Football: Morton cruises past Highland to win fourth straight sectional title
By Tommy Williams Post-Tribune correspondent November 2, 2012 11:32PM
Morton's Jimmy Glidewell celebrates his team scoring a touchdown against Highland, making the score fourteen to zero in the second quarter during the sectional finals game held at Morton High School in Hammond on Friday November 2, 2012. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 4, 2012 6:14AM
HAMMOND — It still takes a little getting used to, doesn’t it?
Morton won three straight sectional titles thanks to a high scoring air game, but for the second straight sectional game, it was the damage they did on the ground that helped the Governors make it four straight sectionals.
After running up 408 yards rushing in their second-round win over East Chicago last week, the Governors did even better this week.
The Governors rolled to 531 rush yards — which may be a season-high across Northwest Indiana — in a 34-0 win over Highland.
Not exactly the way Morton coach Roydon Richards likes to go about his business offensively.
But after picking up his 100th career coaching victory at Morton, and clinching a regional game at Mishawaka next Friday, he’ll get over it.
“It’s not something I love; I like keeping the other team off balance,” Richards said.
“But one day I asked myself, ‘why am I forcing them to be good at what I want them to be good at.’ And they’re darn good at running the ball.”
You’ll get no argument from Highland, who will also throw a few compliments at the Governors’ defense, which shut them out for the second time this season.
But it was a special teams play that actually turned things around in this one.
With the Governors already leading 7-0, Morton’s Alfredo Gutierrez’s late second quarter punt penned Highland back at their own one yard line.
After a three-and-out possession, Morton got the ball back with a short field to work with.
The Govs took advantage of with Eleazar Henderson scoring the first of his two touchdowns from one yard out to give the Governors a 14-0 lead.
That momentum carried the Governors to another touchdown on the first possession of the third quarter with Torey Armstrong scoring on a 28-yard knockout punch run to make it 21-0.
“We played hard today,” said Henderson, who also scored in the third quarter on a on-yard plunge.
“Our whole offensive line, I have to give heads up to all of them. They were great today. Coach Richards said to have fun tonight and we did.”
It wasn’t so fun for Highland, who was looking for their first regional appearance since 1987. But first-year coach Trent Grider has another way of looking at it.
After all, Highland had won only five games in the previous five seasons, but the Trojans reached the sectional final this season with a 3-8 record.
“You don’t like losing your last game, but there are only five teams that get to win their last game,” Grider said.
“What I do like is the emotion my kids are showing. I told them not to forget the feeling they’re having right now. I’m proud that we got these kids to that point, that we have to go another step.”
Morton understands that problem all too well, having to overcome a 2-4 start to the campaign. The Governors also dealt with having four players being suspended before the Sept. 21 loss to Hammond before embarking on their now five-game winning streak leading to yet another sectional crown.
“I told the kids to not (have a) mutiny and not finger-point and call on the seniors to recall all the big games they were in,” Richards said.
“Those are great speeches, but that doesn’t mean it works. To their credit, they bought it.”