Morrison running back Andy Schaver carried the football four times in the first half of the annual Wooden Shoe Bowl on the Fulton gridiron Friday night.
Schaver’s four carries netted 21 yards but more important were good for three touchdowns and a 19-0 halftime lead over Fulton.
The Mustangs added 20 points in the third period and scored another touchdown in the final eight minutes for a 45-0 victory to strengthen its hold on the No. 1 poll spot in the Illinois Class 2A ratings.
“The game was a good one for an opener,”Morrison coach Cory Bielema said . “Defensively we have things to improve but we will check the films (to see what they are). We take great pride in our defense, the kids play hard and improved as the game went on.
“Offensively we blocked well, had a variety of runners and we had (pass) receivers open. We do have to improve our depth. That is one problem coming out of week one.”
Fulton Coach Patrick Lower said, “I felt good in the first half the way we were moving the ball. We executed well from the git-go but failed to adjust and did not finish out plays. We were beaten on both sides of the line, offensively and defensively.
“We got down on ourselves but we ended positively. Our (sophomore) quarterback, Ethan Jones, is not a great athlete but he is young and learning. He will be able to make the plays. He’ll make the plays and our whole team will get better.”
The Mustangs kicked off and on Fulton’s second play the Steamers fumbled the ball on their own 27-yard line.
Danny Willis moved the ball to the Fulton 24. Quarterback Danny Dennehy carried around end to the Steamers’ six-yard line. Schaver took the ball into the end zone from there and Morrison was in front, 6-0, one minute and 42 seconds into the game.
Matt Hartman and Austin Manon carried Fulton from its own 20-yard line to almost midfield following the Mustang kickoff, but were forced to punt into the end zone on a fourth-and-eight situation.
Matt McDonnell carried for a seven-yard gain before Dennehey completed two of three passes for 36 yards, a 17-yarder and a 19-yarder to Kyle Heusinkveld carrying to the Fulton 36.
After a 16-yard sprint to the 20 and a five-yard penalty against the Steamers, Dennehey hit Brad Deter at the two.
Schaver carried it into the end zone for his second TD and Morrison was in front 12-0.
Schaver chalked up his third TD of the night five minutes and 44 seconds before halftime.
A 31-yard punt by Hartman was brought back to the Fulton eight. McDonnell carried for one yard and Schaver added a seven-yard sprint to the goal line. Schaver booted the point-after for the 19-0 halftime edge.
Dennehey showed his passing strength in the third quarter when he threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to McDonnell with 8:43 left in the period.
The Steamers lost 13 yards on their next possession and another punt by Hartman went to the Morrison 13 but was brought back to the 42.
On the first play of the new series Rowdy Lathrop went the 58 yards for another six points and a 32-0 lead when the PAT kick missed.
Fulton netted only five yards on its next possession. Zach Lyerla brought the following Steamer punt back to the Fulton 16. It took only five plays for the Mustangs to put another six points on the board, Schaver carried for four yards, McDonnell added four and Lathrop picked up a first down carrying to the five. On a first and goal situation, McDonnell went all five yards on the first attempt. Schaver made the PAT kick and the Mustangs were in front 39-0 just before the end of the third quarter.
As the final period began Jones threw an incomplete pass, then was stopped at the line of scrimmage for no gain. Manon gained seven to the 41. On the punt attempt, the snap went over Hartman’s head and was downed at the Fulton 25.
Fulton held the visitors but on a fourth-and-12 from the Fulton 27, Dennehey found Deter at the seven for a first down. Deter picked up four to the three from where Lyerla carried it into the end zone.
Fulton held possession the rest of the game and moved the ball from its own 25 to the Morrison five. Ethan Jones carried four times for 45 yards and Manon gained 20 yards in three carries.
The Steamers travel to Sterling Newman next week to tangle with the No. 2 Class 3A Comets while Morrison is at home againt Peru-St. Bede.