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Local

Morris previews its upcoming season

Redskins scrimmage for public Friday night

MORRIS – The Morris football team gave the public its first look at the 2018 edition of the Redskins on Friday night at the annual Maroon & White scrimmage.

Morris is coming off of a season that saw them finish with an
11-3 record and a second-place finish in Class 4A. They are hoping to make a similar run this season, and they feel they got off to a good start Friday night.

The scrimmage focused on special teams first, followed by the starting defense taking on the scout team offense and finished with the starting offense going against the scout team defense.

When a storm began rolling in, the scrimmage ended a bit early, but coach Alan Thorson was happy with what he saw up until that point.

During the special teams portion, both kickers – Austin Hastings and Austin Hatcher – were impressive.

Hatcher showed off a strong leg on both kickoffs and punts, while Hastings was very accurate on his kicks from placement. Even backup punter Zach Reddinger displayed a big leg on his few punts.

The return game also was on display, and both Chatten Dryfhout and Alex Cameron each broke off a return that went for a touchdown.

When the starting defense began on the field, the scout team offense displayed some difficulty moving the ball, even with starting quarterback Mitchell Mayberry behind center some of the time.

Cameron was able to intercept a pass and return it for a touchdown, and several of the Morris defenders were in the offensive backfield, thwarting the offense and making tackles for a loss of yardage.

“I thought our defense was good,” Morris coach Alan Thorson said.
“It seemed like we were able to get off the ball well and there were some guys that really impressed me tonight.”

When the offense got the ball against the scout team defense, the Redskins’ power running game was on full display, with backs Dryfhout, Hatcher, Brandon Phelps and Tyler Petty taking turns ripping off big gains. Mayberry didn’t throw often, but when he did, his passes were on the mark.

“Offensively, I thought we looked real good,” Thorson said. “Our line blocked things well, even though
the defense pretty much knew what plays we were running. It was nice to get out here and have a nice scrimmage.”

About the only down side to the night was senior backup offensive lineman Juan Solano suffering an arm injury.

“One of the biggest things you want from this scrimmage is for no one to get hurt,” Thorson said. “Juan hurt his arm and we will have to wait and see exactly what the extent of his injury is. You never like to see that.

“But, other than the one injury, we came out of it pretty clean, and that’s a good thing.”

During the scrimmage, licensed high school officials were on hand to call the game like it will be called next week in the opener at Coal City.

Having the officials there let the players and coaching staff know what the officials are looking for and what the team needs to work on.

“We had a few holding calls on offense and a few offsides calls on defense,” Thorson said. “A lot of that was just kids being aggressive.
We were under the lights for the first time this year and the kids were pretty charged up about that.

“I know they are ready to hit someone else. They have been hitting each other since practice started, and they are ready to go for that first game.
We will watch film on this and see what we need to work on and continue getting ready for Coal City.”

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