INDIANAPOLIS – Peter Morrison had one more drive left in his high school football career, one more great throw, one more win. Of course he did.
We shouldn't have expected anything else.
Morrison, the phenomenal former Concordia Lutheran High School quarterback, led the Cadets to their first Class 3A state title as a senior last fall, set the state record for touchdowns in a title game and somehow remained as humble as when he was the backup quarterback. So when the North-South All-Star Classic was tied with time running out, Morrison trotted onto the field and delivered.
Is it magic? Morrison magic? Let's not overdo the hyperbole. But it is kind of magical.
Morrison led the North on an 81-yard scoring drive, throwing an 18-yard touchdown pass to former East Noble (and Saint Francis-bound) receiver Dylan Hunley with 14.8 seconds left to give the North a 21-14 win Friday at North Central High School.
North beats South 21-14 on game winner Peter Morrison to Dylan Hunley. pic.twitter.com/5cYe3KcNSS
— Reggie Hayes (@reggiehayes1) July 15, 2017
The performance – Morrison was 8-for-14 for 92 yards and two touchdowns while splitting time at quarterback – earned him the game's Most Valuable Player award.
“Peter Morrison did a great job leading us down the field,” Homestead alum/North team center Grant Purlee said. “He was able to make plays when plays weren't there, and we just came together to win the game.”
After snapping the ball and making his block, Purlee had a great view of the final Morrison-to-Hunley touchdown.
“It was a very good throw,” Purlee said. “I knew Peter could make some plays. We just had to give him time.”
Afterward, Morrison, who will continue his career at Concordia University, was back to being the same unassuming young man.
“You just have to go down and score,” Morrison said. “There's not much to think about. The coach is going to call the play and you just have to execute the play.”
Morrison even said he believed if the North's other quarterback, Trey Bilinski of NorthWood, had been on the field, the same thing would have happened. That's humility, leadership and the epitome of a great teammate.
During the drive, Morrison completed four passes, ran for 15 yards, scrambled for six yards on a broken play and calmly dropped back on 3rd-and-6 for the game-winning throw.
East Noble coach Luke Amstutz served as the North's offensive coordinator. Head coach Nate Andrews of NorthWood let Amstutz make the call on whether to try to set up for a field goal.
“I said I had confidence in my guys and I wanted to take a shot, and we got it,” Amstutz said. “To end it with Pete, who I've got to know over the last few years as an amazing kid, and Dylan making the play is really special to me. It's something I'll always remember.”
Hunley, of course, played for Amstutz and hooked up on tons of touchdown passes with East Noble quarterback Andrew McCormick. But Hunley had also played with Morrison in 7-on-7 sessions with the AWP team, so they had some history together.
They spent the week working toward that final play.
“It was a slant and go, and he was wide open,” Morrison said. “I've played with Dylan for a long time and he's just a phenomenal receiver. I'm glad I got to throw with him.”
Hunley beat the defender and Morrison dropped the pass in exactly the perfect spot.
“It was a blessing, honestly,” Hunley said. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play in a game like this. And to be able to make a play like that was unbelievable.”
Twelve Fort Wayne-area players played in the game, and all of them contributed. Hunley had two catches for 27 yards, Bishop Luers' J'Lyn Charlton had five carries for 28 yards, Snider's Money Woods had eight carries for 15 yards.
Concordia's Peterson Kerlegrand had two tackles and broke up a key pass in the fourth quarter while playing cornerback. Other local players were New Haven safety Ivan Upshaw, Garrett linebacker Garrett Sutton, Bellmont linebacker Caleb Hankenson, Churubusco linebacker Nash Wood, Bishop Dwenger defensive lineman Frank Yanko and Adams Central defensive lineman Brandon Schoeneman.
The North players were able to end their high school careers with a win.
Morrison and Kerlegrand, especially, found the ending reminiscent of their senior season.
“I had all the confidence in Peter when he went out there for that last drive,” Kerlegrand said. “He knows what to do. It's just natural for him.”
That's the explanation on Morrison. It's not magic at all. He's just a natural winner.
This column is the commentary of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The News-Sentinel. Email Reggie Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org.