Sussex Tech: Morris ready to make an impact on both sides of field

GEORGETOWN – Heading into his senior year at Sussex Tech, Tyzhir Morris is looking to lead the Ravens’ football program back to the postseason following last fall’s 5-5 campaign.

Morris, though being pushed in the preseason quarterback competition by sophomore Ricky Kane, wants to play all four quarters on both sides of the football.

Starting at quarterback as a junior wasn’t enough for Morris, he wants to make an impact on defense as well.

“Tyzhir grew so much last year as a quarterback, and as a leader, he’s come out this year and has competed. He’s getting pushed by sophomore Ricky Kane, which I think has just made Tyzhir even better,” said Tech head coach Mark Quillin. “He wants to play both ways for four quarters. I love his competitiveness, his spirit, he’s a great leader for us.”

Morris is seeing first team reps at both quarterback and free safety, although getting back into the groove on the defensive side of the ball may take a few more reps.

His performance in Tech’s home scrimmage against William Penn Thursday, Aug. 24 was a step in the right direction.

“Right now, he’s our man on offense and defense,” said coach Quillin following the scrimmage. “He proved tonight he’s able to go at least a half on both sides of the ball.”

“It’s been pretty fun,” Morris said of the QB competition with Kane. “We both elevate each other, that competition brings us to the next level. Ricky is my guy, so if they go with him [at quarterback] I’m going to still root for him.”

Tyzhir grew up playing on the defensive side of the ball, but he has had to re-learn a few things this preseason.

He’s a quick learner, though.

“He’s really a coach out there in the secondary,” said coach Quillin. “He sets our defense up correctly. Him and I have a great relationship as well, so we’re able to sit down after classes – or even before. He’s always the first one in the locker room. I tell him something once and I never have to tell him again.”

“Honestly, it’s just boring to me not playing both ways,” Morris said, with a laugh. “I want to be able to control the game on all aspects – offense, defense, special teams – I like to be effective any way I can.

“I forgot how physical it is [on defense], and how hard it is to tackle, but it’s something I can get right back into with more reps and practice. I just want us to play at a higher level than we did last year. I want to play quicker and more physical, and try to take away that aerial threat. Last year we got beat deep too many times, we couldn’t tackle and I just want to try to change that.”

After losing 13 seniors from a year ago, Mark Quillin’s squad has gotten younger. And with a five-win season last year, they’re hungrier now too.

The mixture of youth and a strong senior class could be the recipe for a turn-around season at Tech.

“This is a great group of seniors coming out here,” said coach Quillin. “One of the blessings we’ve had is we had a very large junior class last year. A lot of those juniors played varsity last year, then we had 12 or 13 seniors. The mixture with those 23 juniors gave them great game experience.”

This year’s senior class got a taste of what it feels like to win the conference championship as freshmen.

“Our team won the Henlopen Conference when these kids were freshmen,” coach said. “We pulled up seven or eight of those freshmen to experience that, and they came to me and said they’d really like to duplicate what they experienced as freshmen.”

With so much talent in the Henlopen Conference, a five-win team can easily get overlooked.

Sussex Tech knows this, and they’re ready to play the underdog role this season.

“We went 5-5 last year, but we’re ready to turn heads and open eyes. We’re ready to win the North,” Morris said.

Tech will play one final scrimmage Thursday, Aug. 31 at 4 p.m. against Indian River. The Ravens will play host to Milford (9-1 last season) in the team’s season-opener Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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