VELMA — VELMA — Coming into the 2008 football season, Dillon Morgan had played a total of eight games at quarterback.
Back in August, Morgan was in a three-way battle to be the starting quarterback for the Velma-Alma Comets. Attrition took care of one candidate, and Dustin Sloan went down with a broken leg in the fourth week of the season.
Forced to be the full-time signal caller, Morgan responded with 798 yards pass-ing and 372 rushing. Morgan completed more than 50 percent of his passes and threw 10 touchdown passes to four interceptions.
Not only was Morgan adjusting to starting at quarterback, he also had to adjust to being a starting safety.
On the defensive side of the ball, Morgan recorded 69 tackles and pulled down four interceptions en route to becoming The Duncan Banner’s Newcomer of the Year.
“I was pretty nervous at first,” Morgan said. “I settled in probably around the middle of the year.”
Morgan said that he did have some on-field problems to overcome.
“I had to get better at taking care of the ball,” he said. “I fumbled the ball quite a bit at the first of the season.”
There was also adjusting to playing high school football instead of playing junior high.
“I had a lot more responsibility,” Morgan said. “I was trying to be a leader. There is a lot more at stake in high school. The gold ball at the end of the year is what you want.”
As a quarterback, Morgan said that he was comfortable running the ball from the very begining of the season.
“I ran well,” he said. “When I was throwing the ball, I’d get in a hurry sometimes and not pay attention. At other times, it was just there.”
Those early struggles didn’t really bother V-A head coach Greg Gothard.
“I’ve said it before, sometimes you have to make mistakes to learn,” Gothard said. “I had to remind myself and him, that he’d only played eight games at quarterback, and that was in junior high. I think he’d been a running back before that. Dillon is a great competitor and he did a great job for us. He got better every week. He threw the ball well.”
With only two seniors on the team, Morgan was left to his own devices for the most part.
“I would have like a little guidance at first,” he said. “Once we got settled in, I was a lot more comfortable. There were a couple of new plays and different techniques. We just sharpened them up a little bit.”
With a season full of ups and downs, Morgan thinks things might have turned out differently had the schedule shaken out diffrently.
“I think if we had played Maysville and Ringling the last two weeks of the season, we would have beaten them,” Morgan said.
Looking forward to the 2009 season, Morgan has high hopes and has a plan to get to the state championship game.
“We have to play like we did at Hinton,” he said. “We have to treat every game the same, from Game 1 to the last. We have to treat every game like it was the state championship game.”