MORGANTOWN — It was a moment Jaylon Hill will never forget.
The clock was ticking down and his Morgantown Mohigans were clinging to a lead late in last week’s high school football game against Bridgeport.
Bridgeport’s Zach Rohrig had been a workhorse all game and with the game on the line, the Mohigans knew the ball would be in his hands.
On Rohrig’s 33rd carry of the night, with 1:19 left in regulation, he took a handoff and ran off his blockers, but into a bevy of MHS defenders. Seniors Caleb Nutter and Marcus Ullom were able to get their hands on Rohrig and disrupt the play. The ball came loose and Hill, a fellow senior, came flying in to recover the fumble and secure the victory.
“It was thrilling,” Hill said. “Coming out with the ball, the crowd cheering and just knowing that fumble recovery sealed the game — it felt great.”
There were several other big moments in this game, but Hill and MHS head coach Sean Biser both acknowledge that it was a total team effort, headed up by defensive coordinator Adam King’s game plan.
“Everyone stepped up in this win and did their jobs, so we executed great as a team,” Hill said. “Our scout team offense worked really hard to give us a good look day in and day out of practice to be prepared for a good Bridgeport offense.”
The Indians did what they do best, still gaining over 230 yards on the night and Rohrig finished with 185 rushing yards, lifting him to more than 2,200 for his career. The Morgantown defense had to hold tight and not let up, especially to defend an early 15-0 lead.
Biser said they never got complacent.
“They’re playing hard and they’re playing for each other,” Biser said. “Just getting the reps and playing out there gives them more confidence each time.”
That’s been the case for Hill, as he is getting more playing time as a senior.
“Working out with the team in the offseason and carrying that into the first two weeks is what improved my overall performance, knowledge of the game and execution,” Hill said. “I really focused on getting bigger and improving my speed.”
Hill spent previous years playing on special teams, a unit that should never be overlooked. Even in the Bridgeport win, special teams came through in big moments, like on a two-point conversion attempt when kicker Aidan Stire ran it in and spotted the ball on a botched snap when the Indians were looking to punt.
“We put a great focus on special teams,” Biser said. “John Fowkes is our special teams guy and he gets them fired up. Not every kid wants to play special teams, but he makes sure to stress the importance of playing special teams every game.”
A battle of the unbeatens awaits Morgantown this week, hosting 2-0 Musselman. The Applemen also had big defensive stops in their week two overtime victory against Loudoun Valley (VA). Musselman intercepted a pass in the waning seconds to force overtime and Zavier Pollard picked off a pass to secure the victory, 22-15, in the extra frame.
The MHS defense has to be prepared for a unique rushing attack from the Applemen, led by dual-threat quarterback Eli Fleming, Blake Sanders and Zachary Miller.
“They’re pretty athletic and they play really hard,” Biser said. “They run the ball really well. They get off blocks and take off. They create problems on offense because they run several different packages.”
Morgantown enters the game 2-0 for the second consecutive season. Musselman came out with a 36-33 win in week four last year, Morgantown’s first loss of the 2022 campaign.
BY MATTHEW PEASLEE