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Morris still the one for Capital

Chip Ellis
Capital quarterback Carrington Morris looks for an open receiver against Parkersburg in Friday night's Grid-o-rama.

It may have been a bit premature to write off Carrington Morris as Capital's quarterback.

Morris, a returning starter who - by some reports - was going to be supplanted by dynamic freshman Tyree Pratt under center, flashed some big-play skills Friday night during the Mountain State Athletic Conference Grid-o-rama at Laidley Field.

In a little more than one quarter against Parkersburg, Morris hit on all three of his passes for 96 yards, including two for touchdowns - a 63-yarder to Khalil Bush and a 20-yarder to James Richmond. Morris also broke off a 28-yard run.

In Capital's second scrimmage against George Washington, Morris again went 3 for 3 passing for 61 yards with another scoring toss, a 29-yarder to Kashaun Haley.

The Cougars prevailed 35-7 in their two-quarter workout with Parkersburg and later dropped a 20-12 decision to George Washington. Each of the three teams played a half against each other.

Ryan Switzer, GW's Kennedy Award-winning running back, didn't disappoint in either of his team's scrimmages.

During a 33-14 win over Parkersburg (which was 33-0 with the starting lineups on the field), Switzer carried four times for 136 yards and three TDs - plays of 70, 39 and 31 yards. Against Capital, he ran eight times for 55 yards and two scores, plays of 1 and 6 yards.

GW, however, knew what it had in Switzer, but Morris' performance was sort of a revelation for Capital.

His work against Parkersburg was part of a bevy of big gainers for the Cougars, who also got TD runs of 70 and 10 yards from Haley and a 32-yard interception return for a TD from Rashod Cunningham.

It all added up to a 35-7 lead for Capital's first string after one quarter, and the score remained that way after the backups played the second period.

"I was hoping we could do that,'' said Cougars coach Jon Carpenter. "We've got some guys who can run. We've seen them do it in practice a little bit, but to do it out there is exciting.''

Morris realizes he's in a battle for playing time with Pratt, who was a standout at Horace Mann Middle School.

"It's just a big competition,'' said Morris, who took over at midseason last year when senior QB Tyler McClaskie went out with a shoulder injury. "He's good competition for me. But I know I don't want to be on the sideline sitting down, so I make it hard for him.

"We were just connecting on everything tonight. We worked as a team to make sure we get the win.''

Pratt, who played some with the starting unit and some with the reserves, completed 2 of 4 passes for 21 yards and ran three times for 3 yards against Parkersburg. Most of his reps against GW came with reserves on the field, and he completed 2 of 3 passes for 50 yards and carried thrice for 44 yards, including a 24-yard TD.

Carpenter won't hesitate to use both Morris and Pratt at quarterback when the regular season starts Friday at Greenbrier East.

"Some people say if you've got two quarterbacks, it means you don't have any quarterbacks,'' Carpenter said. "We believe we have two quarterbacks - and two pretty good ones. Both are going to play.

"If anybody thought [Morris] wasn't any good, they made a mistake. He can play. We're going to play them both.''

GW, at times, looked as sharp as it did during last year's run to the Class AAA title game.

The Patriots' starters got three possessions in the first quarter against Capital, and the Cougars two. GW scored on all three of its drives, which by rule began at its own 30.

Returning QB Trevor Bell was 1 of 2 for 16 yards, finding fullback Dustin Crouser for a TD on a shovel pass. The bullish Crouser also ran three times for 37 yards.

About the only down note in the final scrimmage between rivals GW and Capital was some chippy play and a slew of personal-foul penalties. Play was halted by mutual consent with 3:35 left on the clock.

"The guys we have running on the front line did a good job,'' said Patriots coach Steve Edwards Jr. "I thought the timing was good today. We've still got a lot of things to work on, definitely have got a lot to work on. Overall, I thought we controlled ourselves pretty well. We didn't let the game take us over, and I'm proud of them about that. It's hard to do when your emotions are running, and Capital is really good and talented.

"You never know what's going to happen in these scrimmages, but I thought they played with intensity. I thought our second unit, the backup kids, got a lot of tape tonight and I saw a lot of things I really liked out there.''

For Parkersburg, running back Adam Lindamood carried 11 times for 70 yards against Capital and also caught a 23-yard TD pass from Aaron Roberts. Roberts completed 2 of 8 passes for 33 yards with an interception.

Parkersburg had three turnovers - all by starters - against Capital. The Big Reds added five more turnovers versus GW, three more by the starters.

Against GW, Roberts connected on 4 of 10 passes for 25 yards with an interception against the starters and wound up 5 of 12 for 38 yards. Lindamood was limited to 14 yards on four carries against the Patriots' first string and finished with six attempts for 59 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown run against GW's backups.

GW's other scores against the Big Reds came on an 18-yard shovel pass from Bell to Crouser and a 35-yard interception return by Jacob Jackson. Bell was 2 of 2 passing for 49 yards, both completions going to Crouser.

The other 12 MSAC teams compete in today's scrimmages, starting at 9:30 a.m. with St. Albans and Cabell Midland (see schedule, Page 2B).

Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickryan@wvgazette.com.

 


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