Get off the bus and tackle everybody.
That seems to be the intention of the Morris football team Friday night when it travels to Geneseo.
“They’ve been piling up a lot of points this season, but they’ve played two CPS schools so its hard to base anything off of that,” Morris senior captain Kyle Hill said. “But their offense has been putting up a lot of points so the defense has to be ready to stop them.”
Geneseo has opened up the season with wins against Dunlap (31-7) and Chicago Raby (56-7), while Morris has split it’s opening pair.
“They look real good on film. I don’t know how good the teams they have played are, but I have seen them do a lot of good things,” Morris coach Alan Thorson said. “They run their offense very well. It’s the same offense they always run. Defensively, they are quick and aggressive. They get to the ball. It’s obviously another good team we are going to play this week.”
Offensively, the Maple Leafs have piled up 672 yards of offense this year, including 560 yards rushing in 77 carries.
“They run the double wing, sometimes with a split out, but most of the time they either have a heavy set or double wing,” Hill said. “They run some shotgun plays, but I don’t think we’ll see that this week.”
Geneseo has three running backs with 100 yards or more this season and, including quarterback Luke Snyder, four guys with more than 10 carries each.
Rayce Singbush is the leading rusher. He has 18 carries for 160 yards and four TDs.
Meanwhile, Ryan Webster has 12 carries, 123 yards and four TDs; Brandon Mizlo has 13 carries, 146 yards and a score; and Snyder has 12 carries, 46 yards and a score.
Scott Schulte has the remaining rushing TD for Geneseo to bring that total to 11.
“It’s a lot of double wing and Wing-T stuff,” Thorson said. “They don’t throw a lot, but they will try to lull you to sleep if they see your DBs start to creep up. That’s when they hit you with the big pass. Our DBs have to be disciplined.
“It does put some pressure on them. The defense has to be disciplined. With all of the misdirection and pulling linemen, we have to make sure we tackle everybody. They are going to fake it to one guy and hand it to the other, so we have to be very disciplined on defense.”
And tackle everybody.
“We pretty much just have to tackle everybody,” Hill said. “Try to watch where the ball goes, but tackle everybody you can. We each have our own job. As long as everyone sticks to their assignments, we should be all right.”
Since Geneseo is such a one-dimensional team, Thorson thinks Friday will be a different look for the Redskins’ defense.
“Typically when we see Wing-T or double wing teams like Rochelle, coach (John) Courter is going to load the box up more,” he said.
“Coach does a good job of giving different looks. He mixes them up so that the other team needs to think about it.”
Perhaps gone unnoticed to this point is the fact that the Maple Leafs’ defense has allowed only an average of 150 yards a game.
“[Offensively] we have to continue to get better, especially on the offensive line,” Thorson said. “We also need to give quarterback Griff [Sobol] some confidence and have him complete some passes early.
“Our whole thing is that we want to stay balanced and not be one-dimensional either passing or running. We like to do both. That’s the challenge to the offense this week.”
The game marks the second week in a row that Morris will be hitting the road for a trip of more than an hour and a half.
This, following last week’s game in Metamora.
“I don’t think it will affect us much. This senior class has only lost twice on the road ever,” Hill said.
“It just gives us more time to focus in on what we have to do.”
Which is win a football game.
“The kids did a great job last week with the long bus ride,” Thorson said. “We’ll take a charter bus again. So, it’s not an uncomfortable ride for the kids. They can sit and watch a movie and relax on the way.
“This team traditionally, these seniors have traveled well. Even at the younger levels, they have done well on the road. So, travel is not a big issue. We just want to have a good week of practice and play well on Friday night.
“That’s what we are focusing on.”