy last week.

“They’re a good team,” Raines said. “They’re physical up front. They like to run; they’re capable of throwing it as well. We’ll have to have a good week to get ready for them. They’re 0-2, but they’ve lost to two good football teams.”

Raines would probably be thrilled to receive another showing from his defense like he got last week.

While the Senators sputtered offensively, the defense came to the rescue, limiting Clarke Prep to 37 yards of total offense in the first half.

The defense blinked early in the second half, allowing the Gators to drive for their only touchdown of the night, but reclaimed control after that and limited Clarke Prep to 173 yards of total offense for the game.

Senior defensive end Andrew Morris helped lead the way. He closed with nine tackles (eight solo), two sacks and an interception. He also stopped Clarke Prep for a gain of 1 yard one fourth-and-4 in the first half.

“Andrew is a great kid,” Raines said. “He gives us everything he has every day. He’s a worker. I’m so glad to see him have success on the field. You can count on him.”

Linebacker Trey Jones had a big game as well, closing with 14 tackles (10 solo). Cornerback C.J. Crocker added 10 stops, including seven solos.

Monroe Academy leads the all-time series against Morgan Academy 23-14, but the Senators won last year’s game 34-20.