September 20, 2011

Video: Morris leads Pilots to victory

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. - In the Catholic League opener for both teams, Warren De La Salle knocked off Brother Rice in an overtime thriller that was decided on a missed extra point. Junior Warren (Mich.) De La Salle quarterback Shane Morris, a Michigan commitment, scored one touchdown passing and one on the ground in the win.

The teams traded blows throughout regulation, with the Warriors having more success moving the ball. However, Brother Rice was plagued by a handful of costly penalties, and couldn't punch in any scores, despite more consistent offense.

With two seconds left on the clock and the score knotted at 14, Brother Rice lined up for a chip shot field goal to end the game. Warren De La Salle took a timeout to ice the kicker, and the strategy paid off. Kicker Andrew Toth missed the field goal, and the game was sent to overtime.

The Warriors started with the ball, and were on top 20-14 in a matter of seconds. However, the crucial extra point was blocked by the Pilots. On De La Salle's drive in overtime, Shane Morris kept the ball on three consecutive plays, scoring the game-tying touchdown on a one-yard quarterback sneak. The extra point went through the uprights, and the Pilots clinched the win.


Like last week's performance by Shane Morris, he did not have his best day passing the ball. He completed 6/16 passes for 56 yard with one touchdown and one interception. However, he showed off the ability to move the chains with his legs, running 13 times for 25 yards and a score. He also fumbled three times, losing one.

It's clear that Morris's offensive line has trouble protecting him against the best competition that De La Salle faces, and when he's under pressure, his mechanics start to suffer. His launch angle was inconsistent at times, and he made a few... improvisations... that were not remotely resembling the best form. Morris is a young player, so his mechanics and consistency - which have been excellent in camp settings - will improve as he matures.

His receivers also didn't do him many favors. There were at least four or five catchable balls dropped, including touchdown catches that should be made on back-to-back plays. His lone interception also went straight through the hands of one of his receivers. While he could place the ball in better locations at times, they need to make most of those catches.

Morris had one great rushing play last time we saw him, and showed off much more of that this week. Though his rushing average was below 2 yards per attempt, that was also harmed by a snap that went over his head for a nine-yard loss (which could be credited to the team, not Morris), and the amount of QB pressure he faced.

Going forward, maintaining consistent mechanics - even under pressure - and improving his pocket presence are the two primary areas for improvement in Morris's game. If his protection and receiving corps can make progress over the course of the season, his numbers should improve dramatically.

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