MORRIS — After falling behind Yorkville, 13-0, Friday night, the Morris football team gathered itself and scored on a three-yard run by Chatten Dryfhout to pull to within 13-7 midway through the second quarter.
Soon after that, though, things got crazy.
It all started with Morris' Kyle Little sacking Yorkville quarterback Josh Beetham and forcing a fumble, which Morris' Devin Narwick recovered at the Yorkville 41.
On the next play, Morris quarterback Mitchell Mayberry hit Zach Reddinger with a 41-yard touchdown pass and Austin Hastings' kick gave Morris a 14-13 lead with 2:46 to play until halftime.
Morris appeared to have all the momentum, but Yorkville turned the tide quickly. The Foxes' Nico Medrano returned the ensuing kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and a 20-14 Yorkville lead. Then, Morris fumbled while returning the kickoff and Yorkville's Zachary Katula scooped up the loose ball and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown with 2:26 to play to put Yorkville ahead, 27-14, en route to a 34-21 victory in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East opener for both teams.
"That was a huge turnaround," Morris coach Alan Thorson said. "We fought back to get the lead, and then gave it up so quick. The kick return is a big play by them. Those happen. But the fumble on the kick return really hurt.
"We are making too many mistakes and beating ourselves. We have to fix the turnovers, and we have to get off to a better start. This is the second week in a row where we have been behind less than a minute into the game."
Indeed, the Foxes got a 51-yard kickoff return by Toran Harris to the Morris 40 to start the game and, on the second play, Jacob Brooks ran 33 yards for a touchdown. Brandon Phelps blocked the extra point, but Yorkville led, 6-0, just 46 seconds into the game.
Yorkville went ahead 13-0 on the first play of the second quarter when Harris scored from 15 yards out. Morris, though, answered on its next drive, taking the ball 83 yards on 13 plays, with Chatten Dryfhout scoring on a three-yard run with 5:10 to play.
Yorkville went ahead 34-14 in the third quarter on a one-yard run by Brandon Lee, and Morris took to the air almost exclusively. Mayberry finished with 22 completions in 39 attempts for 247 yards, completing passes to eight different receivers. Reddinger was his favorite target, grabbing seven passes for 92 yards. Austin Hatcher caught three passes for 43 yards and led the team with 70 rushing yards on nine attempts.
"We moved the ball better against them than we have in the past," Thorson said. "We had a lot of receivers make good plays tonight and we showed that we have a lot of athletes we can get the ball to.
"But, you can't make mistakes like we made tonight in this conference. Those are the things that are going to beat you."