Morton One Of 50 National Football Players Of Year
Yet, the tall, quiet young man is practically embarrassed by all the praise heaped on him.
The AHS football team finished the 2010 season 11- 1, won the Northwest Ohio Athletic League championship for the first time in nine years, and advanced as far as the Division V regional semifinal game before being eliminated.
“Everything we accomplished this year was a team effort,” Morton said.
“We shouldn’t single anybody out.”
Despite his disdain for personal glory, he can now add another title to his resume.
He was named a high school football Player of the Year by a national company, one of 50 high school players from across the United States.
Morton, a son of Kevin and Claire, said he doesn’t remember his reaction to the national award, but Bryan Miller, AHS head football coach, said he thinks the honor “is pretty special. He’s one of 50 kids in the entire country. That’s pretty impressive.”
The award isn’t just for on-field performance. It also recognizes Morton's leadership ability, something Miller spotted early.
“Last year, he was elected team captain as a junior, as a first-year varsity player. The other players look to him as a leader and example that should be followed. He earned a great deal of respect,” Miller said.
Morton is also no slouch in the classroom. A group of 22 AHS football players was recognized by the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association as Academic All- Ohio team.
Morton and Aaron Bontrager, a senior, were individually recognized as Academic All-Ohioans. Only 111 of the 35,000 high school players in Ohio were award- ed that honor.
In addition to the Player of the Year and academic honors, Morton won high praise from others.
The Associated Press named him First Team All- Ohio in D-V. A regional newspaper called him the Offensive Player of the Year in the Northwest District. He was the Ohio High School Athletic Association D-V Offensive Player Of The Year.
He also has been selected as one of 72 players to participate in the Ohio North- South All-Star game, to be played in April.
Morton completed 192 of 284 passes for 3,092 yards for an average of 257.7 yards per game. He led the team in rushing with 463 yards, an average of 38.6 yards per game.
He passed for 41 touchdowns and rushed for nine in 12 games. Morton threw only nine interceptions.
Yet, Morton reflects the credit onto his teammates.
“If you really look down at these awards, it still comes down to Ben Miller, Isaac Rosales, Lucas Hesterman, Tyler Rufenacht, and Kellen Seaman (offensive linemen), and the receivers.
“They did an outstanding job.”
Being able to stand in the pocket and have extra time to complete a pass because of good protection “makes everything flow a lot better,” he said.
He also credits the Blue Streak defense.
“Everything we accomplished this year was a full team effort, from the guys who helped us in practice getting ready for the game, down to the players who were in there at crunch time.”
Those comments don’t surprise Miller, who said the AHS coaches stressed teamwork, “and (Morton) takes that to heart.”
Morton said when he thinks about his high school football career, he prefers to think about the games, rather than the awards.
One of his favorite memories is from the Oct. 15 game at Patrick Henry. The Streaks defeated the perennial NWOAL powerhouse 35-14, breaking the Patriots’ 22-game league win streak.
“Walking off the field after the Patrick Henry game, with the fans running on the field– that’s something I’ll never forget,” he said.
The game was special because, “they were the ones we had to take out to win the league championship, which was our goal since two-adays (practices twice a day at the start of the season). Plus, we hadn’t beaten them in a while.
“So for us to take them out, that was a big deal.”
When Archbold was coasting to an easy win and he was pulled out to give others some playing time, Morton wasn’t upset.
“I remember when I was in that situation. It was a thrill to step up. It’s fun to watch those kids play.
“Our goal each week was to win the game. At that point, we’ve accomplished that; let the other guys have some fun, too."
After his outstanding high school career, Morton will have opportunities to play college ball, but where does he want to go?
“I’m thinking about it a lot,” he said.
“I don’t want to go to a school that’s small, like Division
III. But to walk on somewhere that’s big, that would be a challenge. I’ve talked to people who’ve done it; it’s a lot of hard work.”
Morton said he enjoys football because, “you can’t do it by yourself.
“You lean on other guys the entire game. The other guys lean on and count on you. You’re out there working for a goal– one goal, just one goal,” he said.