Elgin hangs on to down East Aurora
Trevon Morris called it.
He predicted over the summer that he would return the first kickoff he got his hands on for a touchdown. And sure enough, the first time East Aurora kicked to him, he brought it back 80 yards to pay dirt.
Morris also scored what turned out to be the game-winner as Elgin downed East Aurora, 22-20, in an Upstate Eight crossover at Memorial Field Friday night.
The Maroons' defense came up big, stopping a 2-point conversion with 37 seconds left that would have tied the game.
Morris' return came immediately after the Tomcats had taken the lead on a 9-yard run by Jereye Stevenson.
"I caught the ball, I did a few cuts, then I saw daylight," he said. "As soon as I scored, I looked at my team and they said, 'You were right.' And I said, 'Yeah, I like to keep my word.' "
Quarterback Kristan Flowers completed 5 of 10 passes for 92 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dae'Vion Arthur ran 10 times for 79 yards and Morris finished with 87 yards from scrimmage.
Roy Panthier caught a 45-yard pass from Flowers for the Maroons' second score.
After winning last year's finale, the Maroons find themselves on a 2-game winning streak.
But it wasn't easy. On fourth down from the Elgin 44, Tomcat quarterback Ziare Williams lofted one downfield that Derrick Harden hauled in for a score. But East Aurora couldn't get the 2-point conversion. Williams rolled to his right but couldn't find either a receiver or a running lane. He was eventually smothered by the Elgin defense.
"We knew they wanted to get the ball to number 5 (Williams)," said Elgin coach Anthony Mason. "That's their player, he had a heckuva game. So we wanted to keep our eyes on him and make sure that wherever he went, we had him ready to go. We wanted to make sure we stepped (Williams) and then let somebody else beat us."
Elgin had taken the lead with a big fourth down conversion of its own. Facing fourth and long at the Tomcat 31, Flowers found Morris open at around the 15-yard line. Morris shook off a would-be tackler and raced into the end zone.
Mason sent Morris in for the play, and Flowers, his cousin, told him to look for the ball.
"(Flowers) gave me a nod, so I knew it was coming, but I didn't think it was going to come that quick," Morris said. "As soon as I turned my head the ball was right there."
Morris is dedicating the season to a sister and a cousin who passed away during the summer. "I love Elgin, I'm playing for Elgin, but I'm also playing for my family who passed away."
Elgin overcame 4 turnovers and 81 penalty yards for the win.
Stevenson finished with 101 yards on the ground for East Aurora, and Williams added 87 yards on the ground, but he finished just 4 of 15 through the air for 57 yards. He was sacked 4 times by
Elgin's attacking defense, and intercepted by Andrew Staine.