The Morrison football team ended their season over the weekend in a hard-fought 20-13 loss on the road, knocking them out of the Class 1A Illinois High School State football quarterfinals.

The Mustangs took on Annawan-Wethersfield on the road.

The Titans, also coming into the matchup with a blemish-free record, struck first.

The Mustangs responded with senior Nick Allen leading the charge with a pick-six. With a good extra point, Morrison took the 7-6 lead.

The game turned into a defensive battled from there, and the 7-6 score held at the half.

By the time they played another 12 minutes of football both teams had scored again. This time, it was the Titans who picked up the extra points and then took the 14-13 lead from the Mustangs.

They held it the rest of the quarter and until the final horn blew.

It was the first notch in the L column for the Mustangs, who had an incredible turnaround season.

After going 2-7 in 2018, the Mustangs came out with defensive power that rivaled the best in the state and an unbelievably athletic offense to boot.

They were underrated coming in, not even a mention in the high school rankings for the first part of the season.

But then they won their first game by 48 points. Then they won another.

In Week 3 they shut out Fulton, a fellow playoff team. Then they started to get some looks.

Week 4 was the statement week. They went on the road to Newman Catholic for a Saturday matchup. There, they held the Comets to just field goals and came away with an 18-6 win. With Class 2A Newman’s ranking, it sent them soaring into the polls.

“We put our hats up on our defense, but holding Newman to six points was something most teams can’t do,” senior Nick Allen said earlier this season. “They played an amazing game, it was a great football game, we just played from the first kickoff to the last buzzer.”

It didn’t stop there. They took down every regular season opponent by at least 13 points and went inot the Class 1A playoffs with a No. 4 ranking and an undefeated record.

First game was Ridgewood, which came easy for the Mustangs. They walked away with a staggering 56-8 win in the first round.

They continued their run with a 44-12 win over Hiawatha. Even though the game was ridden with penalties, the Morrison athleticism proved too much for the Hawks.

Through their 12 games, they allowed just 70 points to be scored against them.

It’s head coach Ryan Oetting’s second year leading the Mustang football program. The Mustangs certainly gave him and the entire small-town community something worth bragging about.

After exiting the postseason this Saturday, the entire town welcomed the boys home with a procession into Morrison.

“We’ve always been super close,” Nick Allen said. “Since then, we keep building off each other and making that brotherhood stronger. It’s a great group to be a part of.”

“I’m proud of how much we came together as a team,” senior Ryan Kennedy said earlier this season. “We’re always going to have memories out here and it’s going to be so much fun to look back on.”