BERWYN – Morton’s homecoming football game couldn’t have started much worse.
The Mustangs gave up a touchdown in five plays to Willowbrook and starting quarterback Emilio Engle got injured on Morton’s first possession. The Warriors’ dynamic offense put up big numbers again in a 49-19 win and Engle missed the rest of the game.
It wasn’t always a blowout though. Morton’s defense picked up a few stops and replacement quarterback Anthony Stanciu ran in a 13-yard touchdown to pull Morton within 14-7 at halftime.
Willowbrook (4-1, 2-0 West Suburban Gold) quickly turned the screws by scoring on its first four drives of the second half and turned a 21-13 lead into a 42-13 advantage.
Stanciu performed admirably with over 100 yards of total offense, but by moving from wide receiver to quarterback, the Mustangs (1-4, 1-2 WSG) lost a top receiver as well as Engle’s playmaking ability.
“He comes in and does some nice things,” said Morton coach Bob Organ. “He doesn’t get as many reps as Emilio does during the week, but we feel confident with him. He’s on the field all the time for us, playing defense, too. If Emilio can’t play he’s going to get more reps and it’s going to help him.”
Engle watched the second half in a sling after injuring his left hand. In his absence, running back Marlon Hester took center stage for the offense. Hester carried for 95 yards on 19 carries and scored a touchdown.
Hester is a key part of the Mustangs’ new-found, ball-control offense that is trying to improve the team’s time of possession.
“We’ve been trying to slow the game down and keep our defense off the field,” Organ said. “We kind of stumbled upon that prepping for Downers South and it’s something we’re just going to continue to go by. It’s a no-huddle, but it’s not the fast-paced no-huddle that [the Warriors] were doing.”
In Week 4 against Downers Grove South, the new style of offense helped Morton take a 14-0 lead into halftime, but for the second week in a row the Mustangs had a drop-off in the second half.
“The first half we started strong and then the second half we didn’t,” Hester said. “It’s hard to say what happened. Everybody had their heads right, but we just need to work on going strong both halves.”
Willowbrook 49, Morton 19
Morton leaders Passing: Anthony Stanciu 6-for-12, 57 yards, TD Rushing: Marlon Hester 19-95, TD; Stanciu 15-46, TD Receiving: Jamier Wheeler 3-26; Malik Lamothe 2-25, TD
Week 6: Morton at Addison Trail
When: 7:30 p.m. FridayWhere: 213 N. Lombard Rd., AddisonRecords: Morton 1-4 (1-2 WSG), Addison Trail 0-5 (0-3 WSG)Outlook: The Mustangs will be looking to get back on track after giving up 49 points to Willowbrook for homecoming. The Blazers have given up 38 points per game in their five defeats, which means a high-scoring game could be in store.