East freshmen close season on winning note, drop South Doyle
As it says in the good book, it’s not how you start, but how you finish.
Morristown East’s Isaiah Griffin (36) finds his way into the end zone against a South Doyle defender to score one of his three touchdowns during Monday’s freshman football game at Burke-Toney Stadium. East won 25-12.
On Monday night at Burke-Toney Stadium, the Morristown East High freshmen ended their stressful season with their second victory of the year in an impressive 25-12 win over South Doyle.
Coach Josh Bible’s squad finally clicked on all cylinders and Isaiah Griffin did the damage offensively with three offensive touchdowns in the win over the visiting Cherokees.
After a frustrating season, Bible said he was proud that his group ended the season on a high note against feisty South-Doyle team.
“This team started the season with a wide-eyed look that most freshmen teams have, but they have continued to grow each and every day,” said Bible. “I feel as if this team has not reached its potential yet. There is tons of talent and athleticism on this team, and hopefully they will blossom.”
Early on, South Doyle worked most of the first quarter clock and dented the scoreboard halfway into the stanza. Devante Gunter took a handoff from quarterback Jake Harper and raced 31 yards for the first score of the night at the 5:01 mark. After the score, the extra-point attempt failed.
On Morristown East’s first possession, they appeared to be putting together a scoring drive, but the South Doyle defense stripped Morristown East running back D.J. Hodges of the ball on their own 40 yard line to stop the drive. Hodges had moved the ball into Cherokees’ territory with back-to-back long runs.
The momentum stayed on Morristown East’s side however, as they forced a three and out. On the punt attempt by South Doyle, the snap sailed past the punter leaving the ball in excellent field position. After the errant snap landed, the Hurricanes had the ball at the 15-yard line just seconds from the end of the first quarter.
On the opening play of the second quarter, Griffin broke the shutout for the Hurricanes with a score from 11 yards away. The extra-point attempt failed to keep the score tied at 6 with 9:53 left.
Later in the half, Griffin proved to be a thorn in the side again of South Doyle with his second score of the night. Griffin crossed the goal line after the Hurricanes converted a fourth down play with 3:12 remaining. Once again, the extra-point attempt failed, keeping the score tight at 12-6.
The lead did not last long, as Harper sailed a deep pass over the Morristown East secondary. Harper found Dylan Cameron on a 65-yard touchdown pass. After the touchdown, the extra-point failed, tying the game at 12 with 1:17 left until halftime.
The Hurricanes responded with their two minute offense, and quarterback Dylan Noe led the charge. Noe found Jesse Tipton for a 20-yard gain to set up first and 10 at the 25 with 50 seconds left.
Noe followed suit with back-to-back quarterback keepers to move the ball to the 9-yard line with 20 seconds remaining. Noe’s running ability set up a throwing touchdown on the next play. The elusive quarterback used his arm and found Tipton on a slant over the middle to up their lead to 18-12 with 12 seconds left.
South Doyle made things interesting with a phantom touchdown before the half ended on a trick play, but they were penalized on a forward pass. The half ended with Morristown East holding the slim 18-12 lead.
Bible said he challenged the team to finish the season with pressure and passion.
“I told the team at halftime that they could win this game, but they had to give it all they had,” added Bible. “For this team, there is no tomorrow, so we had to finish strong to end the season with a win. Overall, I thought we had a lot of different players step up tonight and do a great job.”
In the second half, Morristown East opened the third quarter with a drive that milked five minutes off of the game clock. Noe once again used his legs and arm to lead the scoring drive. Noe found Daniel Carmichael on a reception to keep the drive alive before Griffin pushed the ball into the end zone with 5:14 left in the quarter. The Hurricanes added a successful kick by Jon Koogler, which proved to be the final points of the game.
-By Chris Ayers, Assistant Sports Editor