Mistakes, big returns loom large in Urbana loss
MORRIS — In the end, this was the end.
Urbana’s Tigers couldn’t maintain or build on an early lead and were ousted from the Class 5A playoffs on Saturday with a 65-20 loss at Morris against an opponent that was top-ranked half of the regular season.
“We did some good things, but their defense shut us down,” Urbana’s fourth-year coach, Nathan Watson, said. “They might be playing in Memorial Stadium in a few weeks.”
Urbana senior Cameron Mammen rallied his team from an early 7-0 deficit, racing 61 yards for a touchdown. His score, followed by Kenny Patton’s 14th two-point conversion of the year, lifted the Tigers into an 8-7 lead.
The Redskins (10-1) scored the next two touchdowns before a 3-yard run by Mammen brought Urbana to within 23-14. By halftime, Morris had expanded its lead to 50-20.
“Morris is used to these games,” Watson said. “They got out of the gate and wouldn’t stop. They are a very good team, but we made a lot of mistakes. Forty-two of their points were on kickoffs or interceptions.”
Indiana recruit Danny Friend, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive end, made life difficult for Mammen. Despite his two scoring runs, Mammen’s rushing yards at game’s end totaled 88.
“He was putting pressure on Cam,” Watson said. “There’s a reason he’s going to Indiana.”
Urbana’s final TD came on a 59-yard pass from Mammen to James Cobbs.
“These kids are going to feel miserable for a few days,” Watson said. “I told them how proud they should be. We’re the best team in school history. We’ve changed the culture of the school.”
Urbana’s playoff win in the first round was the school’s first postseason triumph. The team ended with a 9-2 record that featured a nine-game winning streak, matching the longest in nearly five decades.
Mammen’s Twin City passing record, unofficially, stands at 4,655 yards, and his all-time total offense record is 6,665. Against Morris, he completed 12 of 21 passes, but he had three intercepted and threw for 202 yards.
“Our kids played with a lot of class,” Watson said. “A lot of kids would have quit at halftime. We won nine games with class. Tonight the run ended, but we lost with class.”
Urbana’s defensive leader was Josh Pratt with 10 tackles.