Morrison football ends season with 38-6 win over E-P

Beau Troutman, Clinton Herald, Iowa
·5 min read

Apr. 17—PROPHETSTOWN — Morrison senior captain Tyson Smith said it best.

The next time any of the current Mustang seniors arrive for a football game, there will be a price for entry.

So in the last free game of their lives, they made sure they got their money's worth.

"We've been playing tackle football since we were eight, nine years old," Smith said. "It's the last time we're going to ever put on a Morrison uniform, step off the field and we're never going to be able to go to our home field again without buying a ticket.

"It was good to go out with a bang. We didn't have the season we hoped for, but we went out on a good note and I couldn't have painted a better picture with my brothers."

Morrison defeated Erie-Prophetstown 38-6 Friday night in the team's final game of the COVID-19-shortened Spring season, finishing with a 2-3 record.

"We let the past be the past and we talked about having one last ride," Morrison coach Ryan Oetting said. "We played a five-game schedule this year, we have five seniors and we talked about embracing the week, embracing the moment, but don't let it be bigger than what it is and enjoy yourself out here.

"Outside of maybe the first drive down the field, I think they did that. We did certainly enjoy that last ride. I talked to the kids — you never know when the last time you're going to get to play, never know the last time you're going to get to coach, never know the last time things are going to happen for you or if you're going to be around the same group of guys."

Quarterback Nate Helms, a senior captain, said the time seemed to drag going through school, but looking back, it all went by too fast.

"I played with them for eight years," Helms said. "It felt like an eternity. I look back on it now and it's like, 'Wow. Holy crap. It's done.' I'm going to miss it and at least we got to go out with a good game."

The Mustangs suffered a tough loss to rival Fulton last week and the team made it a point to not let that game dictate how they finished.

"We did not want to go out on the same side of the scoreboard as we did last week," Helms said. "Not just the scoreboard, too — we came into practice and we had a fun, relaxed week. We came in tonight and everybody wanted it. We played hard and with a lot of effort."

The moment was still sinking in for senior captain T.C. Ottens .

"It's crazy," Ottens said. "It just feels weird when your last game's here with your brothers. It's just a crazy feeling."

Oetting praised his team for rolling through a strange year filled with stoppages, uncertainty and confusion.

"You've got to give them a lot of credit," Oetting said. "It's a lot of resolve to have your season moved. We stopped and started practice, we handed out some equipment, we took it back in — everything was in limbo. For everything that happened, they did a great job. I can't complain — they were always responsive."

Through Erie-Prophetstown struck first with a one-yard touchdown run a little over three minutes into the game, it'd be all Mustangs after that.

In the second quarter, Helms hit Trey Strating for a 27-yard TD pass down the left sideline, which was set up by a 45-yard run by Thomas Dauphin a few plays earlier.

The Mustangs struck again just 15 seconds before halftime, as Helms hit Gauge Richmond for a touchdown pass down the left side, giving Morrison a 14-6 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, Morrison got two short TD runs from Justice Brainerd to go up 30-6.

"I've got to thank my line for that," Brainerd said. "They blew holes open for me as wide as they could get. They worked their butts off, they work hard in practice — we all do. We all just come together and it's fun to play out here with them. I'm going to miss all of our seniors this year."

Morrison's Alex Anderson scored on a 33-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the final score of the game.

Oetting credited the team for rebounding and making some crucial fourth-down stops on defense.

"They came up big," Oetting said. "They struggled last week and everyone in the world saw that, and I didn't have them prepared. I feel we had them a little bit better prepared this week. The staff worked harder and it showed, certainly on some of those fourth down stops deep."

Smith said it was never a question if the Mustangs would rebound — it's in their DNA.

"You know when they say, 'When the going gets tough, the tough get tougher?'" Smith said. "I believe that's what we came out and did. We just came off of getting whooped and hey, there's nothing you can do about that. You've got to forget about it, have a short memory and just move on and play the best football you can — especially on your last night."