Valley discovers new playmaker in win over Ford City
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After Valley lost its second game in a row and fell to fourth place in the Allegheny Conference last week, junior Adrian Morris began to experience guilt.
Morris, a transfer from Gateway, took over at quarterback after the Vikings lost senior standout Ty Matthews, who dislocated his shoulder early in a Week 7 loss. Morris placed the responsibility on himself to right the team in Week 8 but came away disappointed.
On Friday, the Vikings (6-3, 5-3) found a revival leader in Morris, whose early playmaking sparked a 55-0 blowout of visiting Ford City (3-6, 2-6).
With the victory, Valley put itself in position to take third in the conference; Summit Academy must lose to Freeport Saturday.
Morris, a converted wide receiver/defensive back, completed 6 of 10 pass attempts for 122 yards and two touchdowns, and he gained 157 yards and scored twice on nine rushes.
“I had to bounce back, because I had a bad game at Summit (in Week 7),” Morris said. “I was holding a grudge on myself. Summit, I was very nervous. I fumbled a couple times, and I threw a pick-six. I really had to bounce back, and this was the game.”
He capped Valley's first possession with a 22-yard touchdown run and added a 68-yard jaunt midway through the third quarter to make it 42-0. Sandwiched between those scores, he twice connected with sophomore wide receiver D'Aundre Johnson for touchdowns.
“It was a nice confidence builder for him going into the playoffs,” Valley coach Chad Walsh said. “We worked a lot with him this week on his reads, and he's exciting when he runs the ball, so it's one more weapon that someone has to defend.”
Johnson, who finished with four receptions for 105 yards, pulled in a 40-yard score down the right seam with 5:50 left in the second quarter. Then early in the third quarter, he won a 39-yard jump ball over three Ford City defenders in the end zone.
Though appreciative of his wide receiver's talents, Morris heaped most of his praise on his linemen, who gave him plenty of room to run or time to throw.
“They gave me 20 seconds to pass the ball,” Morris said. “I've got wonderful receivers to throw to, so I was just very confident throwing the ball.”
Ford City, which dressed just 18 players, finished with 107 yards of offense. The Sabers came closest to scoring during the game's final drive as they reached Valley's 32-yard line.
Sophomore quarterback Anthony Falsetti again filled in for junior Michael Bartosiewicz, who missed the game with mononucleosis. Falsetti completed 5 of 9 attempts for 57 yards.
Senior August Mantini led Ford City's Wing-T ground attack with 31 yards on seven carries.
“We've just had a strange year between appendixes, bronchitis, concussions, ineligibilities,” Ford City coach John Bartolovic said. “I think we had eight starters out tonight. When we started the year, we were decent … but you can't play like this. We basically had a JV team tonight, and it's tough to finish like that.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.
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