Limiting the opposition to a one-dimension attack usually leads to success, but not when that one dimension is Kolby Morgan.
The Oneida High School running back was able to run through the Greenback defense Friday night as the Cherokees dropped a 21-7 decision on the road.
Morgan rushed for 268 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries. The rest of Oneida's offense rushers accounted for negative yardage and quarterback Colten Daugherty completed two passes to Greenback defenders versus one to his teammates.
Greenback (1-3) could not stop Morgan. The defense kept Oneida (3-0) off the scoreboard in the first half thanks to three turnovers, but Morgan scored on runs covering 3, 61 and 32 yards down the final stretch as the Oneida line wore down the Cherokees.
“I give 100 percent of the credit to my O-line,” Morgan said. “We all came out kind of slow in the first half, but after halftime it was like I was running through the biggest holes of my life, on every play.”
Morgan’s value to the Indians was most apparent on the biggest scoring threat of the first half. A 27-yard outside run with Morgan cutting back inside sharply gave Oneida a first down at the Greenback 9 yard line. Morgan was injured on the play. Two replacement backs gained just one yard on two attempts, Daugherty was sacked and a field goal attempt fell short.
Morgan returned on the next Oneida possession but a penalty thwarted that drive. With Greenback having little success on offense, Oneida had another possession end on an interception by Blake Fields.
After the break, Oneida gave up any pretense of variety, often avoiding any middleman and running Morgan from direct snaps. The Indians ran the workhorse on all seven carries of the first touchdown drive with just over five minutes to play in the third quarter.
Greenback picked up its first first down of the half early in the fourth quarter, but followed that progress with a penalty, one of 12 against the Cherokees.
Another first down moved Greenback into Indian territory on its next drive, but the Cherokees were stuffed on a 4th-and-1.
On the next play, Morgan hit inside, broke out and raced clear to the Oneida fieldhouse on his longest run of the night, covering 61 yards.
Greenback put together a 10-play, 55-yard drive, with freshman quarterback Brennan Duggan dashing 24 yards for the first Cherokee touchdown of the season. That drive was kept alive when Fields jumped high and held on after being hit for a crucial reception on a 4th-and-11 gamble near midfield.
An onside-kick attempt nearly worked but the ball skittered out of bounds. Oneida again leaned totally on Morgan to go 65 yards in five plays for the insurance score.
Greenback finished with 216 total yards and eight first downs. Seven different backs combined for 133 yards on 44 carries. Duggan finished with 83 yards on eight completions and one interception in 19 attempts.
After the game, the Cherokees spent a long period inside their dressing room with coach Greg Ryan addressing them. The Cherokees should have motivation aplenty when traveling next week to face Oliver Springs. After opening the season exclusively against larger class 2A and 5A schools, the Cherokees get a chance for the first on-field victory of the season against the rival Bobcats.