Lions get new lair, look for more improvement
     2013-08-29      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Doug Harris/Gering Citizen - The 2013 Morrill Lions football team members are front row from the left, Christian Perez, Jorge Lara, Victor Valles, Justus Petersen, Manny Ramirez, Eric Cantu, Colton Miller; back row: Ryan McMackin, Josh Harvey, Jordan Rohde, Elvariste Gomez, Jake Hoffman, Thalor Mendoza, Jackson Carpenter, Garrett Zwiebel, Matt Hessler, Alex Moore, Louis Villarreal. Not Pictured: Alex Knouse, Aaron Lopez, Riley Deboer, Lorenzo Mendoza. 
MORRILL — The lights were on at Morrill's new football field Monday night for the Lions' scrimmage, which gave 11th-year coach Tom Peacock and staff a chance to see what the Lions have in store for their second eight-man season.

The field, just outside the high school, will serve as the site for Morrill's season opener Friday night against Hay Springs. The Lions are coming off a 3-5 season after going winless for three years, the latter of which ended with three forfeit losses because of a lack of depth.

"It was all because the community pulled together and the donations we received and businesses that pitched in, and it was a great night for our scrimmage, and we look forward to Friday night." said Peacock, who returned to the sidelines last season, and for the start of the Lions' era in Class D1, after a two-season hiatus focusing on being Morrill's athletic director.

"We got a chance to go live under the lights like it will be Friday night," Peacock added of seeing his 22 players get to tackle game speed. "I know we're really young, but these young kids have really stepped up and worked pretty hard to get where they are now."

Morrill's schedule as a whole is home friendly as well, with the Lions playing Hay Springs in Friday night's season opener, and Crawford coming south on Sept. 13 after Morrill has an open week in between.

Junior Matt Hessler, at 275 pounds and a state wrestling qualifier, will anchor the Lions' front line on both sides of the ball. Junior rusher Jorge Lara, Seniors Taylor Mendoza, Colton Miller and Eric Cantu played in different roles.

"With the combination of those five guys in different spots, with the sophomores coming up, I think we'll put together a pretty competitive group," Peacock said.

One of those sophomores includes Garrett Zwiebel, who will get the call at quarterback.

"They have stepped into their roles as young guys, and it's been quite the learning experience for them," Peacock. said. "We've probably had to take some steps back and do some more teaching than if we had some more experienced coming back, but it's been a good result."

Morrill schedule

Aug. 30 Hay Springs, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6 Open
Sept. 13 Crawford, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Potter-Dix, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 Stapleton-McPherson County, 6 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Paxton, 5 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Maxwell, 5 p.m.
Oct. 18 Hemingord, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 Sutherland, 6 p.m.

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