Morris on the run for Severna Park Carrying the load: Back has accumulated more than half of his team's rushing yardage this season

September 27, 1995|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

He simply outran everybody in Westminster for three touchdowns, raced around and through the Calvert defense and even blocked an extra point in overtime that proved to be the difference in a 28-27 victory over Calvert last week.

Make no mistake about it, Severna Park senior Jihad Morris is one of the fastest-rising football standouts in the state.

In just three weeks, Morris has become so well-known that the Calvert defensive players were calling out his name Friday night in overtime moments before Severna Park scored the tying touchdown and kicked the winning extra point.

They were sure Morris was going to get the football on a second-down play at the 5-yard line.

"When they started calling my name, I thought to myself 'I'm going to play this fake to the hilt,' " he said. "I sprinted dead to the right side of the field and the whole defense sprinted over there with me."

That made life simple for Severna Park sophomore quarterback Greg Korwek, who handed the ball to Rodney Hall for a 5-yard touchdown run, tying the game at 27. Josh Cornett kicked the extra point to give the Falcons (2-1) their second straight win.

No wonder the Calvert players were thinking Morris all the way.

He had run five yards to the 5 on the first Severna Park offensive play in overtime, scored two touchdowns (one on a 49-yard pass from Korwek) and rushed for 167 yards.

For the season, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound running back has gained 266 yards on 30 carries and scored five touchdowns. He has accumulated far more than half of the team's total yards rushing (447) and gets the call at least one out of every three offensive plays the Falcons run.

He also has played some defense at linebacker, but coach Andy Borland prefers to save Morris, who runs 4.56 in the 40, for offense as much as possible.

Morris is also an inspirational leader for Severna Park.

"A lot of guys get nervous and worry about messing up," he said. "That is not what high school football is supposed to be about. My biggest thrill is just getting out there every game and showing my parents I can play. I believe we're good enough to win the rest of our games and then make a strong run at a state championship."

If you're wondering where he has been the last two seasons, the answer is simple.

There were too many talented seniors ahead of him as a sophomore and he played all last season with a yet-to-be-diagnosed torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

The knee injury occurred on the first day of practice last year when he was running a drill.

"I did a cut on the coach [Borland] and something popped as I made the cut," said Morris. "I got some bad advice from doctors who kept telling me it was a strain.

"I tried to rush back to play and the knee bothered me off and on. I played mostly on defense all year and by the end of the season my body was gone. I underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee and it has slowed me down a little."

But a rigorous summer of working out with his brother, Severna Park junior defensive back Amiel Morris, and four of his longtime football buddies have brought him back to top form.

The four friends, including the 1994-95 Baltimore Sun Male Athlete of the Year, Jason Smith of Broadneck who is now at Rutgers, have all gone to college to play football.

The other three are former Severna Park teammates Ryan Moore (Marshall U.) and Jamond Davenport (Elizabeth City) and Broadneck's Cory Lewis (Livingstone College).

"Those four guys are my peers and my friends," said Morris. "They really helped push me. I used to race Ryan all the time."

The word on Morris also has spread rapidly among the collegiate scouts and he has received 85 letters expressing interest.

Maryland, North Carolina and Rutgers are the top three on his list right now.

"I'll most likely be a linebacker in college because most of the running backs now have 4.3 or 4.4 speed. That kind of speed is disgusting," he said.

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