HAMMOND | It's no picnic being an underdog in the tournament, despite what coaches and players say.
It's tough being considered a sacrificial lamb on the day of the draw, much like Highland was against Morton in Friday night's 4A Sectional 9 championship.
But so were the Governors, who went 4-5 in the regular season and are beginning to silence critics after a convincing 34-0 win that gave them a fourth consecutive sectional title.
"This isn't mine," coach Roy Richards shouted to his team while holding the championship trophy high for all to see. "But thank you for getting me another one.
"Everyone counted us out but we're holding the trophy."
Morton (7-5) travels to Mishawaka for next week's regional.
"We can't be happy to be there. We have to bring the semistate here," Richards said. "This was a tough year for us. When your expectations are high you're expected to go 8-1 or 9-0 ... but we were 4-5 and told our run is over.
"Well, we're playing our best football right now."
Junior Torey Armstrong, who alternates with Jimmy Glidewell at quarterback, had 16 rushes for 118 yards and one touchdown. He also completed 3-of-4 passes for 37 yards.
"I'll run it or I'll pass it," Armstrong said. "Our linemen have been starting for so long, they know the game well and we just ride their backs."
Morton rushed for 422 yards and totaled 527 in all.
Kendall Huff ran for 191 yards on 26 carries, Eleazar Henderson added 73 yards and two touchdowns and also caught three passes for 37 yards.
"I could play a whole 'nother game," Huff said. "It's just the adrenaline and my love for the game. That's the 'juice' that drives me."
Highland (3-9) trailed 14-0 at the half as the Trojans' Tommy Brankin fumbled a 50-yard Gunner Grider pass in the end zone, setting up Glidewell's eventual 1-yard TD run.
Morton then returned the favor as Huff fumbled a 3-yard gain in the end zone at 5:45 of the second quarter.
Highland was chasing its first sectional title since 1987 and fourth overall.
The Trojans, whose last winning season was 2001, lost to Morton 28-0 in their Sept. 7 meeting.