MORRIS – Heading into the season, Morris football coach Alan Thorson knew his team would have a lot of offensive weapons.
The Redskins put them on display early and often Friday night, building a 28-point lead by the end of the first quarter and a 42-point advantage at halftime en route to a 49-6 season-opening win over Chicago Austin.
Seven players scored a touchdown each for Morris, which racked up 202 yards and five touchdowns on just 16 rushing attempts in the first half, along with completing its only pass attempt for a 16-yard TD.
“We did a lot of good things tonight,” Thorson said. “We will have to look at the film [Saturday] to get a better look, but from what we saw tonight, we looked pretty good. The offensive line blocked well, the backs ran hard, and the defense was flying to the ball.”
The Redskins, who travel to Washington next week, wasted little time getting on the board against an Austin team that had only 15 players dressed for action.
After Morris forced an Austin punt on the game’s opening possession, the Redskins took over on their 44-yard line.
On the first play from scrimmage, fullback Keagan Sobol rumbled for a 32-yard gain, but a personal foul at the end of the play moved the Redskins back to the Austin 41.
Michael Feeney then took a handoff and broke through the middle of the Austin defense for a 41-yard touchdown run.
Diego Luna’s kick made the score 7-0 with 8:54 to play in the first quarter.
The Morris defense got the ball right back after Ryan Niewinski recovered an Austin fumble at the 5 on the first play after the kickoff. Michael Gerischer ran for a 4-yard gain and appeared to score on the next play, but a holding penalty was called, moving the ball back to the 11.
Gerischer then gained 10 yards before Sobol took into the end zone from the 1. This time, Dallas Hastings added the kick, and Morris led 14-0 with 7:03 to play in the first.
The Redskins forced Austin into a three-and-out, and a short punt gave Morris possession at the Tigers’ 16. Quarterback Nathan Guth hit Tommy Balentine with a screen pass, and Balentine scooted the distance untouched for another score and a 21-0 lead. Austin then failed to convert on fourth-and-6, and Morris took over on the Tigers’ 25. Joe Webb ran for about 10 yards before he was hit and fumbled, but the Redskins’ Merrick Hairapetian recovered at the 5. Webb scored on the next play to put Morris ahead 28-0 with 1:59 to play in the first quarter.
The second quarter saw Keegan Webber score on a 2-yard run and Gerischer score from 18 yards out to put Morris ahead, 42-0. Balentine returned the second-half kickoff 42 yards to the Austin 38, and Hairapetian scored from 4 yards out to provide the Redskins’ final touchdown.
On the drive, reserve running back Kyion Willis ran for gains of 15 and 11 yards.
Austin finally scored late when quarterback Chumiya Powell scored on a 6-yard run.
“I know some people will question this game because it wasn’t as competitive as we’ve had in past openers,” Thorson said. “But we have a very young team, and over half of the guys on our team got their first varsity experience tonight. Everyone got on the field.
“We got the ‘W,’ we stayed healthy and a lot of kids got experience under the lights. We know from last year especially that injuries can happen any time, and now everyone on the team has some varsity experience, and that’s important.
“I have to hand it to Austin. They kept playing hard and never gave up. Now, we start focusing on Washington next week.”