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Morris set for annual clash with DeKalb

Redskins hope for big road win

MORRIS — After beating Ottawa, 49-7, last week, Morris football coach Alan Thorson hopes his team can keep that momentum going Friday night when the Redskins visit DeKalb. However, he knows it won't be easy, as the Barbs have lately been a thorn in Morris' side.

"Last week was a good win for us," Thorson said. "It was a nice confidence builder for our team, and it was good to get some of our scout team guys in there. They work just as hard as everybody else in practice, so it was good to get them in a game and see them have some success.

"DeKalb is a well-coached team. [DeKalb coach] Matt {Weckler] has done a great job since he's been there. I know they lost last week, but I don't expect a down game from them. They will be motivated, especially since we beat them last year."

DeKalb dropped a 21-20 decision to Kaneland last week. That, coupled with previously unbeaten Yorkville's overtime loss to Sycamore, bunched up the Northern Illinois Big 12 East standings. DeKalb, Sycamore and Kaneland are all 1-1 in the conference, while Kaneland is 1-0 and Morris is 0-1. The Redskins face DeKalb, Sycamore and Kaneland in the next three weeks before finishing with a NIB 12 crossover game against LaSalle-Peru.

"This whole conference is wide open for everyone right now," Thorson said. "Any team can take control if they get hot and win a few in a row. This is a big week for the whole conference."

Thorson expects DeKalb's offense to be balanced, as sophomore quarterback Trenton Kyler and senior running back Jalyen Hobson are the two main threats.

"Their quarterback is very athletic," Thorson said. "He runs the zone read well and he has a good arm for a sophomore. And Hobson is back from last year, so we know what he can do. They like to run the ball, but they aren't afraid to throw it. We have to play very disciplined football and stick to our assignments on defense.

"Their defense is always very fast and aggressive, too."

Thorson noted that Barb linebacker Keegan Smith has committed to play at Air Force, and that the Barbs are a tough foe on their own field.

"It's never easy up there, or anywhere on the road in our conference," he said. "They have a turf field and it's an adjustment. They might not have an individual talent like they've had in the past like Dre Brown or Cole Tucker, but they have a lot of good athletes.

"We have to keep our mistakes to a minimun and play clean football. We can't have turnovers or missed assignments. DeKalb is too good for us to get away with those."

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