MISHAWAKA | Lovie Smith says his Bears get off the team bus running the football.
If you play ball for the Mishawaka Cavemen, that routine begins after breakfast, while brushing your teeth.
Mishawaka entered Friday night's Class 4A regional title game averaging 6.1 yards a carry behind the efforts of quarterback Sam Schrader (1,370 yards, 24 TDs), Tyler McDaniel (954 yards, 10 TDs) and Matthew Carver (582 yards, 6 TDs).
They've covered more turf than a PGA event.
And they did it again, rushing for 330 yards and shutting Morton out in the second half for a convincing 39-7 win.
The Governors trailed 18-7 at the half and were outgained only 151-135 in total yardage.
"If we go in the first drive of the second half and score like we should have, it's 18-14 and we're back in it," said Morton coach Roy Richards.
"But I'm not taking anything away from that (Mishawaka) team. They deserve to be in the semistate. They took care of the ball and did their thing."
Morton (7-6), which went 4-5 in the regular season, had chances to keep its playoff hopes alive for another week -- until the third quarter -- when Eleazar Henderson fumbled at the Mishawaka 10 and Kendall Huff fumbled at the Govs' 23.
"The first thing we all learn is cover the ball, protect the ball," Huff said. "But being down so far, we knew we had to get downfield, get the yardage, and I didn't protect the ball.
"Fumbles are mental. Those weren't hard hits. Just enough to jolt it loose."
Huff's fumble set up a Schrader TD pass for an insurmountable 32-7 lead and Mishawaka's second score within a minute.
Huff still went out in style, rushing for 114 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries. He also caught four passes for 34 yards.
"You saw a lot of the wind taken out of our sails with those fumbles but I don't want our running backs to think that cost us the game," Richards said. "We did a lot of other (costly) things."
The Governors had seven penalties, many of which pushed them back on promising drives.
"I'm not going to say we were the better team. But too many mistakes, penalties," said offensive tackle Alfredo Gutierrez. "It can't be the effort. That was there the whole time. And I don't care what anybody says, we knew we'd get this far."
McDaniel was Caveman-like in his effort, piling up 216 very tough yards and one TD on 24 carries. Shrader and Matthew Carver hooked up for a pair of touchdown receptions.
Mishawaka (10-3) takes an eight-game win streak into its semistate game with Concord (11-2).