MORRISON – The battle for the Wooden Shoe trophy came down to the right shoe of Fulton sophomore Jack Lemke.
With 14.3 seconds remaining, Lemke’s 25-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right and Morrison held on for an 8-7 win in the Three Rivers North clash Friday night at E.M. “Bud” Cole Field. It was the Mustangs’ 10th straight win in the series.
“Our defense did a fantastic job,” said Morrison coach Cory Bielema, whose team was outgained 256-188. “I challenged the kids after last week [a 50-0 loss to Orion, which Fulton defeated in Week 1]. They responded.”
Fulton (1-2, 0-1) got in position for the field goal by driving from their own 48 to the Morrison 7. The Steamers began the drive with 2 minutes, 7 seconds remaining and no timeouts. In 11 plays, they moved to the Mustang 7 before settling for the field-goal try.
“He’s got a very good foot,” Fulton coach Patrick Lower said of Lemke. “He’s got good distance. I wasn’t worried if he was in range. It’s a tough spot to be in. I feel bad for him, but I would make that decision again.”
All the scoring came early, as Fulton scored on its first possession and Morrison (2-1, 1-0) on its second.
The Steamers’ first drive was a 60-yard march that included a 15-yard pass from Lemke, who was filling in quarterback for injured 3-year starter Ethan Jones, to Kegan North; an 11-yard run by Devin Kuehl; a 10-yard pass from Lemke to Jason Osborn; and an 8-yard run by Kuehl on fourth-and-5 at the Morrison 34.
Austin Regenwether, who rushed for 156 yards, capped the drive with a 4-yard rumble. Lemke tacked on the extra point, and Fulton led 7-0 with 5:51 left in the first quarter.
Morrison responded with a 14-play, 63-yard scoring drive. The highlights were a 13-yard run by Mason Sitzmore, who started at quarterback in place of injured starter Joey Brackemyer, and Sitzmore’s 22-yard TD toss to Ryan Mayberry, who made a terrific catch over a defender on a fade to the left corner of the end zone.
Sitzmore then added a two-point conversion run to give the Mustangs an 8-7 edge with 11:26 left in the first half.
“I thought we’d do more, but we hung in there,” Sitzmore said. “We really stuck together and fought hard.”
Morrison had a chance for more early in the fourth quarter, when Fulton muffed a punt return for the third time and the Mustangs recovered at the Steamer 30. Morrison reached the Fulton 3 before the Steamers turned them away.
Fulton put the ball on the ground eight times. The Steamers fumbled five times, but lost none. They did lose two of their three muffed punt returns.
“We just didn’t capitalize when we needed to,” Regenwether said. “We just didn’t execute. That was our big hiccup.”
Key performers: Austin Regenwether, Fulton, 156 rushing, TD; Ryan Mayberry, Morrison, 22-yard TD reception; Devin Kuehl, Fulton, 56 rushing