SYCAMORE – Morris’ state playoff chances disappeared after losing to Sycamore, 28-7, Friday night.
Morris (3-5, 0-4 in the Northern Illinois Big 12 East) entered Friday’s football game at Engh Field in need of a win to keep playoff hopes alive. But Sycamore’s defense had other ideas on senior night.
The Spartans (5-3, 3-1) displayed a stout defense by allowing only one touchdown to Morris. One way to play tough defense is to dominate the line of scrimmage, and that they did – Morris had 13 plays that resulted in 3 yards or less.
“We played pretty well on defense tonight, and we made enough big plays to make things happen,” Sycamore coach Joe Ryan said. “Obviously, Matthew’s [Coovert’s] interception for a touchdown and his other big interception return down the sideline helped us out a lot. Our defense played outstanding.”
Coovert made plays on both sides of the ball for the Spartans that included two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and executed a fake punt that resulted in a first down in Morris territory.
Offensively, Sycamore was led by running back Christian Pawola, who rushed for 64 yards and two touchdowns.
In a must-win game, Morris could not get the ball moving all night and failed to get first downs time and time again. With a running back committee that included five rushers, the Redskins gained only 73 yards on the ground – their biggest play being a 40-yard catch by receiver Jacob Webb.
“It’s kind of been the story for us all year,” Morris coach Alan Thorson said. “Our defense has been solid for most of the year and has kept us in games, and our offense has given us some trouble. Give credit to Sycamore, though. Their coaches always have a good plan, and tonight, the better team won.”
Friday’s win puts Sycamore near the top of the list in playoff points, so regardless of next week’s results, the Spartans most likely are playoff bound.
“This 1-0 is the biggest one of the year.” Ryan said. “We’re going to continue that motto of going 1-0 every week because when you get to the playoffs, that’s what you have to do to move on.”