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Morris, Lynch in Final Fling : Quarterbacks to Cap High School Careers in All-Star Game

August 05, 1989|JIM LINDGREN

DEL MAR — Eleven months ago, quarterbacks Cree Morris of Orange Glen High School and John Lynch of Torrey Pines began their senior football seasons with high expectations, and justifiably so.

Tonight at 7:30, both will play for the San Diego Section when it meets the Los Angeles City Section in the third Hall of Champions College Prep All-Star Football Game at Torrey Pines High. But the seasons that led them there were decidedly different.

Morris, who is 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, began last season as a highly touted but untested pocket passer with a powerful right arm. He had played tight end his junior season because the Patriots had Sean Gousha, who was third in the county with 1,985 passing yards.

Orange Glen's coach, Dave Lay, installed such a sophisticated offense that the Patriots became The Times' No. 1 county team; Lay later was named San Diego State's offensive coordinator.

Lynch (6-2, 205) was a mobile, strong-armed player who passed for 1,292 yards and ran for 542 his junior season after playing linebacker as a sophomore. He wore jersey No. 7 like his idol, John Elway.

Torrey Pines Coach Rik Haines brought in Jack Neumeyer, who had coached Elway at Granada Hills High, to design a run-and-shoot offense to exploit Lynch's talents. The Falcons were ranked No. 4 in the preseason.

But opening weekend foreshadowed a dream season for Morris and Orange Glen and a nightmare for Lynch and Torrey Pines.

On Sept. 8, Morris completed 13 of 16 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Patriots to a 49-0 rout of San Marcos. Morris wound up leading the county in passing (third in the state) with 3,212 yards and was named to The Times' all-section first team.

Orange Glen went undefeated in 12 games before losing to Morse, 31-28, in the 3-A championship game, in which Morris completed 17 of 31 for 325 yards and three touchdowns.

On Sept. 9, Lynch was unstoppable for 12 minutes, throwing for 143 yards and two touchdowns in the opener against the University of San Diego High. But his good fortune did not last much longer. Early in the second quarter, a USDHS player grabbed Lynch's right ankle on a screen pass attempt, and Lynch went down. A broken bone, for all intents and purposes, ended his season. To worsen things, USDHS rallied for a 27-20 victory.

Lynch managed to make it back for Torrey Pines' final game, completing 18 of 37 for 277 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-20 tie with Poway. The Falcons ended the season 4-5-1; Morris threw for 252 yards and four touchdowns in Orange Glen's 48-22 victory at Torrey Pines while Lynch watched from the sidelines.

"I thought it was going to be a really big year," Lynch said. "But that's all behind me now. I'm glad everything worked out."

Lynch wound up receiving a scholarship from Stanford. Like Elway, who missed the second half of his high school senior year with a knee injury, Lynch would also like to play baseball for the Cardinal.

Following Lay, Morris accepted a scholarship to SDSU, where he will back up Dan McGwire.

"I'm really looking forward to this (all-star) game," Morris said. "It's really going to benefit me with another game under my belt entering college."

Rik Haines, who will coach the San Diego team with father Dick Haines of Vista, said he will likely play Morris in the first and third quarters and Lynch in the second and fourth.

"We'd like each of them to throw 40 times," Rik Haines joked. "Forty throws, one draw."

He added, "We've got some offensive plays for John, and we've got some offensive plays for Cree. They've got a little different styles, and we'll try to implement plays to show what the kids do best."

San Diego has won the past two of these games.

Last year, San Diego edged Los Angeles, 17-14, on a last-second 39-yard field goal by Torrey Pines' Tim Walker. In 1987, San Diego jumped out to a 19-0 lead but needed a 49-yard TD pass from Maurice Jackson (Madison) to Johnny Ace (Valhalla) with less than three minutes left to win, 26-19.

Los Angeles is hoping to revert to a time it dominated this game before it was discontinued in 1963.

Los Angeles coaches Brad Ratcliff of University and Tom Hernandez of San Fernando will try to do so with speed in the backfield. Dorsey's Wilson (Beno) Bryant, the state 400-meter champion headed for the University of Washington, will share running back duties with Washington's Takim Brown (Washington State), Crenshaw's Shon Ellerbe and Banning's Keith Mims.

Roman Foster (Colorado), who led Dorsey to its best season in nearly a decade will split time at quarterback with Kennedy's Tony Smets.

The Orange Glen and future SDSU combination of Morris and Jake Nyberg could be a factor. Nyberg led the state in receiving with 93 catches (sixth on the all-time list) for 1,456 yards.

Southwest's Will Tate (San Diego State) is another talented wideout.

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