Getting his shot
BURLINGTON, Nov 08, 2012 (Skagit Valley Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
He didn't get the job the way he wanted to, but Burlington-Edison football player Tyler Morrison got his chance to be the feature back for the Tigers.
Morrison has taken on a bigger role for the Tigers after an injury to friend and teammate Jae Evans, and the bruising back plans to take advantage of it. He's already carried the Tigers to one postseason victory, and is hoping to add to that total Friday.
"I thought if I could get carries, I could show what I could do," Morrison said.
Morrison carried the ball on a part-time basis for the Tigers this season, but after Evans suffered a hand injury in the Tigers' eighth game, the junior's role has grown.
Before Evans' injury against Squalicum, Morrison's highest number of carries in a game was 13, a number he tallied in a nonconference game against Mount Vernon. In the two games after Evans' injury, Morrison had 34 carries against Sedro-Woolley and 20 against Lake Washington.
In the former, he chewed up 134 yards and scored a touchdown; in the latter, a bi-district playoff game, he had 194 yards and another TD.
All told, Morrison has 106 carries this year for 588 yards and six touchdowns.
Morrison said he's happy to be helping the team, but less happy about the circumstances behind him.
"I wanted to get on the field and get more carries, but it's heartbreaking Jae's season had to end like that," he said. "His injury was a big blow to the team. He's a fast player with a quick burst; anything can happen when he has the ball."
Morrison offers a different look. At 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds, he is more of a power back who spends most of his time between the tackles.
That doesn't mean he can't take it outside when he needs to, said Tigers coach Herb Lehman.
"Tyler is a very powerful running back and we knew he was very capable," said Lehman. "He can certainly carry the ball 30 or 40 times a game for us. He has good speed and the ability to get outside. He just chips away at you. Chip, chip, chip. Then he'll burst outside for a big gain. He's excellent at that."
Lehman said the offensive line has also had a big hand in Morrison's recent success.
"It all starts with the offensive line he runs behind," said Lehman. "They've done a great job opening holes for Tyler. Then again, they love to run block. Any offensive lineman will tell you he would much rather go forward than backward (to pass block). (Morrison) runs with his chin up and looks for contact. That is something you want to see from your running back. He's a tough guy and runs hard."
After helping the Tigers to a playoff victory against Lake Washington, Morrison will have a new challenge when he and his teammates take on Orting in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs.
He's not taking it lightly. "They're fast, good and physical," he said.
Lehman expects Morrison to keep working hard and keep helping his team.
"He's really stepped his game up and I expect to see that continue," he said.
Trevor Pyle can be reached at 360-416-2156 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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