MORRIS — Morris football coach Alan Thorson said after last Friday's 48-33 loss to Coal City that he would have been happy if someone had told him his team would score 33 points.
What he didn't count on was the other team scoring twice on interception returns and once on a kickoff return. Those are the sorts of things that turn a 393-300 advantage in total yards, which the Redskins had, into losses. Throw on seven penalties for 70 yards and there is plenty of room for improvement heading into this Friday night's game at Manteno, a team that Morris will be playing for the first time. Manteno dropped a 47-32 decision to Canton in Week 1.
"We don't know a lot about Manteno, since it's the first time we are playing them," Thorson said. "From what we have seen on film, they are not afraid to throw the ball. They have a balanced offense. Their running back [Davey Wurster] is a good athlete with good speed and they like to use him, but they have no problem calling play-action passes, either. Their quarterback [[Caleb Borkenhagen] has a good arm and they have a big offensive line.
"They did some things pretty well in their first game. We are going to have to be better defensively, especially against the run."
Morris' offense will counter with the double threat of quarterback Zach Reddinger, who ran for 128 yards and threw for 118 in the loss to Coal City. He scored one TD on the ground and threw two more, both to Cole Laurie, who caught six of Reddinger's 12 completions for 56 yards. Running back Brandon Phelps also topped the 100-yard mark, going for 104 yards and scoring two touchdowns on 22 carries.
"We did about what we wanted to offensively in our first game," Thorson said. "We have to clean up the turnovers and penalties, though. But putting up almost 400 yards of offense and having two players run for more than 100 yards, that was the kind of offense we want. The offensive line is pretty young, but they did a good job."
Thorson hopes that the loss to Coal City will put an extra chip on his team's shoulder.
"It's going to be a big test for us, especially being a younger team, to see how we respond to our last game," he said. "I would hope they would be angry about it.
"There was a lot of positive stuff to build off of, but there is a lot that we need to fix, too. The main thing is that we have to be more consistent."