No matter whom the No. 5 seeded Concord Raiders drew as opponents heading into the 2006 Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association state tournament, one thing was for certain: they were going to run the ball for better or worse.
Concord drew Indian River, made the two-hour drive downstate and then racked up 281 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns in a 30-0 win on Nov. 18, to end the Indians’ football season.
After swapping turnovers on the first two drives of the game, Concord’s offense regained its composure behind the strong running of junior running back Josh Morris, to score three touchdowns on their next three possessions to end the half.
Concord capped consecutive eight-play drives and a 14-play drive to end the first half on 30 rushing plays — 26 by Morris, who accumulated 164 of his 208 rushing yards and two of his three touchdown runs in the first half.
During that time, Concord protected the football and committed no turnovers or penalties and had only one running play go for no gain or less.
Oftentimes Concord’s offensive line created enough push at the line of scrimmage that Morris went untouched to the second or even third level of the Indian River defense. Morris gashed Indian River for 10 runs of nine yards or more, including a 20-yard touchdown run, to give the Raiders a 12-0 second-quarter lead.
“I got to tip my hat to the offensive line,” Morris said. “They did a great job.”
“It’s great when you’re not getting hit ’til you get to the secondary,” he continued.
“That’s what we do,” Concord head coach George Kosanovich said. “We run the ball. When you get good at something you try to get better at it and we’ve been fortunate to have a good combination of athletes that want to be here for the past three or four years.”
Kosanovich noted that Morris could’ve started for a number of upstate teams last year as a sophomore but chose to learn from last year’s star running back, Marcus Napier, and wait his turn.
“Josh could’ve started for any number of teams as a sophomore, but he’s paid his dues and now everyone is starting to see what we’ve always known,” he said.
Morris carried the ball 26 times out of 36 first-half plays and ran the ball 10 of 11 times on their final drive of the half to set up a 25-yard touchdown pass from Jon Bacher to tight end Kevin Hopkins.
Morris was one of 13 running backs in Delaware to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in 2006 (1,007), according to DEPreps.com, despite missing two games to a leg injury.
His 6.5-yard-per-carry average proved to be enough to power Concord to an 8-2 regular-season record and a Blue Hen Conference Flight B Championship this year. Morris finished the game against Indian River with a little less than his regular-season average (208-34, three touchdowns for a 6.1 ypc) and, in the end, it wore down Indian River’s defense for the win.
“We came out low and with flat backs, which is something that we’ve preached all year long, and you can see what Josh can do when that happens,” junior Raider guard Paul Worrilow said.
“That’s the hardest thing about this game, is that you know that you’re doing your best but sometimes your best isn’t good enough,” Kosanovich said of Indian River’s defensive performance. “We were able to get five, six, seven and three yards a carry every time we ran and that will eat you up inside.”
“We were very fortunate to win the games in the past [over IR], but this time we left no doubt,” he said.
Indian River, on the other hand, could never get in sync offensively, which caused the defense to spend a majority of the game on the field.
Indian River gained a mere 48 total yards on five firs-thalf possessions and had three second-half drives unravel on two interceptions and a fumble.
Bacher and Morris capped the Raiders effort with a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs.
Concord was set to travel to Archmere for the first game of the semi-finals on Nov. 24 in a rematch of their 2006 regular-season opener. Archmere defeated the Raiders 20-16.