OTTAWA – Since 1948, the Ottawa Pirates have played a homecoming football game.
On Friday night, the Class 4A No. 8-ranked Morris Redskins (3-2) rolled into town and jumped out to a 42-7 halftime lead, going on to beat the Pirates (0-5), 49-7 at King Field in a Northern Illinois Big 12 crossover game.
“Our goal coming in was to be balanced offensively,” Morris coach Alan Thorsen said. “That gave us some confidence coming off of a big loss last week. We wanted to establish the running game and get our backs going, and I thought Chatten Dryfhout ran extremely well.
At the same time, we have a good quarterback in Mitch Mayberry, and it was time to turn him loose, and we did and he made some nice throws.”
Morris got on the scoreboard on its first possession. After the Redskins’ defense forced a three-and-out, their offense went 59 yards on five plays, with Dryfhout going the last 5 yards to make it 6-0. Earlier in the drive, Drfyhout had a 38-yard run that took the ball to the Ottawa 9.
Morris then went to the air, with Mitchell Mayberry connecting to 6-foot-2 junior tight end Zach Reddinger on a 26-yard scoring strike to make it 14-0.
Morris then forced a fumble, and 65 yards on five plays later, the drive was capped with Dryfhout going the last 9 for a 21-0 Redskins lead with 2:26 left in the first quarter.
One bright spot for the Pirates came with 2:03 left to go in the first quarter, when sophomore quarterback Brett Galletti (8 for 21, 154 yards) hit Ben Lundy on a slant pattern, and Lundy was able to outrace the Morris defense into the end zone to make the score 21-7.
“Brett [Galletti] as a sophomore, we want him to make the right reads,” said Ottawa coach Chad Gross. “It’s not always going to end up as a completion for us. We want him at this point to make the right reads, and he did that tonight.
“Ben [Lundy] made a nice catch and made a nice move and was able to take it the distance.”
The Redskins came right back on the next drive with another Mayberry-to-Reddinger hook-up from 41 yards out to make the score 28-7 at the end of one.
A 25-yard touchdown pass from Mayberry to Reddinger, their third scoring connection of the contest, and a 2-yard run by Brandon Phelps gave the visitors a 42-7 lead heading into intermission.
The Redskins invoked the running clock with 8:27 left in the third quarter when Mayberry (6 of 7, 167 yards) threw his fourth touchdown pass to Jacob Overbeck. Dryfhout ended the night with 187 yards rushing on 10 carries. Reddinger caught five passes for 113 yards.
The Redskins defense shut down the Pirates rushing attack, as Ottawa carried the ball 25 times for minus-25 yards. Morris outgained Ottawa, 439-139.