Two sequences in Friday night’s showdown between Dinwiddie and host Massaponax summed up the evening.
One play after the Panthers made a defensive stand early in the third quarter, junior quarterback Luke Morley outran the Generals’ defense for a 70-yard touchdown.
In the fourth quarter, one play following Dinwiddie kicker Justin Davis’ missed 31-yard field goal, Morley broke free and sprinted 80 yards for a score.
Morley made the Generals pay at every turn. He finished with a career-high 305 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries as the Panthers surged to a 47–30 nondistrict victory.
Morley sealed the win with a 3-yard touchdown pass to fullback Elijah Christopher with 1:15 remaining. He followed it with a two-point conversion pass to Derell Stokes to provide the final margin.
The Panthers (2–0) racked up 538 yards on the ground.
“Honestly I give all credit to Luke because he is a dog,” Massaponax senior two-way lineman Darion Moore said. “We did our job up front and he exploited every hole that we gave him. So all praise goes to that man right there.”
Morley wasn’t alone.
Christopher rushed for 92 yards and a score in addition to his touchdown reception. He also hauled in a key fourth-and-10 reception from Morley to set up Stokes’ 5-yard touchdown run that gave the Panthers a 20–7 lead with 3:44 to go in the second quarter.
Still, it was Morley’s night. He scored on runs of 2, 7, 70 and 80 yards.
“It feels good but that all starts with the O-line, the [slot backs] and the wide receivers getting the blocks and doing their jobs,” Morley said. “But it is a great feeling.”
Dinwiddie veteran coach Billy Mills said his team was bewildered by the Panthers’ triple-option attack. He said the Generals (1–1), who have won at least 11 games in six of the past 10 seasons, including the 2013 4A state championship, will have to be better prepared when they face the Panthers again next season.
“They make you play assignment football,” Mills said. “They’re unique. We don’t see a lot of that … All you’ve got to do is make one mistake, take the wrong guy and they make you pay for it. The quarterback is unbelievable as far as reads go and he runs that offense well.”
Dinwiddie’s offense was no slouch, either.
Sophomore quarterback Brenton Hilton completed 18 of 26 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Robert Barlow added 109 rushing yards and two scores.
The Generals pulled within 39-30 on Hilton’s 60-yard bomb to Desmond Green (77 receiving yards, two touchdowns) with 9:02 to go. The Panthers blocked the extra point.
The Panthers then milked the next 7:44 off the clock to secure the victory on Morley’s fourth-down scoring pass to Christopher. Massaponax head coach Eric Ludden said he learned a bit about his team’s resiliency Friday night. The Panthers entered down one starter with lineman Jacob Carmichael out for personal reasons.
Standout junior running back Jacob Romero exited on the final play of the first quarter with a sprained ankle. His status for next week’s trip to unbeaten Louisa is uncertain. Romero was injured on a 47-yard run. He finished with 94 rushing yards on just four carries.
“We also had guys that went down with cramps and things like that,” Ludden said. “But we had other guys come in and make plays in crucial spots.”
Dinwiddie will face another Commonwealth District foe next Friday when it hosts North Stafford.
Ma—Luke Morley 2 run (Stephen Hudson kick).
Ma—Elijah Christopher 21 run (kick failed).
Di—Desmond Green 9 pass from Brenton Hilton (Justin Davis kick).
Ma—Derell Stokes 5 run (Samuel Herrin kick).
Di—Davis 23 field goal.
Ma—Morley 70 run (kick failed).
Di—Robert Barlow 6 run (kick failed).
Ma—Morley 7 run (Carson Pugh kick).
Di—Barlow 9 run (Kelmari Brown pass from Hilton).
Ma—Morley 80 run (kick failed).
Di—Green 60 pass from Hilton (kick failed).
Ma—Christopher 3 pass from Morley (Stokes pass from Morley).
RUSHING: Dinwiddie—Robert Barlow 14-109, 2 TDs; Marcus King 3-14; Brenton Hilton 12-4. Massaponax—Luke Morley 19-305, 4TD; Jacob Romero 4-94; Elijah Christopher 16-92, TD; Derell Stokes 9-47, TD; Javaney Bruno 2-3; D’Juan Brady 1-(-5).
PASSING: Dinwiddie—Hilton 18-26-0, 270 yards, 2TD. Massaponax—Morley 3-6-1, 21 yards, TD.
RECEIVING: Dinwiddie—Cedric Drumgoole 7-110; Desmond Green 3-77, 2TD; Barlow 6-39; King 1-30; Kelmari Brown 1-14. Massaponax—Christopher 2-15, TD; Quincy House 1-6.