June 15, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

PHOTOS: Orange senior Ardwon Morris rushes for seven TDs in key league win over Estancia

Orange running back Ardwon Morris punches in his fourth touchdown of the first half as Estancia’s Roy Brown pursues in the closing stages of the second quarter Saturday night.  (Photos: Fernando M. Donado, For OC Sports Zone).

Orange High School senior Ardwon Morris knew he had accomplished something special Saturday night after scoring seven touchdowns and rushing for more than 400 yards in his team’s 59-20 Orange Coast League victory over Estancia at Fred Kelly Stadium.

“I was counting,” Morris said with a slight laugh confirming he was aware he had rushed for seven TDs.

A 73-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter gave him officially 409 yards on 33 carries and his seventh TD. (The final total was adjusted slightly lower by Orange coaches after review of videotapes Sunday).

Morris, who has committed to Sacramento State, was quick to credit his teammates.

“Shout-out to the O-Line,” Morris said. “Our offensive line came a long way from injuries to minor mistakes, but I couldn’t do it without my offensive line. Everything goes to them.”

Morris said he had a five touchdown game vs. Pacifica this season.

To see the slide show, click on the first photo:

Morris had touchdown runs of 5, 4, 38 and 3 yards in the first half to help the Panthers build a 33-0 hafltime lead. Then he had TD runs of 53, 18 and 73 yards in the second half to seal the win for Orange (4-4, 3-1).

Orange Coach Robert Pedroza said he’s never had a player score seven touchdowns in his nine years at Orange.

“It was a great game by him,” he said. “He’s done it all year and our O-line did a great job up front tonight and I was happy to see us run the ball well tonight. I think our defense has been struggling lately giving up some bad plays on the defensive side but I felt they came in ready to play tonight and we really shut them down for three quarters and once we subbed out a little bit, they got rolling a little bit.

“But I was really happy with the way our defense played tonight.”

Junior quarterback Hype Grand was also solid for the Panthers, passing for 135 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for one score and had 48 yards rushing. Wesley Lundell caught all 10 passes, including a 5-yard TD pass from Grand in the second quarter. Lundell, a sophomore, also had an interception on defense.

“Hype is amazing, he’s a dual threat quarterback and he’s been able to throw the ball with some success lately and he’s a big part of that and obviously Wesley Lundell is a big-time receiver and they clicked tonight, Saturday games are always tricky, you don’t know what you’re going to get but I’m really proud of the way we played.”

The victory helped Orange (4-4, 3-1) remain tied with St. Margaret’s for second place in the league with two weeks left in the regular season.

Trailing 40-0, Estancia (4-4, 1-3) came to life in the third quarter when Bennett Molica returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. Morris countered with his 53-yard TD to make it 47-6.

But Estancia quarterback Riley Witte connected with Trey Sanchez on a 62-yard TD pass. The Eagles then recovered an onside and later closed the gap to 47-20 on a 7-yard TD run by Isaiah Brown early in the fourth quarter.

However, Morris countered with two more scores to seal the win.

“I’m very proud of him, on senior night, It’s fitting how hard he works and what a great leader he is and it couldn’t have happened to a better person,” Pedroza said. “It was pretty impressive and fun to watch.”

“We came out prepared, we came off a couple losses when it didn’t really go how we wanted it so this game really was a dog-fight, we needed to win this one,” added Morris.


—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com