With Morrell’s announcement that this would be his final year as a high school coach, tonight’s game is the final time he is guaranteed the chance to lead the Grizzlies onto the field at home.
“Well, I try not to think about it, to be honest,” Morrell said. “I just keep going about my job on a day-to-day basis and keep trying to improve the kids so that we can play another game at home.”
A win against Forsyth Central (2-5, 2-1) would ensure Creekview (6-1, 3-0) the No. 1 seed for the Nov. 9 region play-in game, which would be at the No. 4 seed of the southern subregion. A win there would then guarantee a home game for the first round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.
Lose the play-in game, and Creekview’s season — and Morrell’s career — would come to a close.
“Well, it’s great to know that we control our own destiny,” Morrell said. “We don’t have to count on anybody else. The kids know that, so now we’re just focusing on this one game. A win (tonight) would be huge. Being the top seed in the subregion would mean a lot.”
A loss tonight would send the Grizzlies into a three way tie with Forsyth Central and the winner of tonight’s Northview-Sequoyah contest with one game to go.
That’s a scenario that Morrell does not want to deal with.
“If we happen to lose, there are several teams that will be 3-1, which would create some tiebreaker scenarios. That is a situation that we don’t want to be in.”
For Creekview to win tonight, Morrell believes it will have to slow Forsyth Central’s rushing attack, which is a combination of the Wing-T and option offenses.
This has forced Morrell and his assistants to prepare for two different offensive schemes that are usually read in different ways by a defense.
“It puts the defense in conflict,” Morrell said. “When you defend the Wing-T, you can hang your hat on certain reads to get to the ball. But, against the option, your players have to read something a bit different. It’s going to be tough to defend.”
Offensively, the Grizzlies will rely on usual playmakers such as quarterback Hayden Hall and wide receivers Hunter Udall and Connor Dulmage, but they will have one notable name missing.
Trent Gilleland, a usual defensive starter who often comes in as a running back, won’t be playing on the offensive side of the ball due to a deep bone bruise in his left knee.
One of the many reasons Morrell hopes Creekview can win tonight is so that they can rest players next week against North Springs — a game that wouldn’t affect the subregion standings if the Grizzlies already have the No. 1 seed in hand.
“We have a lot of kids beat up right now. Both of our inside linebackers haven’t practiced this week,” Morrell said. “Obviously we’d go out and try to win our last game against North Springs, but if we had to keep a couple of kids out to let them heal up, then we would do it so they would be ready for the play-in game.”
In the event that tonight is Morrell’s final home game, the school has invited past football players for a postgame celebration of Morrell’s time at the school, and speakers will address the coach and the crowd.