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Indians ready for state run

St. Bernard Saints - 2009 Season
Posted Thursday, November 26, 2009 by Mark Allard
 MONTVILLE — The trophy is nice, but it doesn’t exactly have the significance of the state championship trophy Montville quarterback J.P. Morales is hoping to be holding above his head in the next 10 days.

Morales led his Indian teammates to a 48-12 win over rival St. Bernard on Tuesday night. He threw for 212 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another. That effort netted him the Leo “Pete” Plourde Most Valuable Player trophy handed out annually to the top player in the game.

“It feels good,” Morales said smiling, “but it’s small compared to what we want.”

The scene at Montville High was much different than it was just a short year ago when the Indians walked off the St. Bernard field stunned after a 14-12 loss to the Saints. It was a hellacious next 18 hours as the Indians (9-1) had to wait and see if they would make the playoffs or be left on the sidelines.

That won’t happen this year as a playoff berth is assured.

“The last game of the regular season, so much always hinges upon it,” Montville coach Tanner Grove said. “It’s a rivalry week type of thing so when you lose that game, it’s tough, and it has been tough for us. This year, we set some goals for ourselves to walk through the front door to the playoffs and I think we did that (Tuesday night).”

The Indians didn’t want to give winless St. Bernard much hope and didn’t mind giving potential opponents a little taste of what they can do through the air as well as on the ground.

That’s two of the reasons why the Indians came out throwing, the third was that Morales came over to Grove after he swept left for 22 yards to say that “(St. Bernard) has nine guys on the line of scrimmage.”

“They had man-to-man on islands on our receivers,” Grove said. “I told him to put it in the air.”

Morales did so and found Robert Johnson open down the left sideline. The ball went into his receiver’s hands and popped out.

“I asked him what happened,” Morales said with a chuckle. “He said, ‘it just hit me in the chest.’ ”

After a sack pushed Morales and the Indians back 14 yards to their own 42-yard line. Morales passed to Shawn Clang for 19 yards and then went right back to Johnson on a slant. Johnson shed one tackler and found his way into the end zone for a 39-yard score.

“It felt nice; I felt like I made up for the dropped pass,” Johnson said.

His penance didn’t end there as St. Bernard (0-10) went three downs and out to give Montville the ball at the Indians’ 39. After a penalty backed them up a yard, Morales found Johnson again for a 62-yard touchdown.

“He came on early and was catching touchdowns all the time and people thought he couldn’t drop one until he did against Ledyard and the whole world stopped for a second and said, ‘Did he miss that?’ ” Grove said. “But you know what, there was no pouting or kicking; it was, ‘OK, what’s next?’ ”

The Indians hadn’t even handed the ball to Tyler Girard-Floyd or Skyler McNair and they were up 14-0.

“To come out the way we did and continue to put it on them was good,” Morales said of the early lead.

It was Girard-Floyd’s turn next as he dominated the following possession with five carries culminating in a 2-yard touchdown blast. Morales added a 64-yard pass to Clang for another score and then took it in himself from five yards away in the final three seconds of the half to give the Indians the 34-6 halftime lead.

“Montville’s an extremely talented program,” St. Bernard coach Sean Ladyga said. “Our guys never backed down and that’s what we wanted to do from the first play of the game. Our philosophy was to shut down the running game and make them beat us in the air — they beat us in the air early.”


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