McIntosh matches last season's win total, downs Northside, Columbus 24-7

Fri, 09/19/2008 - 11:08pm
By: Kevin Wandra

Freshman quarterback Brennan Morgan probably never could have imagined that he would make much of an impact in his first year of playing football at the high school level.

That was before McIntosh’s starting quarterback, Cam Porter, suffered bruised ribs last week against Lithia Springs and sat out the Chiefs’ game Friday against the Northside, Columbus Patriots, forcing Morgan into the starting lineup.

Morgan failed to throw a touchdown pass, but he exceeded expectations in his first career varsity start, and McIntosh’s special teams and defense made a considerable difference in its second victory of the season, 24-7 over Northside, Columbus in front of a sellout crowd on Homecoming Night in Peachtree City.

Under new coach Glenn Griffin, McIntosh (2-2) already has matched last season’s win total (two) just four weeks into this season.

Morgan (7-of-14, 97 yards) shook off freshman jitters and filled in admirably for Porter, directing McIntosh’s offense to two touchdowns, to help make McIntosh’s win possible.

“He was scared to death, I’m sure, like any freshman would be, but he did what he had to do,” Griffin said of Morgan. “Obviously, we are very critical of all of our kids. He missed some reads. But in terms of being a freshman quarterback out here, it’s really big.

“I think it’s going to make him have a lot of confidence. We hope to have Cam back next week, but we feel if Cam’s not ready now, we’ve got Brennan in there ... and we look good at that position hopefully for a few years.”

The Chiefs played their most complete game of the season, excelling in all three aspects of the game; in addition to its productive offensive output, McIntosh’s special teams scored 10 points, and its defense forced three turnovers, the first of which set up McIntosh’s first touchdown, and didn’t allow any points until late in the fourth quarter.

Morgan got McIntosh off to a rough start, throwing an interception to Northside, Columbus cornerback Mario Green on the opening drive.

McIntosh’s Bradley Larson erased Morgan’s mistake on the next play, leaping high to snag a pass by Patriots quarterback Aaron Kelly down the right sideline in McIntosh territory and returning it 25 yards to the Patriots’ 39-yard line.

Larson’s interception led to a 4-yard touchdown run by shifty running back Daiyaan Epps eight plays later.

It was Epps’ fourth consecutive carry on the drive. He had 87 yards rushing on 13 carries.

The touchdown would have never occurred if not for an aggressive play call by Griffin, who decided to eschew a field-goal attempt and go for it on fourth-and-inches from the Patriots’ 30. His faith in his offense paid off, with Morgan driving his legs forward to barely pick up the first down before he was driven backward by a host of Patriots.

“Momentum-wise, that was a huge play,” Griffin said.

Daniel Price made the special teams play of the night for the Chiefs in the second quarter, blocking a punt by the Patriots’ Preston Bray without even leaving his feet, scooping up the ball and returning it 25 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0.

Morgan was at his best on a late second-quarter drive on which he completed passes of 24 and 18 yards to Larson (four catches, 85 yards) on back-to-back plays. The potent Morgan-Larson connection helped the Chiefs tack on more points, on a 44-yard field goal by Matt Mateos.

Griffin lauded the play of his team’s special teams.

“We try to spend a lot of time [working] on special teams,” Griffin said. “It hasn’t always evolved like you would like it to, but it did tonight. The blocked punt was huge, and the field goal was huge.”

The Morgan-Larson connection proved effective once again on the first series of the third quarter.

Facing a third-and-14, Morgan hit Larson over the middle for a 43-yard gain, setting up Darius Miliam’s 1-yard touchdown run on the next play that capped a nine-play, 65-yard drive.

It was perhaps the easiest run of the year for Miliam, who ran untouched into the end zone off left tackle.

Kelly ruined McIntosh’s shutout attempt with a 5-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

McIntosh's defense was led by linebacker Andrew Graham (18 total tackles) and defensive end Taylor Peaden (six total tackles, one fumble recovery).

login to post comments