His team’s 14-8 escape against Morse barely minutes old, Christian coach Matt Oliver stood at the Tigers’ midfield, shook his head and uttered one word.
It was a sigh of relief. Christian came in averaging 36.8 points, but with less than eight minutes to play the Patriots had yet to score and trailed 8-0. They had suffered four turnovers.
But a high school football game lasts 48 minutes, and the Patriots proved to be excellent closers. A Justin Roehl interception set up Christian’s first TD, a 2-yard keeper by quarterback Owen Easley with 7:14 to play. Easley’s 2-point conversion tied the game
Christian’s defense forced a punt on the ensuing series and Javier Jimenez took over. Two Jimenez bursts covered 60 yards to the 2. With 3:39 to play, Easley again barreled in on a QB keeper.
The 11th-ranked Patriots improved to 7-0, 2-0 in the Eastern League. This win was delivered by the defense.
“I feel our defense is underrated,” said Roehl. “We’re a brotherhood, and we’ve got each other’s back.”
Morse (4-3, 1-1) rushed for 608 yards last week vs. La Jolla. The Tigers’ numbers Friday night: 50 carries, 165 yards.
“We hit, we carried out our assignments, we made the stops when we had to,” said Oliver.
Morse recovered an onside kick to open the game, then marched 44 yards for a touchdown. Eight more times, Morse advanced into Christian territory but came away with zero points.
“It shows we can pick up the other side when the offense needs us,” said Roehl.
Jimenez finished with 152 yards on 16 carries.
“There are going to be some games when you have less than your ‘A’ game,” said Jimenez. “But a win is a win.”
Norcross is a freelance writer.
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