Morton coach Roy Richards was working hard at Wednesday night's football practice, probably harder than he has in recent years in Week 6.
His Governors (2-3, 1-0) host Hammond (3-1, 0-0) on Friday in the game that will surely decide the Great Lakes Athletic Conference title. He will be without five offensive starters who are facing at least a one-game suspension.
"For poor decision making," Richards said when asked what they did. "They did something they shouldn't have done."
Hammond last beat Morton in 2007. The Govs have won 12 of the last 13 meetings between the rival city schools.
Richards said he spoke with the five players after school Wednesday. He sternly told them that what they did is something that adults have seen others make the same mistake before, and Morton's administration does not want to see the same fate happen.
"We want to try and help them go down the right path," Richards said. "We'd be fools to turn the cheek. We don't want to say these kids are done. They're good guys who made a mistake."
Counselors will meet with the players on the team to speak to them about making the correct life decisions in the future. They will be reminded about their choices and the consequences for their actions.
"I think this game is bigger than in the past," Richards said. "We're not just fighting for the city championship. We don't want to lose our reputation as a favorite in the sectional or the region."