The Witt Story: Act III

Opponents have nearly been at their wit's end trying to shut down the Morris Area passing attack this season. Taylor Witt, to be exact. The senior signal-caller has been lighting up the airwaves this season, including a pair of 400-yard games. Bu...

Opponents have nearly been at their wit's end trying to shut down the Morris Area passing attack this season. Taylor Witt, to be exact.

The senior signal-caller has been lighting up the airwaves this season, including a pair of 400-yard games.

But the Tigers' opponents have been outWitted when it comes to defending the pass for many years. Taylor is the third Witt brother to play quarterback for Morris and their father Jerry Witt, the head coach.

"I feel very fortunate to have had three sons all play quarterback for me," said Jerry. "For the most part, it hasn't been hard at all coaching the boys. It's really been a great opportunity."

There has been a Witt under center for nine of the past 14 years. Zach played from 1992-94, Forrest from '95-97 and Taylor the past three seasons.


Zach and Forrest tossed the pigskin from the port side, but Taylor hurls from the right side.

Zach threw for 3,485 yards and 27 touchdowns in his career. Forrest passed for 2,347 yards and 25 touchdowns. Now, the little brother has added 4,944 yards and 48 touchdowns to the Witt fortune.

"We're very supportive of him," said Zach, who is now a real estate agent/loan officer in St. Cloud. "Forrest and I try to go over certain situations with him and try to help him with whatever we can."

Morris Area, the No. 2 seed in Section 6AA, hosts Yellow Medicine East at 7 p.m. today at Big Cat Stadium.

Witt threw for 280 yards in the first meeting with YME, a 39-27 victory in Granite Falls.

Coming into today's game with 2,705 yards, Witt needs 132 yards to become the area's single-season passing leader. And he needs 318 yards to move into fifth place on the state's single-season record list and pass a former quarterback from Cretin-Derham Hall named Joe Mauer, who passed up a Division I scholarship from Florida State to pursue a career in baseball and is now the Minnesota Twins catcher. Mauer's 3,022 passing yards came in 14 games, while Taylor has played in only nine to date.

Morris has traditionally been a passing team under Jerry Witt. His quarterbacks have generally been among the area passing leaders year after year. And having three talented sons with exceptional knowledge of the game hasn't hurt any either.

"We've always had a lot of success passing the ball," said Jerry, who was a running back in high school at Janesville. "We've had good running backs, but we haven't always had a lot of size to pound it out on the ground. But we've always have a very good group of quarterbacks and receivers so we've been able to move the ball."


And Jerry and Holly, his wife, have sons who have been among the biggest movers. The trio have combined for 10,776 yards and 100 touchdowns in their prep careers donning the black and orange at Morris.

Taylor has surpassed his brothers in both career passing yardage (4,944) and touchdowns (48). That despite missing six games last season with a broken arm.

But the older siblings aren't envious at all.

"There's not a jealous bone in our body when it comes to Taylor's success," said Forrest. "We're very proud of him. We knew when he was little that he was going to be good. He was always at Zach and my practices and at our games. His understanding of the game has been a big plus for him."

Taylor takes all his success in stride.

"My dad and my brothers have really helped me a lot," he said. "I think it's been an advantage for me being around two older brothers that played the position. And having my dad the coach allows me to watch film any time I want and I know what he expects."

As his brothers were before him, Taylor is a standout basketball player, where his dad is the assistant coach to Mark Torgerson. Each was a point guard and each an All-Area player. Zach and Forrest finished their careers with over 1,000 points each.

Zach went on to play basketball and football at Mankato State. He and his wife, Katie, have a 31/2-month-old daughter, Dylan Taylor.


Forrest played four years of basketball at St. Cloud State. He and his wife, Kelli, live in St. Paul where he is an assistant men's basketball coach for Concordia-St.Paul.

Each had their own style on the gridiron in high school.

"I was more of a scrambler," said Zach. "I ran around a lot so the big guys didn't hit me. Forrest was more of the pocket passer, who didn't mind standing in there and had the patience to wait until someone got open. Taylor has a little of both of those things."

Taylor has thrown for 200-or-more yards in seven of the nine games with a season-best 412 yards against Paynesville. He's also had 405 and 397 yards passing in games against Benson this season.

"He's the real deal," said Benson coach Scott Gonnerman. "He's as good of a quarterback as I've ever seen. He can throw just as well on the run as he does in the pocket. And he's got a very strong arm."

Taylor can fling the ball nearly 70 yards in the air. He's built up his arm strength with off-season weightlifting.

"I'm a lot stronger than I was," he said. "I spend some time at Zach's house in the summer and he helps me with my weightlifting."

Still, it's Taylor's ability to see the whole field that sets him apart from other prep quarterbacks.


"I've always been able to read defenses," he said. "Teams try to disguise their defenses but I'm able to adjust to it. My dad let's me pretty much control the offense and call my own plays and that really helps a lot, too."

A very witty move on his part.

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