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Morris defends home field, Redskins pride

Morris senior Jason Matteson recovers a fumble early in the game on Saturday against Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin.
Morris senior Jason Matteson recovers a fumble early in the game on Saturday against Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin.

Redskins pride isn't hard to define. Take for example the antics of Springfield Sacred Heart Griffin before Saturday's IHSA Class 5A semifinal in Morris.

Morris had just entered the field when the members of the Cyclones entered from the west side of the field, then marched in mass to the M at midfield while waving their school flag and taunting the home side of the field.

"That was not a good choice on their part," Morris senior Reese Sobol said. "As fired up as we were, they couldn't have fired us up any more after doing that in the middle of our field. This is our field and we showed them that today."

While SHG came out and led 7-0 at the onset, the Redskins made big play after big play in securing the 30-20 win.

"That made us mad a little bit. It got us more pumped up," Morris senior Collin Grogan said of the Cyclones meeting at midfield and ensuing taunting before the game. "They came out and they were ready to go. We knew we were going to have a fight. They came out ahead of us at the beginning, but we came back. We knew we were going to win this game."

It's what comes with the Redskins losing just once ever in school history at home in a semifinal playoff game (1983).

"We're not losing on our home turf," Grogan said. "The seniors were just not going to lose especially the last time we were ever going to play on this field. This is our field."

It's been a good run by the senior class from Morris, one that has been successful by most standards.

"Everyone has the same desire as me. In the eighth grade we went 11-0 and it was then that we knew we had something special. Since we were little, we've shown so much heart and dedication," Morris senior Jeff Perry said. "We've put so much work in. Our freshman and sophomore years we were also undefeated. We've all just been waiting for today, to get things done and go to the championship."

Morris end Danny Friend was virtually speechless on the field after Saturday's win.

"It's hard to put thoughts into words. It's something we've dreamed about since we were kids. I'm walking on air right now. It's amazing," he said. "It means everything. We're not done yet, we have a lot of work to do. We have one week left and hopefully we can finish this."

Perry agrees that getting the right to play on the turf in Champaign is huge.

"I means a lot. Growing up and watching the '05 team go to state it's been my dream," Perry said. "We put so much hard work in. I love my team. Every day we show up and try our hardest. Now we just need to continue to work hard and get that state title."

"We have a goal and we're almost there," Sobol said.

Morris coach Alan Thorson says that the success of the team this year, while spearheaded by the senior class, is really the whole team working towards one goal.

"The seniors ... so many kids stepped up tonight," Thorson said. "Even the kids on the sideline and the scout players who have gotten us to this point, they help us out in practice every day."

This point will now move to Champaign for a 10 a.m. game on Saturday.

"I love every minute of this," Morris senior Preston Miracle said. "We've worked the whole year for this. We've always kind of anticipated this and now it's come to reality."

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