Friday Night Hero: Salisbury's Romar Morris
By Ronnie Gallagher
As soon as Romar Morris hauled in the screen pass from John Knox, Salisbury football coach Joe Pinyan began thinking of the next play.
“I know when Romar gets the ball in the open field to turn around and tell Frankie (Cardelle) to get his tee,” Pinyan said. “It’s only a matter of seconds before we kick the extra point.”
That was exactly the scenario on the last play of the third quarter Monday in what eventually became a 28-25 victory over the Lexington Yellow Jackets.
With seconds dwindling down in the period, Lexington led the unbeaten Hornets 25-14 and appeared on its way to first place in the CCC.
Seventy yards from the goal line, Pinyan realized Salisbury needed a big play, not only to energize the Hornets, but the large crowd that came to watch the first-place showdown.
Why not try getting the ball to the fastest player in the league?
Pinyan was well aware that Morris ran the 100 meters in 10.7 seconds back in the spring as a freshman. If Knox could just get the ball to him ….
“I don’t think there are too many high school players who will catch him,” Pinyan said. “He has unbelievable speed.”
The Yellow Jackets seemed vulnerable to the screen pass.
“Lexington was taking away the run and committing eight, nine people to it,” Pinyan said. “The linebackers were sucking up in there.”
Pinyan had called the same screen pass earlier to Dario Hamilton, and a big gainer had been called back due to a penalty. This time there was no penalty.
“The middle was wide open,” Morris said. “For a split second, I saw a crease and turned up my speed.”
Just like that, it was 25-20 and Salisbury was rejuvenated.
“It was pandemonium,” Pinyan said. “The whole place was going nuts.”
“It shifted momentum,” Morris added.
Midway through the fourth quarter, another short pass to A.J. Ford turned into an 88-yard score that gave Salisbury the lead for good.
Pinyan was quick to point out Morris was an important part of that score, too.
“He and Dario had key blocks,” said Pinyan, again pointing to the speed of Morris. “He blocked one guy, then ran ahead of A.J. and blocked another. Now that’s fast.”
But it was Morris’ catch-and-run that was the biggest play of the game.
“Winning is what Romar is all about,” Pinyan said. “He’s a fierce competitor.”
Morris was winning way back before football.
“When I was little,” he said with a grin, “me and my cousin would run. We’d sprint and see who was the fastest.”
Morris was. And he still is.
He’ll be a favorite to win the sprints in CCC track when spring comes. But for now, he’s Pinyan’s guy. And he’ll be the first to say his coach motivated him against Lexington.
“Pinyan always gives great halftime speeches,” Morris said with a smile.
It certainly pumped up Morris. His speed pumped up the crowd and turned a sure loss into a win.
“He just has a different gear when the game’s on the line,” Pinyan said.
A gear that has Salisbury alone in first.