A combined 110 points told only part of the story Friday night at Carper Field.

Morton outlasted visiting Pekin 66-44 in a three-hour Mid-Illini Conference football shootout that featured 1,123 yards of total offense — including 668 rushing yards by the Potters — 47 first downs, 24 penalties for 230 yards, and some eye-popping individual statistics.

Morton's three-headed offensive monster of quarterback Nolan Donald, Jarrett Crider and Bradley Getz was nearly unstoppable.

Donald ran for 331 yards on 21 carries. Crider rushed for 185 yards on eight attempts. Each scored four touchdowns. Getz ran for 145 yards on 10 attempts and a touchdown and he tossed in a 74-yard kickoff return for a score for good measure.

Donald didn't need to pass, but he was 3-of-5 for 29 yards.
Meanwhile, Pekin quarterback Quinn Theleritis was 23-of-32 through the air for 248 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for two TD's.

The Dragons' Brad Johnson caught 10 passes for 118 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Sebastian Hill had 11 catches for 92 yards.

Logen Howell was Pekin's leading rusher with 67 yards on eight carries. The senior scored his first career touchdown.

Morton (5-1, 3-1) rebounded from its lone loss of the season, a 41-14 shellacking at the hands of Dunlap, and became playoff-eligible after going winless in 2015 and winning just three games last year.

"This is a big victory after what happened last week," said second-year Morton coach Tim Brilley. "We didn't play against Dunlap the way we're capable of playing."

Pekin (3-3, 2-2) saw its two-game winning streak came to a screeching halt. The Dragons have allowed 152 points in their three losses.
Brilley knew why the Potters won Friday.

"Our offense has a lot of weapons," he said. "We have faith in our offense to carry us."

But how far can the offense carry the Potters?

"Our defense needs to clean up some things. Fixable stuff," Brilley said.

"The guys need to make better decisions. But I thought our defense actually played better tonight than the score indicates. Pekin kept battling. All three of their touchdown passes were perfectly thrown."

Pekin coach Doug Nutter lamented missed tackles and other mistakes made by his team.

But he liked how the Dragons rallied in the second quarter to turn what looked like a Morton rout into only a 25-21 deficit at halftime and fought back after the Potters scored three touchdowns in the first5:22 of the third quarter to take a 46-21 lead.

"We made some adjustments on defense in the second quarter that helped us," Nutter said.

Punts of 63 and 61 yards in the second quarter by Pekin's Nathan Righi that were downed on the Morton 7 and 4 also gave the Dragons opportunities to get back into the game.

Morton's three third-quarter touchdowns -- two of which were set up by interceptions by Tag Grampp and Noah Steffen -- put the Potters back in control.

"We've been a second-half team all year," Brilley said.

Morton's offensive dominance camouflaged a plethora of flags thrown against the Potters. They were penalized 16 times for 170 yards.

Steve Stein can be reached at stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.