Morris rallies, tops Washington in overtime
By Lonnie Schwindenhammer For Sun-Times Media November 10, 2012 9:38PM
Washington's Austin Strong falls to the field while Morris players celebrate an extra point kick after scoring a touchdown in overtime to beat the Panthers, 28-27 in Saturday's Class 5A quarterfinal playoff game at Washington. | Ron Johnson~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 10, 2012 11:10PM
WASHINGTON, Ill. — Morris rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter and Fernando Del Toro’s extra-point kick in overtime made the difference in a 28-27 victory over Washington Saturday in a Class 5A state quarterfinal.
The snap from Indiana-bound Danny Friend and Kyle Hill’s hold were both true and Del Toro’s fourth PAT kick sent Morris (11-1) into the state semifinals, at home against Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin (11-1).
“I’ve had some high-pressure kicks before but none bigger than that,” Del Toro said.
Morris faced a situation it hadn’t been in all season, down 14 points to start the fourth quarter. Two touchdowns in 49 seconds erased the deficit.
Senior quarterback Zach Cinnamon eluded a Washington defender in the backfield and slipped down the Redskins sideline for a 19-yard TD run, and Del Toro’s kick brought Morris to within 21-14 with 10:55 in the fourth.
Washington was pinned deep after the kickoff, and on second down quarterback Luke Ludolph was stripped of the ball. Morris tackle Craig Claire fell on it, setting up the Redskins with a first-and-goal at the 2.
“Somebody ripped it out and it fell right at my feet,” Claire said. “I thought about picking it up but it was a crucial situation so I just fell on it.”
One play later, Collin Grogan ran around left end for a 2-yard touchdown and Del Toro’s kick knotted the game at 21.
Washington (9-3) took the lead on the first OT possession on Ludolph’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Wright. The snap on the extra-point attempt was low and second-string kicker Chris Friend’s kick was blocked at the line.
On Morris’ first OT possession, from the 10, Reese Sobol ran nine yards around right end. One play later, Cinnamon followed center Preston Miracle, and got help from fullback Grogan on a 1-yard touchdown run that pulled Morris even and led to the winning PAT.
“I stuck it in there and Collin pushed me across,” Cinnamon said.
Cinnamon led Morris with 59 yards rushing. Washington out-rushed Morris 183-166.
“We’re a running team, a physical team and our kids like to hit,” Morris coach Alan Thorson said. “Washington was physical and hit right with us for four quarters and a little extra. That’s a good team we beat (Saturday).”
Sobol rushed for 54 yards on 15 carries. His 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter helped send Morris into intermission leading 7-6.
Washington scored twice in the third, on a 10-yard pass from Ludolph to Brent Brown and on Austin Harrell’s 1-yard run. Chris Friend’s extra-point kick on the latter put Washington up 21-7 with 4:55 to play in the third quarter.
“I don’t remember being down 14 points all season,” Thorson said. “Our kids showed a lot of character coming back like that.”
Ludolph’s 10-yard TD pass to Hayden Bodine in the first quarter had given Washington a 6-0 lead.
Washington’s loss was its third in the quarterfinals in the past four seasons.
“Our kids busted their butts for four-plus quarters against one of the best teams in the state,” Washington coach Darrell Crouch said. “It came down to a couple of plays; a bounce here or there.”