Last Friday, two high school football teams in two games combined to score 106 points.
This week, those teams meet. And the coach of one knows he’ll be in trouble if 106 points are scored today.
“Our kids know Morse can score from anywhere,” said Chris Miller, Patrick Henry coach. “We’ve got to play the best game at Patrick Henry since I’ve been the coach.”
Of course, Miller is only in his second year at the school, but his point is the same. If No. 9 Patrick Henry (5-1, 1-0) expects to win a key City Eastern League game at 3 this afternoon at No. 3 Morse (5-1, 1-0), the Patriots will have to play nearly flawless football.
Patrick Henry won its league opener Friday, a solid 35-13 victory over Madison. Morse scored early and often in a 71-19 rout of Serra. In 6 games this year, Patrick Henry is scoring an average of 24.4 points and allowing 14.4. Morse is scoring 38 points a game and allowing 11.3.
“I think Morse is better than they were last year,” Miller said.
Last year’s team lost to Point Loma in the San Diego Section 3-A championship game, 16-14. But according to no less an authority than Morse Coach John Shacklett, Miller might be right.
“I told our kids earlier this year that I think they can be one of the better clubs we’ve ever had here,” Shacklett said. “I still think that.”
With that in mind, Miller outlined a couple of keys for his team:
“Our offense has to be on the field to keep their offense off the field,” Miller said. “And our defense has to make the tackles. We’ll get one chance to tackle them. If we miss that tackle, they’ll be gone.”
In particular, Patrick Henry will be paying attention to Morse running back Jessie Campbell (740 yards and 11 touchdowns in 6 games) and tight end/defensive end Ty Morrison. Campbell ran for 254 yards and 5 touchdowns against Serra, and Morrison is a tough two-way player.
“Those are the two who scare us the most,” Miller said. “But they have a bunch of great athletes.”
Campbell has been stronger this fall than even Shacklett expected.
“I wanted Jessie to do the things he’s doing, but I didn’t know if he could,” Shacklett said. “He’s a much better inside runner than I anticipated. His vision is getting better--he’s setting up his blockers. Good runners have to run in a crowd, and he does that well.”
Morse’s offense has been maturing right along with Campbell. Shacklett was especially happy with the execution against Serra--especially quickness off the snap.
“Until last week, I had walked away from every game figuring we could have scored more points,” Shacklett said. “We were able to perform at a level we haven’t performed at all year last week.”