The Morton football team lost its first contest of the season 37-21 to non-conference opponent Columbia in the team’s home opener of under the Friday night lights.
The Potters loss extended their losing streak to 10 games dating back to last season.
Despite the final score, Morton was within three points of taking the lead after the third quarter, trailing 23-21.
“I was proud of the way our kids played,” first-year head coach Tim Brilley said. “We got behind early and fought right back. We didn’t show any quit. We just made too many mistakes, but I felt that these were all easy fixable things that we can really focus on in practice and take a huge step in the right direction this week.”
Columbia scored two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter to take a lead and hold on for the win in the end.
The Potters trailed most of the night, ending the first quarter down 13-0.
Morton got on the board early in the second quarter after a Nolan Donald 14-yard touchdown run.
Donald carried the Morton offense for most of the night, compiling 151 yards on the ground on 19 carries.
“He ran the ball well. Our offensive line did a good job of blocking and adjusting to seams,” Brilley said. “Neither team really knew each other coming in but both teams did a good job of making adjustments.”
The Potters offense came out hot in the third quarter, scoring on a 4-yard run by quarterback Tucker Anderson.
On the Potters following possession, Anderson converted his longest pass of the night to wide receiver Jarrett Crider for a 45-yard touchdown.
Crider led the Potters through the air, recording five catches for 87 yards.
Despite Anderson’s two touchdowns, his four interceptions hurt the Potters chances throughout the game.
“Two of them were 50-50 balls that either player could of got,” Brilley said. “One of them he probably made a bad choice. He’s going to be fine, just has to settle down a little bit and we will rally behind him.”
Morton turned the ball over five times compared to Columbia’s one turnover.
“We just got to find a way to not shoot ourselves in the foot and I think the results would of been a bit different,” Brilley said. “You got to live and learn and keep getting better each week.”
The Potters will look to change their luck next week on the road at Centralia.
The Orphans defeated Salem 22-0 in their first game of the season.
“We’ve got to find a way to win a game. We’ve got to learn how to win and that’s part of the process,” Brilley said. “How we respond is how we’re going to be defined as a team.”
Quarterback Greg Long led Columbia down the field all night, completing 19-24 passing for 214 yards and two touchdowns. His two touchdowns came in the first quarter.
On the ground, Colton Bryd finished with 105 yards on 16 carries.
Wide receivers Jordan Holmes and Mitch Daniels combined for 153 yards receiving with 14 catches and a touchdown.