Special teams help Morris win at Antioch
Sam Reddinger changed everything.
Friday night at Antioch, Morris was locked in a defensive struggle against the Sequoits, with Payton Holmes of Antioch and Vaughn Mills of the visitors each making big plays early on defense.
Then, near the end of the first quarter, Reddinger, a Morris senior linebacker, stepped up on special teams.
Reddinger blocked a Sequoits punt, picked up the loose ball and raced 25 yards for a touchdown, leading his team to a 7-0 lead en route to a 31-14 win.
"We worked on the block all week in practice," said Reddinger, "but actually on the play, I thought they (the sideline) called a punt block, but they didn't. So I just went and I got it."
"It felt good," added Reddinger of the block, scoop and score. "In practice it works every time, so I knew if I got the right chance in a game, something good would happen."
Antioch kept things close in the first half, but an outstanding second half defensive effort by senior defensive end Gage Phillips and the rest of the Morris team locked down the victory.
"I thought at the line of scrimmage Morris did a really good job tonight," said Sequoits coach Brian Glashagel. "That's basically an 8A offensive line and they were able to wear us down as the game went on."
"We were able to hang in early, we were playing fast, but they were just grinding, and when you're grinding and grinding and pounding and pounding, those two or three yard gains in the first half are turning into five or six yard gains in the second half."
Morris took a 21-14 lead into intermission. They got two more scores in the first two quarters, on two Carter Button TD passes -- one to AJ Zweeres (24 yards) and another to Will Knapp (37 yards).
Antioch countered with a 1-yard touchdown run by Aiden Lennon and an 88-yard kickoff return for a score from Martin Cohen.
Morris kept the home team off the scoreboard in the final two stanzas, while a 24-yard field goal from Esteban CiFuentes, and another TD catch by Zweeres accounted for the final score.
After the game, Reddinger talked about how difficult it is to take a long distance drive and face a quality opponent, and come away with a win.
"It's super tough," he said. "We have a two-hour bus ride on a school day, get off the bus, and get ready to go with little turnaround. It's tough, but we came out and performed like we should."