DOWNERS GROVE – Morton’s football team turned in an impassioned performance but could not net its first road win of the season Friday.
Although quarterback Emilio Engle led the Mustangs’ offense to a 14-0 halftime lead, Morton could not hold on, losing, 21-14, to West Suburban Gold foe Downers Grove South.
Morton (1-3, 0-2 West Suburban Gold) came out of the starting gates on fire with an eight-minute, 80-yard drive on the game’s first possession, which ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Engle to receiver Keandre Townes.
Coach Bob Organ called the marathon possession “textbook,” explaining that it swung the early momentum in the Mustangs’ favor.
“Coming in, we wanted to keep the ball away from their athletes,” Organ said. “Downers has a good football program, and our goal was to keep their offense on the bench. Our first drive was textbook – the perfect start and something we practiced all week.”
In the second quarter, after the Morton defense stripped the ball from Downers running back Alec Arvanitakis on the South 25 yard line, Engle needed just three plays before taking a quarterback draw 72 yards up the sideline and into the end zone.
“Defensively, we were flying to the ball and tackling everything,” Organ said. “On offense, Emilio is a big playmaker; if they don’t contain him in the backfield, he finds a way to break off a long run.”
But the Mustangs did not make enough plays on either side of the ball in the second half, allowing Downers South the claw their way back and eventually snag a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter.
On the game’s final series, the Morton offense marched 57 yards down the field looking for the tying score, but could not convert on a fourth down play on the Downers Grove 13-yard line. It was a disappointing way to end a well-played game, but Organ said the sting of the loss won’t linger.
“We won’t hang our heads on this loss,” Organ said.
“We played hard in all aspects of the game.”
Morton hosts Willowbrook at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a West Suburban Gold Conference game.
Week 5: Morton vs. Willowbrook
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: 2400 Home Ave., Berwyn
Records: Morton 1-3 (1-1 WSG), Willowbrook 3-1 (1-0 WSG)
Outlook: Willowbrook has been the most impressive team in the West Suburban Gold so far this season and is on a three-game winning streak. The Warriors' offense, which is averaging 36.5 points per game, is led by prolific quarterback Brian Johnson and a slew of talented skill players. Morton is hoping to rebound from a close loss to Downers Grove South.