GRIFFITH | Morton coach Roy Richards said after Friday night's 27-13 victory over Griffith, his team was just beginning to make big plays.
Week 1 provided some highlights for the Times No. 6 Governors, who notched a 20-yard touchdown pass on fourth down and a 63-yard run on a third down after giving up two big running plays in the first quarter.
At the game's outset, Griffith (0-1) escaped an early hole, when a false start pushed the Panthers back to their 9, as senior running back Justin Green took his first handoff 91 yards for a touchdown.
After Morton (1-0) stalled on its next two drives, the Panthers got a 22-yard rushing touchdown from senior QB Kyle Buikema to make it 13-0 after one.
Morton finally got things going in the second quarter. In typical Governor fashion, Morton went on a seven-play, 61-yard drive that ate up only 2:14 before Kenneth Coleman ran 4 yards for a score.
Things, however, went back to bleak for Griffith after Green fumbled the ball on a handoff at the Panthers' 30, setting up a 20-yard TD pass from Torey Armstrong to Jarrett Dickey on a 4th-and-10.
After dominating the first quarter, the Panthers netted just one first down in the second and recorded eight total first-half penalties for 75 yards.
Griffith's last drive of the half culminated in an interception in the end zone by Devon Mingo.
The third quarter was highlighted by Armstrong's 10-yard TD run, as he ran for 32 yards on the drive and put Morton up 20-13.
In the fourth, Armstrong got two pivotal first downs on Morton's last scoring drive, which was capped by a Mark Snorton 63-yard run.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg for big plays," Richards said. "The toughness of Torey and the mettle of our entire team showed tonight. Everyone got the tough yards."
As the penalties (14 for 95 yards) continued for the Panthers, the costliest came on the kickoff following Snorton's TD. Green's 70-yard kickoff return for a score was nullified by a holding penalty.
"The long plays killed us," Griffith coach Jim Pickett said. "We also have some new guys on the O-line, and that's where most of the penalties came from. The Green holding call took the wind out of our sails."