Bainbridge Paint Valley’s Colton Morris has stormed out of the gate in
his senior campaign posting astounding numbers in the first three
weeks. He has rushed for over 600 yards, and his all-around talents are
a large part why Paint Valley is off to a 3-0 start for the first time
since 2003. Now Morris and his teammates try to snap Westfall’s 19-game SVC win streak.
Bainbridge Paint Valley’s Colton Morris has stormed out of the gate in his senior campaign posting astounding numbers in the first three weeks. He has rushed for over 600 yards, and his all-around talents are a large part why Paint Valley is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2003.
In a Week 1 win, all Morris did was rush for 309 yards against Columbus West. In Week 2, he rushed for 167 yards, and this past weekend Morris did a little bit of everything in a road game against Greenfield McClain.
Morris definitely left his mark in the McClain win, and he did so in every aspect possible. The senior captain rushed for over 100 yards again, and he also intercepted a pass and blocked a huge second half PAT that would have cut the Paint Valley lead to one possession but instead kept it at 18-9 – a score that eventually served as the game’s final.
Morris scored his fifth touchdown of the season in that McClain game, and on the opening drive it was his 35-yard, cutback run that ended down inside the five that setup PV’s first score.
Week 4 marks the start of Scioto Valley Conference play. Paint Valley travels to Westfall to take on the defending champs. The Mustangs enter at 1-2 – with losses against Teays Valley and Logan Elm and a Week 3 win over Circleville – but carry a 19-game SVC winning streak that spans over the past three years.
“Without a doubt,” said Westfall head coach Scott Keller when asked about the importance of getting that first win before starting league play. “It’s extremely easy to have doubts about yourself when you’re sitting there at 0-2. To be able to go out and get a quality win, against a rival, at their place, really gives you so much needed momentum to start league play.
“But we go straight from the frying pan and right into the fire playing a very, very good Paint Valley team. This Paint Valley team really looks like what many people remember the Bearcats for. Their physical, very athletic, disciplined, and well coached. Pete really has those kids playing well, and with all the experience they have on the field now, this is going to be a very difficult game for us.”
For Keller and his staff, Morris a guy that obviously jumps out on film as a dangerous threat that the Mustangs must be ready to contain.
“I think the thing that jumps out at you on tape is his vision and his breakaway speed,” said Keller who led his Mustangs to the final four last season in just his first season. “When he gets into the secondary he is extremely difficult to tackle and if he gets the angle, he can take it to the house. The thing that really concerns us is him getting out into space. If we can keep him in the box, and force them to run between the tackles we’ll be much better off than if we let him get into the open field.”
A major part of this game could come down to special teams. Westfall’s Ben Cline is one of central Ohio’s best athletes. On the other side, Paint Valley’s Wes Parker is emerging as a big-play guy for the Bearcats. In Week 2, Parker returned a kickoff 85-yards for a score in a 20-13 win over Coal Grove, and this past Friday night the Paint Valley junior returned an interception 67-yards for a touchdown in the win over McClain.
Another key on special teams will be Westfall’s Cameron Puckett. Puckett had a great season a year ago and is off to a 90% kicking campaign in 2008. Paint Valley has always had a great kicking game, but uncharacteristically had several miscues this past Friday night against McClain.
“We’ve had a punt blocked in each of the first three games, and we have Ben Cline returning punts and kickoffs,” said Keller. “No way there isn’t a big play on special teams from one team Friday night.”
Cline is such a dangerous all-around talent. He is averaging five yards a pop on the ground and 27 per catch through the air. You add this to the run-throw talent of quarterback D.J. Cain and the running tandem of Bryant Gibson and Tyler Cobb who average 7.1 and 3.9 yards per carry, respectively and the Mustang offense has the ability to strike on every snap of the football.
“Westfall is so big, so well-coached, and so talented,” said Paint Valley coach Pete Hollon. “We will definitely have our hands full, but our kids are playing with a lot of confidence.