Morrill Lions move to eight-man offers opportunity
     2012-08-23      By Terry Gaston   
The numbers on the playing field may have dropped for the Morrill Lions football team, but the chance to be more competitive and perhaps break a three-year winless streak brought forth more players for preseason workouts than last year’s injury-depleted, curtailed-schedule campaign.
“We’ve had 24 kids out for two-a-days,” said Morrill coach Tom Peacock, who returns to the sidelines after spending the past two years as the Lions’ athletic director — a position which he still holds, but his first with the joint duties. He previously coached Morrill from 2001-09.
After suffering through three 0-8 seasons — including last year that ended with three forfeits because of the Lions’ depleted lineup — the move to eight-man Class D1 has already given the team and the Morrill townsfolk more optimism when the Lions begin their season at home Aug. 31 against Banner County.
“It has been really good for the school and there’s just a been a renewed excitement in the kids, not so much that the level of play is any different, but I think they see being able to compete against teams that are more our size,” Peacock said.
One of the benefits of the injury-plagued 2012 campaign was that Jorge Lora filled in at quarterback as a freshman when Taylor Lackey went down. Lackey returns at quarterback, while Lora moves into the backfield as a sophomore.
Returning seniors besides Lackey are Alex Gonzales at running back and Austin Descharme at defensive back. Two seniors who have returned to football since their freshman year in running back Sheldon Le and receiver Andres Martinez.
Other returnees include sophomore Matt Hessler and senior Brandon Mills on the line, with junior Thalor Mendoza at center.
“We don’t know what to expect and the other teams don’t know what to expect from us,” Peacock said. “In our minds, we are going to be better. It has created a lot of excitement in the community, and I do think there will be good things, regardless of our season outcome.

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