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Cardinals can't overcome QB's injury

Randolph learned the hard way just how valuable Blake Morrison was to his team Friday night.

With their senior quarterback hobbled with a pulled hamstring, the Cardinals fell to undefeated Bolivar-Richburg, 35-14, in the Class D game at the Far West Regionals. The game was played before an estimated 600 at Paetec Park.

Randolph (8-3) had won eight in a row after dropping its first two games to Portville and Maple Grove.

Morrison had been receiving physical therapy treatment in Olean all week hoping he'd recover from the injury suffered in the first half of last weekend's game against Portville at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Hardly a deep team with only 24 on the roster, Randolph looked to senior Cody Johnson to quarterback the team. The 5-foot-7, 135-pound Johnson had been playing flanker. Morrison played a couple series at linebacker in the first half before heading to the sideline for good.

"It really hurts. I can hardly move," he said. "It's so cold out it tightened right up. I thought I was going to be ready to play. I got out here and I really couldn't do anything."

Morrison wasn't just Randolph's top player, he was its unquestionable leader. He was a sophomore on Randolph's state championship team in 2005. This season he had rushed for 582 yards and 10 touchdowns, threw for 274 yards and had two punt returns for scores. He was also one of the team's top defenders.

Randolph found itself matched against a team that was as fond of the run as it was. The Wolverines, running out of the wishbone, kept the ball on the ground gaining 257 yards. Randolph was successful moving the ball on the ground as well with 302 yards.

Matt Hettenbough led Randolph with 158 yards. He scored Randolph's first touchdown on a 2-yard run in the first quarter. Randolph's other score came on a 39-yard pass from Johnson to Chris Erdmann.

The playoffs had truly been a second season for Randolph. They surprised Maple Grove, 11-7, in the Section VI Class D semifinals and dominated Portville in the final, 30-0, to win the sectional title at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Randolph coach Pat Slater completed his 28th season. He has won six sectional crowns, including three in the past five seasons.

e-mail: mmonnin@buffnews.com

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