Before Luke Morley could dance past defenders with dizzying efficiency, he first had to learn the steps. Morley had a basic grasp of Massaponax’s triple-option offense prior to donning a Panther uniform, a foundation he attributes to his older brother Ben.
“I learned a lot,” he said of working with Ben Morley, who graduated in the spring. “Even in middle school, we’d go over plays and stuff and he’d teach me.”
The learning curve steepened last November when Morley, then a sophomore, found himself quarterbacking an injury-ridden Massaponax offense in the regional playoffs.
“You get experience fast when you play in pressure games,” Panthers coach Eric Ludden said. “He started two playoff games, so I think you can kind of add to his total. What would normally be two games might count four or five games, because of the magnitude of it.”
It’s likely Dinwiddie is still feeling shock waves. On Friday, Morley piled up 305 rushing yards and scored four touchdowns in Massaponax’s 47–30 win over a Generals team that went 11–2 last season.
In the process, Morley—who also threw a touchdown pass—earned Free Lance–Star player of the week honors and broke the Massaponax single-game rushing record previously held by Trey Watkins (284 against Chancellor in 2016).
“It’s a long history here,” Ludden said simply.
The record was nowhere on Morley’s radar as he gashed the Generals on scoring runs of 70 and 80 yards in the second half. When informed of the feat via Twitter later that night, he was incredulous.
“I’ve grown up watching ’Ponax football and looked up to those guys ever since I was a kid,” Morley said. “Having the record is kinda crazy. I remember Joey Benden, he was one of my favorite QBs. I had cousins on the team.”
On a night when Morley’s running stole the spotlight, Ludden thought his quarterback shined most on a two-point conversion pass.
Morley rolled out, looked off his first read and feigned scrambling before delivering a dart to Derell Stokes in the end zone. The conversion put the Panthers ahead three scores late in the game.
“I thought that showed a lot of versatility,” Ludden said.
While Morley’s offensive education is ongoing—he can always improve at checks and pre-snap reads, Ludden said—there’s no doubt his savvy is starting to rub off.
“He’s a 4.0 [grade-point average] student, and he really prides himself on knowing the cerebral side of it,” Ludden said. “When he knows what’s going on and he’s well versed, his teammates follow that. That is a real leadership quality.”
- Jamir Boyd, North Stafford QB: 212 passing yards, 4 TDs
- vs. Orange
- Javon Campbell, King George RB: 136 receiving yards, 2 TDs and kickoff return TD vs. Stafford
- Devin Lardge, Stafford RB-18.7 YPC average, rushing TD
- vs. King George
- Charles Mutter, King George QB: 285 passing yards, 3 TDs
- vs. Stafford
- Kalup Shelton, Louisa RB: 131 rushing yards, TD vs. Chancellor
- Javon Swinton, North Stafford WR: 124 yards, 3 TDs and interception vs. Orange
- Edward Ware, Mountain View QB: 127 rushing yards, 3 passing TDs vs. Patriot
- Shymarr Wright, St. Michael RB: 123 rushing yards, 3 TDs
- vs. Quantico