INGLEWOOD >> Morningside stifled visiting Gardena’s offense all night, getting two touchdowns each from Adarrus Wilson and quarterback Jerome Rousborgh to stay undefeated with a 33-14 win Friday in a nonleague game.
“We knew that they had four plays that they run a lot and their key player was (Nehemiah Ross), so we just kept four guys in the box that we knew were going to take care of him,” Morningside coach Lafayette Fletcher said of the Monarchs’ stout run defense.
Morningside (4-0) jumped out fast with Wilson catching a 50-yard touchdown pass to put Morningside on the board early. Linebacker Kaylin Spinks scooped up a Gardena fumble late in the quarter and ran it back 42 yards for a score. Morningside was off to the races.
“We knew that if they got behind the eight ball, they were going to have to start to throw,” Fletcher said. “We knew that wasn’t their strong suit, so we started to blitz them in the gaps effectively.”
Gardena’s running game never really got on track. The Panthers came into the game averaging more than 300 yards rushing per game, but could only manage 68 yards total on the ground.
“We wanted to stick with the run game, we just had to eliminate the mistakes,” Gardena coach Vincent Smith said. “The problem was we never eliminated the mistakes.”
The passing game was even more dire for Gardena (3-1). Quarterback Jonathan Mudd went 2 for 11 for -23 yards and an interception. He did find receiver Jamar McDaniel twice for short touchdowns, but that was the only offense Gardena could muster.
“The disappointing thing about this game is that we really didn’t make them play our game as much as we would have liked to,” Smith said.
Morningside took a 13-7 lead into halftime and came out looking to put the game away in front of the homecoming crowd.
Rousborgh snuck in a 1-yard touchdown early in the third, then later connected with Wilson on a fourth-down play. Rousborgh finished the game 14 for 31 for 170 yards, an interception and the two scores. He also rushed for 44 yards on seven carries.
“They were blitzing a lot. That’s all they did was just blitz,” Rousborgh said of the Gardena defense, which made things difficult for the passing game.
In the fourth quarter, Patrick Jeune made a juggling touchdown catch from 10 yards out to put the game away for the Monarchs.
“Our offense was a little out of sync because of the bye week,” Fletcher said. “We had a lot of drops and missed passes that we’ll need to clean up for next week.”