WORCESTER — He was the smallest guy on the Worcester Academy field — and on most fields when Governor’s Academy plays — but Elijah Morrissey was nearly unstoppable in a 42-27 win over Cheshire (Conn.) Academy Friday night in the Tom Flaherty Bowl.
With 16 Governor’s players at 6 feet or taller, including four threats on offense, the one that Cheshire coach David Dykeman was worried about came in at 5-8, 180 pounds.
“He looks like he’s shot out of a cannon,” Dykeman said. “He’s a small guy, but he plays extremely hard. We just couldn’t wrap him up.”
Morrissey bounced off defensive linemen like a pinball, routinely pushing for extra yardage with a linebacker clinging to his legs. Even with Cory Jasudowich — the 6-2, 235-pound Cheshire senior who was committed to Boston College until this week, when he announced he would instead be attending the University of Connecticut — across the line of scrimmage, Morrissey wasn’t once brought down on first contact.
Positioned as the two back in the Govs’ triple-stack formation — three running backs in a row, straight behind the quarterback — the undersized Morrissey carried 24 times for 117 yards and a touchdown.
“He doesn’t get tackled by one guy very often,” said Governor’s coach Jim O’Leary, who is 18-0 in two seasons. “Those 3- to 4-yard runs turn into 7- to 8-yard runs very quickly.”
Senior quarterback Tate Jozokos, who O’Leary believes could play Division 1 football if he wasn’t committed to play lacrosse at the University of North Carolina, took the opening kickoff 80 yards to the Cheshire 15-yard line. Morrissey punched in a 1-yard score.
Later in the first quarter, with Cheshire beginning to stack the box, Jozokos faked a handoff and found tight end Colin Smith open down the center of the field for a 50-yard reception.
Governor’s ran a similar play on the next snap and Smith leaped to haul in a 7-yard score to retake the lead, 14-7.
The Fighting Cats countered with a pair of Leaon Gordon 20-plus-yard touchdown runs, but behind Ryan Macri and a powerful offensive line, the Govs eventually ran away with this one. Literally.
They threw just five times in 42 offensive plays. If it wasn’t Morrissey up the middle, it was Jozokos breaking outside. He ran 13 times for 125 yards and three scores.
“They run an offense where they run you, they run you, and they run you until you start to not pay attention for a rep, and they hit you on a pass,” said Dykeman. “We tried to make adjustments, but they weren’t good enough today.”
Morrissey is committed to Boston University to play for its inaugural varsity lacrosse team in 2013.
“I’ve known what size I’ve been my whole life,” he said. “That’s how I adapted. I figured, I might as well show them I’m here.”