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Morris outlasts Dukes in matchup of improved teams

Right direction

Dixon QB JD Gieson is tackled by Morrs' T.J. Layne during Friday's game at Morris. The Dukes fell 38-21.
Dixon QB JD Gieson is tackled by Morrs' T.J. Layne during Friday's game at Morris. The Dukes fell 38-21.

Heading into Friday night’s contest, the Morris football team was looking for a quick start. That’s exactly what the Redskins got when they scored in their opening possession.

However, Dixon answered back with a touchdown of its own, and then hung tight throughout the game before succumbing in the second half in a 38-21 Morris win.

“The kids are working hard and they never stop believing in what we’re doing,” Dixon coach Dave Smith said. “We don’t have a lot of kids out, but the kids we have are doing the best they can.”

After the Redskins forced a Dixon punt in the opening series, Morris put together a
seven-play drive that went 65 yards and was capped by a 4-yard TD plunge by Matt Feiden. The drive was run exclusively out of the T-formation.

Dixon’s touchdown drive was not.

The Dukes moved the ball downfield and scored at 10:37 of the second quarter when JD Gieson scored on a 10-yard touchdown run. That wrapped up a six-play drive that was run exclusively out of the spread formation. Both kickers were true with the extra points, and it was 7-7 at that time.

Morris came right back and scored in the following sequence, however, and slowly began to pull away. The Redskins went 64 yards in four plays, with the big play being a 53-yard TD run by Jake Walker. That score came at 9:19.

The Redskins capped the scoring in the first half when quarterback Griffin Sobol completed a screen pass to fullback Feiden and it sprang for 39 yards. Jake Reed’s kick made it 21-7 heading into the locker rooms.

Morris scored first to start the second half. That came on the first drive out of the locker room. It was a three-play drive that concluded on a 46-yard TD run by Walker. Reed’s kick made it 27-7.

Dixon was not done fighting, though, as the Dukes scored on a 55-yard yard pass play from Gieson to Quinton Douglas. Cody Mighell’s kick made it 28-14 with 6:09 left in the third.

The Morris offense proved to be relentless, however, and soon began to wear Dixon’s defense down. The Redskins ran the ball eight times in the next drive and scored again – this time on a 9-yard TD by Dean Meucci.

The Dixon offense proved that it would not be stalled. The Dukes answered that score with an 80-yard drive that ended in a 3-yard TD run by Douglas. That came with 20 seconds left in the third quarter and made the score 35-21.

Reed kicked a 32-yard field goal at 8:37 of the fourth to bring about the final score.

“I told the kids not to put their heads down. They played four quarters. We just have to stop beating ourselves,” Smith said. “Tonight, we got beat by penalties. We did cut down on the turnovers, but the penalties hurt us.

“But you have to give credit to Morris. They are physical, and I know they wanted to come back after last week’s game [loss at Geneseo] and play physical. They did what we thought they would do, we just didn’t stop them when we had to.”

Morris coach Alan Thorson said that Dixon is a much improved team this year.

“That wasn’t the same Dixon we saw last year,” he said. “They came out with some fire and were fighting the whole game. Those coaches are doing a good job of trying to turn that program around.”

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