Morgan marches as L-Way Central stops Hersey
Hersey's defense had no answer for Lincoln-Way Central fullback Mike Morgan.
Morgan, a 6-foot-2 senior, scored 3 touchdowns and rushed for 163 yards on 37 carries as Lincoln-Way Central advanced in the Class 7A playoffs with a 21-7 second-round win Saturday in Arlington Heights.
The Knights amassed 384 yards of offense, with 245 coming on the ground.
Hersey finished with 210 yards, and just 64 rushing.
Lincoln-Way the No. 9 seed advances to play in next week's quarterfinals. The Huskies, who were the No. 8 seed, close out their season at 9-2.
"We knew that we could get out-physicaled by them," said Hersey coach Joe Pardun. "That No. 13 (Morgan) was just a beast. Every time they needed yardage, he got it for them."
"I thought that we did a good job in controlling their offense," said Hersey senior lineman Jake Mailloux. "But they were able to make some big plays against us and that hurt. I'm really proud of my teammates -- this was a big season for us."
The Huskies had their chances in the first half but could capitalize only one time.
On the Huskies' first drive to start the game, Hersey drove from its 25 all the way to the Knights' 22. But quarterback Owen Goldsberry was sacked on fourth down at the 28 by Jackson Hosman.
Lincoln-Way Central then drove 72 yards on 14 plays, scoring on Morgan's 2-yard run behind the lead blocking of Nolan Nelson for a 7-0 lead with :34 left in the quarter.
Goldsberry (10-for-18 passing, 146 yards, 1 int.) connected with Dan Manosalvas on a 63-yard pass play to put Hersey in business on the Lincoln-Way 11. On fourth down from the 2, Matt Granberry, who later intercepted a pass, tackled Goldsberry for a 1-yard loss.
And then Lincoln-Way churned out a 97-yard, 9-play drive with Morgan scoring from the 1 with 5:33 left in the first half. A 66-yard pass play from quarterback Sam Pipiras to Justin Ellis was the key play on the drive as the Knights grabbed a 14-0 lead.
"I just had great blocking from my offensive line," said Morgan. "Our plan was to run the ball. We're mostly a running team and we felt we could take advantage of the middle."
The Huskies closed the gap with 2:42 left in the half on Vince Carso's 3-yard run and Scott Tangney's extra point kick. The Huskies' 8-play, 58-yard drive was enhanced by two 15-yard penalties -- a facemask call on the kickoff gave Hersey the ball at the Lincoln-Way 42, and a 12-yard run by Goldsberry with another 15 tacked on due to a late hit keyed the drive.
Morgan capped a 5:50 drive to start the second half with a 2-yard run, capping an 11-play, 69-yard drive. A personal foul and a roughing the passer call on Hersey aided the as Lincoln-Way Central extended the lead to 21-7.
Hersey had difficulty moving the ball until the last few minutes, when the Huskies moved to the Knights' 13.
But consecutive quarterback sacks by Andrew Folgers and Liam Markham forced Hersey to give up the ball at the 32 with 1:31 to play.
"We had some chances to score when we were in the red zone early in the game," said Goldsberry. "They brought a lot of pressure. They made a lot of open field plays on us."
"Lincoln-Way's defense did a great job keeping our offense off the field," said Pardun. "They got extra yards on their first- and second-down plays. They were able to convert and make the plays.
"I am very proud of this team and what they accomplished," said Pardun of his outright Mid-Suburban East championship group. "There was no quit in us today. This team was part of our building. Now our juniors and the sophomores need to continue what we started."