Yep, it’s a first.
Never had the Minooka football team won a game at Redskins Field in Morris. Not before Saturday evening’s 21-14 win by the Indians over the Redskins.
Minooka’s Nathan Gunn ran 15 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns as the defense held off a late Morris charge in the season opener. The game was originally scheduled to be played Friday, but was delayed to Saturday because of poor weather conditions.
“We’ve worked our butts off all summer long. We had a lot to work for here,” Gunn said. “This team had beaten us years in a row, but we didn’t mind that. We came out here thinking about this year. The line blocked great and the defense played a fantastic game. We did what we came here to do, and we got the victory.”
The win was not only the first by Minooka in Morris, but it marks the first time since 2000 that the Indians beat the Redskins on the gridiron.
“I’m super excited for these guys. I can’t express that enough. They showed some heart,” Minooka coach Paul Forsythe said. “It was a tight game – a down to the wire game.”
Minooka struck quickly in the first quarter, scoring at 6:35 of the opening stanza on a 2-yard touchdown run by Gunn. Jacob Stytz added the extra point kick to make it 7-0. The second score came four minutes later, this time on a pass from quarterback Shane Briscoe to Anthony Mack and Stytz’s kick made it 14-0.
The game stayed that way until the final quarter. Then the game got interesting.
Morris finally broke through and scored with 10:18 left in the game on a 9-yard touchdown run by Jacob Walker making it 14-7. However, Minooka answered right back with a scoring drive that was culminated on an 8-yard run by Gunn and making it a two possession game.
The Redskins responded with a touchdown with about seven minutes to go when Walker scored from three yards away to make the score 21-14.
Then the Indians defense stepped in. They had to make a stand at the end of the game when Morris took over with 3:02 remaining and started driving trying to tie the game from its own 20. With a little over a minute to go , Minooka defensive end Anthony Phillips sacked Redskins quarterback Griffin Sobol and for all intents and purposes ended the drive.
“Coach gave us the no rules call and I decided to go B-[gap] because it was open and I took my kill shot,” Phillips said.
It brought the end of a solid varsity debut by Sobol. He was 20-for-34 on the day with 242 yards passing. This despite the Redskins running for just 45 yards in 22 carries.
“The game came down to two things,” Morris coach Alan Thorson said. “Their line. They have a very good offensive and defensive line. They got the better of us a majority of the time and the overall mental mistakes that we made.”
Thorson said his team’s offense essentially did not show up ready to play.
“Offensively, we took the whole first half off,” he said. “Give credit to Minooka, their defense did a good job but we struggled to run the ball. We’re confident in Griff, but we still have to have a run game.”
Morris had just 24 yards rushing at halftime.
“We have to be able to run the ball, you have to have balance,” Thorson said. “Tonight we did not have that at all.”
Morris senior captain Austin Laurie felt the Redskins let the game get away from them.
“It sucks ... there was good and bad in this game but we feel we beat ourselves mostly,” he said.
“This is going to motivate us a lot. We all hate to lose. It’s not in our blood to lose. It will bring us back up.”