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Reserves shine despite Friday loss to Kaneland

MORRIS – One of the facts of life for a football team is that injuries are going to happen.

The Morris football team suffered a few injuries in Friday night’s 20-14 loss to Kaneland on Friday night, but coach Alan Thorson wasn’t going to blame them for the result.

In fact, the players who took over for those who were injured performed admirably, especially considering they were not coming into the game under the best of circumstances.

When Payton Voitik injured his ankle on a pass play in the third quarter, Jacob Overbeck came on to take his place as both a wide receiver and a defensive back. Kaneland’s Jack Douglas had passed for 267 yards in the first half alone, so the defensive back position was an especially tough spot.

Overbeck responded well. In the fourth quarter, he broke up a Douglas pass in the end zone on third down. However, there was a Kaneland holding penalty on the play, backing the Knights up to the 40-yard line. On the next play, Douglas again tried to go Overbeck’s way and this time he made an even bigger play.

Overbeck stepped in front of Douglas’ pass and intercepted it at the Redskins’ 15-yard line. He took up the sideline, got some good blocking and cut back inside near the Kaneland 20 before outrunning the rest of the Knights for an 85-yard touchdown that pulled Morris to within 20-14 with 9:12 to play.

“Jacob is a good athlete,” Thorson said. “He got quite a bit of playing time earlier in the year, so we really don’t lose a lot when he’s in there. We know he will do a good job at both defensive back and receiver.”

Meanwhile, Morris starting quarterback Mitchell Mayberry had been injured while being sacked by the Kaneland defense, and sophomore Zach Reddinger was pressed into duty. He took over behind center after the Morris defense forced a Kaneland punt and the Redskins took over possession at their own 45 with 7:42 to play.

After an inauspicious start in which he dropped the snap on first down, resulting in a loss of five yards, the left-handed Reddinger rolled to his right and hit Tyler Spiezio on the sideline for a 16-yard gain and a first down at the Kaneland 44.

On the next play, Reddinger kept the ball and ran for a big gain near the Knights’ 20. Unfortunately, there was an illegal shift call against the Redskins that negated the play, and put them in a first-and-15 situation.

Reddinger dropped back and threw again, this time hitting his receiver right in the numbers, only to have the ball dropped. On Morris’ final drive, he threw three incomplete passes, but he earned praise from his coach.

“For Zach to come in like he did, having had no reps with the varsity before, he did a great job,” Thorson said. “He did everything we could have asked of him. He showed a lot of composure going in there in the spot he did and performing like he did.”

Mayberry suffered a broken collarbone and, according to Thorson, will miss three to five weeks. Voitik, meanwhile, suffered the same injury he had in Week 3 against Quincy Notre Dame, and he missed the next two games.

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