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November 23, 2013

Specials teams and defense carries Morrison to second round playoff victory

MORRISON, Okla. — All season long, the Morrison Wildcats’ calling card has been their running game featuring sophomore quarterback Jordan Quinata and Scotty Van Dorn. Saturday at Dennis Casey Field, the Elmore City-Pernell Badgers kept Morrison’s running game under wraps but defense and special teams carried the Wildcats to a 24-0 victory.

“Put points on the board, however you can get them on there,” coach Cory Bales said. “They did a great job. Defensively, they were bigger on the line and controlled play up front. We made some passing plays. We got a kickoff return and a turnover.”

Senior Scotty Van Dorn returned a punt 30 yards in the first quarter, which set Morrison up to score the only points in the first half. Van Dorn finished the drive with a 5-yard run. In the third quarter, Jordan Quinata returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown to increase the Wildcats’ lead to 12-0. On the ensuing kickoff, junior Austin Hunsinger inadvertently squibbed the kick but Morrison recovered at the Badgers’ 45.

“I do that sometimes,” Hunsinger said. “But we found out what we needed to do in the second half and got it done.”

After an incompletion, Quinata completed a 38-yard pass to Tristan Garringer to set Morrison up with first-and-goal from the Elmore City seven. The sophomore quarterback finished the drive with a 1-yard run. Garringer came up big on special teams in the third quarter as he recovered a punt that hit off a Badger and gave Morrison a new set of downs. Morrison wouldn’t take advantage as they fumbled.

The Wildcats (11-1) only rushed for 67 yards on 23 carries. Quinata only rushed for 36 yards on 12 carries — most of those came on a 27-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Scotty VanDorn rushed for 31 yards on 12 carries. Quinata was able to make plays in the passing game, completing 7 of 13 passes for 89 yards. Garringer, who led the team in receiving with two receptions for 55 yards, said Quinata came up big throwing.

“We knew that we were going to have to pass it a little bit,” Garringer said. “Our quarterback made plays for us.”

The Wildcats’ defense also came up big as it only allowed Elmore City-Pernell to reach their territory three times. In the first quarter, the Badgers drove to the Morrison 23 before they turned it over on downs. In the third quarter Elmore City reached the Morrison 34 but turned it over on downs. At the end of the game, the Badgers reached the Morrison 18 but the drive stalled. Morrison also forced three punts.

“When you can get a shutout, you only have to score once,” Bales said. “They have been playing great and will continue to play great. We kind of live off them and put some drives together next week to put points on the board. It’s going to get harder and harder for us.”

The Wildcats return to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2010 and will travel to No. 1 Ringling or No. 5 Thomas Fay-Custer Friday.

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