Sep. 18—When Carrollton High School quarterback MJ Morris didn't have a good look through the air — which was a rare occurrence in a 56-15 rout over Dalton at Harmon Field Friday night — he made something happen with his legs.
Midway through the third quarter, Morris, a senior who is committed to play at North Carolina State, dropped back to look for what could have been his seventh touchdown pass of the night, instead, Morris took off toward the end zone, made a Dalton defender miss, and settled for an 18-yard rushing score.
Morris threw for more touchdowns, six, than incompletions, three, as Carrollton (4-0, 1-0 Region 5-6A) cruised to a win over Dalton (1-3, 0-1 Region 5-6A).
Playing against the defending Region 5-6A champion Carrollton, which scored at least 41 points in each of its games, Dalton started the game with an offensive threat of its own — a 37-yard Tyson Greenwade gallop on the game's first play from scrimmage.
Carrollton locked down the Catamounts on fourth down, and Morris went to work.
A 47-yard completion to Takare Lipscomb got Carrollton down to the Dalton 11 yard line, and Morris hit Terrell Carmichael for a score from there.
The first incompletion for Morris, who finished 17-of-20 for 252 yards and six passing scores, came just before his second touchdown pass.
With Carrollton up 14-0, Dalton finally put together another offensive drive. Thanks to a big return from Luke Blanchard and a penalty on a late Carrollton hit on that return, the Catamounts started on the Trojans' 42 yard line. A few rushes from Greenwade and Journey Boston later, Greenwade burst into the end zone for a seven-yard rushing score to start the second quarter.
After a penalty, Dalton elected to go for two, and quarterback Brady Pendley pushed into the end zone to cut the Carrollton lead to 14-8.
Greenwade was the spark for the Dalton offense early, before a growing deficit necessitated more of a passing-focused attack. He finished the game with 76 yards on 13 carries.
The Dalton touchdown proved to be an outlier rather than the sign of a Catamount offense ready to keep up.
Touchdown Nos. 3, 4 and 5 from Morris — the last set up by a Trojan pick of Pendley — lit up the scoreboard to put Dalton in a 35-8 hole just before half.
With just 1:20 to work with before the break, the Catamounts put together their best drive of the night.
Pendley hit passes of 34 and 16 yards to Karim Page, then scrambled 21 yards down to the Carrollton four with just one second left. Pendley fired a pass as the buzzer sounded to Boston, who secured the ball for a touchdown to make the score 35-15.
Pendley finished with 142 passing yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
After the break, Dalton couldn't convert the late-half score into any more momentum.
Morris threw his sixth touchdown, then ran for his seventh total touchdown, before being pulled in the third quarter.
The first Carrollton pass of the night that wasn't thrown by Morris resulted in a Dalton pick as Andy Atangana dove for a Malik Kemp heave. Kemp still added another score for Carrollton early in the fourth.
The Catamounts continue Region 5-6A action at home Friday at 7:30 p.m. against South Paulding.