If you didn't know better, you’d think Taren Morrison was trying to run up the score by himself.
With seven touchdowns and 155 yards rushing, it would be easy to think that. But the Desert Ridge running back had six of those scores in the first half and then played one series in the second half, scoring again. It was a depleted Mountain View team that didn't seem to have an answer Friday night.
"They didn't know it was coming -- I just cut back on them, went right up the middle, scored touchdowns," Morrison said, making it sound easy.
Working with good field position all night, Morrison didn't have to run far, and as has been the case all season, Desert Ridge routed its opponent. The Jaguars -- fifth in the power points rankings and not likely to move -- capped a 9-1 regular season with a 56-13 win over Mountain View.
The Toros limp into the playoffs -- they were seeded 11th going into the game -- having lost nine players to injury for the season and hoping to get a couple back for their first-round game next Friday. After a 5-1 start, Mountain View lost three of four as players dropped like flies.
Meanwhile, Desert Ridge outscored its opponents by an average of four touchdowns per game. Outside of the loss to nationally ranked Serra of Southern California and a 17-7 win over Red Mountain, the Jaguars were not tested much of the year.
“Our schedule really wasn’t as good as it should have been,” Morrison said. “We didn’t play as many good teams.”
In this game, Mountain View had no answer for the speedy, powerful Morrison. Playing without brother Tarek in the backfield, Taren Morrison found a few different ways to score. The Toros helped by giving the Jaguars a short field on numerous occasions, but it may not have mattered, as Desert Ridge coach Jeremy Hathcock kept calling Morrison’s number.
“He kept giving me the ball, and on every opportunity (I) got into the end zone,” Morrison said.
Hathcock admitted that Morrison got some help on Friday, including great play from the offensive line.
“We had short fields all night, so he didn’t get to rack up the stats like he normally does,” Hathcock said. “I know it sounds selfish to say, but he really is an electrifying runner and we are blessed to have him.”
Morrison has more than 1,800 yards rushing on the season to go along with 30 touchdowns.
The Jaguars started quickly on Friday, recovering an onside kick to open the game and getting to the Mountain View 25-yard line. Morrison needed just three plays to score from there.
And that was just the start.
Desert Ridge got the ball back after a short punt and scored in five plays. When Mountain View tried to pin them deep, the Jaguars responded with a 90-yard drive, sparked by a 52-yard pass play from backup sophomore QB Tate Shumway to tight end Holden Acosta.
Another short punt gave Desert Ridge the ball at midfield. On the fifth play, Morrison broke off his fourth TD run of the night, from 24 yards out. Mountain View turned it over on downs on the next series after getting whistled for offensive pass interference. You can figure out the rest.
By halftime, Morrison had 147 yards rushing and all six of the Jaguars’ touchdowns.
Wideout Clark Brown and running back Brock Westover did not play Friday for Mountain View but should be ready for the playoffs, said coach Chad DeGrenier.
One bright spot for the Toros was junior Caleb Daniels, who ran for 117 yards and the team's two touchdowns.
“With Brock and Caleb running the ball well, he’s starting to improve, so that’s good,” DeGrenier said. “So it gives us a good running game going into next week with Brock and him.
"We’ll be good. Hopefully we play somebody we've played just to give our kids something.”
Desert Ridge 56, Mountain View 13
First Downs: DR 15, MV 10
Rushing: DR 55-422, MV 20-170
Passing (Comp.-Att.-TD-INT): DR 3-7-0-1-39, MV 10-29-0-1-84
Fumbles-lost: DR 1-0, MV 2-0
Penalties-yards: DR 7-70, MV 6-52
DR 21 21 7 7 -- 56
MV 0 7 0 6 -- 13
DR -- Taren Morrison 2 run (Whitlow kick)
DR -- Taren Morrison 7 run (Whitlow kick)
DR -- Taren Morrison 7 run (Whitlow kick)
DR -- Taren Morrison 24 run (Whitlow kick)
DR -- Taren Morrison 5 run (Whitlow kick)
MV – Daniels 65 run (Bustillos kick)
DR -- Taren Morrison 34 run (Whitlow kick)
DR – Kerekes 1 run (Whitlow kick)
MV – Daniels 2 run (no PAT)