MORRIS – The Morris football team gave the school its 11th state trophy Saturday at a celebration honoring the Redskins and their season.
The season ended Friday night with a heartbreaking 24-21 loss to defending champion Rochester in the Class 4A state championship game, and the school hosted a celebration open to the public.
Principal Kelly Hussey opened the ceremony by thanking fans for their support and remarking how well Morris travels and that the turnout at the game “made us look great.”
After that, athletic director Jeff Johnson introduced the coaching staff and players, and they received their second-place medals. He then said that anyone who didn’t know what Redskins pride was “just needed to watch last night’s game.”
Johnson then introduced coach Alan Thorson to a standing ovation, and Thorson said that Morris has “the best community, school and football program in the state.”
Thorson then thanked the school’s administration for the support of the program, the cheerleading teams, the pom squad, the band and the winter guard for their hard work in supporting the football team, and the Morris Quarterback Club, the booster club for the football program.
Thorson then called for assistant coach John Wodziak to stand and be acknowledged, as he will be retiring after this school year.
“Coach Wodziak was coaching in his sixth state title game,” Thorson said. “He has been with me all 13 years here, from sophomore to varsity. I know there isn’t a better offensive line coach in the state, and there may not be in the country than Coach Wodziak. He is irreplaceable, and he will be missed.”
Thorson went on to thank the families of the coaches and players for their support throughout the years and then turned to the players. He thanked the sophomores who were brought up to varsity for the playoff run for their hard work and told them how valuable this experience will be in the future. He thanked the juniors for coming in and meshing well with the seniors.
When it came time to thank the seniors for their efforts, he choked up a bit when saying how special a group they had been. He pointed out that in their two varsity seasons, they went 21-6 and reached the Class 5A semifinals in 2016 and were second in the state in Class 4A in 2017.
The Morris captains – Kameron Dransfeldt, Nolan Feeney, Brennan Goff and Avery Hofmann – then presented Hussey with the state runner-up trophy, which Hussey gladly accepted. Hussey then remarked on the passion and pride that the coaches have in their jobs of teaching and building young men. He said that the players now know what it is to strive for greatness and what it takes to achieve it, a lesson they can apply as their lives move on.
The ceremony then ended and players and families were allowed to mingle and take pictures with the trophy.