Morris, MACCRAY expected to be a shootout

Both teams will be bringing their shotgun offense for the expected shootout today at the Fargodome when Morris Area and MACCRAY duel for the Section 6AA football championship.

Both teams will be bringing their shotgun offense for the expected shootout today at the Fargodome when Morris Area and MACCRAY duel for the Section 6AA football championship.

"I don't think it's going to be low scoring," laughed Morris Area coach Jerry Witt, referring to the team's potent offenses.

Morris is averaging 32.4 points-per-game and allowing 27.5. MACCRAY averaged 38.8 points and gives up 14.6.

"It's going to come down to turnovers and field position. I think we are both going to put points on the board."

MACCRAY, the No. 4 seed in the section, is coming off a 25-0 victory over top-seeded West Central Area. Morris, the No. 2 seed, edged No. 3 Yellow Medicine East 37-36 i in the semifinals last weekend.


Both teams employ a shotgun formation over 90 percent of the time, rare for a high school team and even rarer for two teams with that formation to meet in a section championship.

Morris throws out of the shotgun the majority of the time with senior signal-caller Taylor Witt having passed for over 3,100 yards this season, the third most for a single-season in state history. He has also thrown 30 touchdown passes. Four receivers for the Tigers are among the top seven in the area in receptions, led by senior Craig Knochenmus with 62 for 889 yards and 12 touchdowns. Brett Anderson has 44 catches, Tony Schultz 41 and Nathan Lund 40. All are seniors.

"We know we're not going to be able to shut Witt down," said MACCRAY coach Mike Dammann. "But we want to put pressure on him. When we watched film, he had good protection and he is so good that he will pick you apart. We'll use some different formations and try to show him some different looks and try to get him out of the pocket."

MACCRAY has an abundance of weapns as well. Senior quarterback Justin Koenen is quick and elusive and is as valuable running the ball as he is throwing it.

The senior has thrown for over 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns with only three interceptions and run for over 850 yards and 13 touchdowns. Zach Thissen, a senior wideout, and Mitch Grussing, a senior running back, are tied for second in the area in scoring with 14 touchdowns and five conversions apiece for 94 points. Koenen is fifth with 75 points. Grussing also has 937 yards rushing. Thissen leads the team with 24 receptions for 663 yards.

"They run such a variation out of their shotgun that it's hard to key on one area," said Jerry Witt. "They spread out the offense from sideline to sideline. And Koenen really looks good. He's the key to their offense."

MACCRAY leads the area in sacks and, as a result of pressuring the quarterback, also lead the area in interceptions. Dean Wandersee, Caleb Zimmer and Joe Plante are among the sack leaders and Thissen is second in interceptions with six.

FAST FACTS: The last time the teams met was Sept. 7, 2001, a 43-20 victory for MACCRAY ... Morris tied Yellow Medicine East for the West Central South Conference title this season with 6-1 records .... MACCRAY tied Minneota for the Little Sioux Conference title with a 7-1 record ... MACCRAY has scored 30-or-more points seven times this season, 40-or-more six times and 50-or-more three times ... Morris has scored 30-or-more points seven times and 40-or-more twice ... Witt passed former Cretin-Derham Hall and current Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer in state single-season passing last Saturday.

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