Just about everything went right for Times No. 8 E.C. Central on Friday night in its 40-0 trouncing of Morton.
The lights accidentally went out, darkening the entire field, but it didn’t matter to the visiting Cardinals, who got to sing their school song in the end zone after winning their first Great Lakes Athletic Conference title.
East Chicago senior QB Devonte Jones accounted for 248 yards of total offense and four TDs in the rout while senior RB Tylee Rimmer added 92 rushing yards, a defensive TD, and another TD catch.
“We have a heck of a team, caught a couple breaks and took advantage,” E.C. Central coach Jay Novak said.
East Chicago (4-1, 4-0) scored on its first three possessions including the tone-setting first series, which consisted of ten plays for 76 yards and was capped by a Jones 9-yard TD run.
The Cardinals moved the chains four times in the pivotal first drive and notched 19 first downs for the game.
“Since day one this team has worked hard in the weight room and have bought into the strength and conditioning program with Joe Fabian and Rich Peterson,” Novak said. “We’re starting see the fruits of our hard labor.”
After Cardinals junior running back Sydrick Sinclair added a 4-yard TD run at the beginning of the second quarter, Morton (3-3, 2-1) went for it on fourth down on the ensuing possession and didn’t convert, subsequently giving E.C. the ball on the Morton 35.
“The lines played a big part tonight and it started with us,” said senior right guard and defensive tackle James London. “We like to run the ball a lot and the coaches tell us to fire out with our hands. (Winning the GLAC) feels great and we’re just getting started.”
East Chicago quickly put up another score just five plays later on a Jones 8-yard run.
Morton senior QB Tevin Armstrong left the game with an apparent ankle injury.
The fourth quarter saw Rimmer haul in an 11-yard TD pass from Jones and he also recovered a fumble and ran it back 33 yards with 3:33 left in the game.
Since the GLAC’s inception in 2007, the Governors had won seven of the previous nine conference titles.
“Sophomore year everyone was trying to find themselves,” said Jones, who ran for 126 yards and three scores. “Last year we turned into a family and this year it’s a brotherhood.”
8:03 1Q: Devonte Jones faked a QB draw, lowered his should and knocked over a Morton defender, bounced it outside and ran for 20 yards.
1:06 1Q: Jones connected with WR Steven Jones on a 26-yard pass on a 4th-and-9, preserving East Chicago’s second touchdown drive.
3:07 2Q: Morton went for it on a fourth down, but QB Tevin Armstrong was sacked.
1:58 2Q: Facing yet another long fourth down, the Cardinals went for a fake punt and Jones connected with Jordan Velez on a 23-yard pass.
9:36 3Q: Facing a 4th-and-4, Jones got the first down on a 7-yard run, preserving East Chicago’s third TD drive.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
E.C. Central QB Devonte Jones: 122 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 126 rushing yards, 3 rushing TDs
E.C. Central RB Tylee Rimmer: 8 carries, 92 yards, 1 reception TD, 1 fumble recovery TD
Morton RB Eric Lowe: 57 rushing yards
Prior to Friday night, Morton had won five straight over East Chicago.
Prior to 2016, Morton had won seven of the nine football conference titles overall in the GLAC, which was created in 2007.
E.C. Central has won three straight since its 20-18 loss to Lafayette Jefferson.
E.C. Central (4-1) at Indianapolis Northwest (4-2), 6:30 p.m.
Lowell (2-4) at Morton (3-3), 7 p.m.
— Paul Honeycutt