senior linebacker usually shows his leadership on the football field through stellar plays.
During Saturday’s IHSA 8A state semifinal game against Naperville Central, the Florida recruit had to lead on the sidelines.
An injured Morrison cheered his teammates on as the to advance to state finals.
“I turned into a coach,” said Morrison, who was on crutches with a boot protecting his left foot. “I’ve practice with these guys everyday and seeing them win, there is nothing hard about that.”
Morrison fractured his left foot during the in the team's quarterfinals game. He said he was limping after the game and it got worse the next morning.
“It’s not easy losing your leader like that,” Bolingbrook head coach John Ivlow said. “He’s been a kid who has been at every practice, every weight room workout. He’s never missed a game before this week in his entire high school career. He is a tremendous competitor and we hope to get him back next week.”
, who had 199 rushing yards and the game-winning score, said the team rallied around Morrison.
“We went out there thinking we were going to win this game for him and we are going to win state for him,” Bailey said. “He is then , have a fun time there and get a tan.”
Morrison said there's “a great possibility” that he could play against Loyola in Saturday's state championship game.
Even without Morrison, the Raiders’ defense limited the Redhawks to just 174 yards of total offense, including holding explosive senior running back Matt Randolph to 90 total yards of offense.
“They shut our run down well for most of the game,” Naperville Central head coach Mike Stine said. “They are very quick and mobile. They’re hard to block and don’t stay blocked very long.
“They don’t have a weakness on defense. It’s hard to make plays on them. They are pretty comparable to Wheaton Warrenville South’s defense. With their offense and defense and special teams, they have a shot to be state champs next week.”
Ivlow said he rotated senior linebacker Andre Allen and junior linebacker Emile Wisdom to Morrison’s outside linebacker spot. Allen had three tackles and Wisdom a key sack.
Senior linebacker Austin Van Meter led the Raiders with 14 tackles and four for a loss.
The Raiders stonewalled a couple two-point conversations. In the third quarter, Randolph charged up the middle and he was stopped short.
“They are good gang tacklers,” Randolph said. “They just get to the ball well and they play really physical.”
Following Naperville Central senior quarterback Ian Lewandowski’s fourth-quarter touchdown run to make it 19-14 Redhawks, Bolingbrook senior defensive lineman Isaac Jensen tackled Lewandowski on the two-point conversion.
“We’ve just got to keep finishing,” senior defensive back Phillip Wilson said. “Our coach always tells us that opponents are going to score, but we’ve just got to keep it up. Effort is all that is.”
Bolingbrook also forced two turnovers, five three-and-outs and seven tackles for a loss.
“We had to play like we always have been playing,” said senior defensive back Tevin Teamer, who had a third-quarter interception. “It’s not a one-man team. It’s a whole 11 people on the field. During practice, we schemed differently and showed him what we could do on the field.”
The Raiders (12-1) will face Loyola (13-0) for the state championship 7 p.m. Saturday in Champaign. Teamer said Loyola likes to pass, but Bolingbrook’s coaches will put the defensive backs in position to make plays to slow down the Ramblers.