The quarterback who committed to Washington over the summer has been studying film and preparing for this role since long before he was walking the halls of Graham-Kapowsin High School.
GRAHAM — Dylan Morris has spent a lot of time in Room 122c on his high-school campus.
By day, the Graham-Kapowsin classroom is used to teach students with special educational needs. By evening, it’s often the football team’s film room.
As a youth, Morris would walk from Frontier Middle School across the street, slip into the back of Room 122c and watch game footage with the varsity players then lift with the team, too. On game days, Morris was one of the throng of ball boys on the G-K sideline.
When: Friday and Saturday.
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Top storylines: Skyline (6-3) is likely the scariest road team of Week 10 because of its postseason experience. The Spartans’ senior class reached the Class 4A state quarterfinals last season and the semifinals as sophomores. Skyline plays at Enumclaw (8-1) on Friday. The Hornets are coming off its best season in decades, winning a league title for the first time in 21 years. … Rainier Beach football is making a resurgence. The Vikings (6-2) haven’t reached the Class 3A state tournament since 2006. Beach hosts Arlington (6-3) on Friday. … Camas, the defending Class 4A state champs, were upset 14-13 in its regular-season finale against Union. The Papermakers play a preliminary-round matchup at Auburn Riverside (8-1) on Friday.
Five Players To Watch: WR/DB Kyler Gordon 6-0, 185, Archbishop Murphy: Four-star athlete has 1,098 total yards and 18 tackles. … QB/LB Tiano Malietufa 5-11, 225, Auburn Riverside: Explosive senior has 2,274 total yards, passing for 16 touchdowns and rushing for another seven. … WR/CB Da’Vicious Wilson 6-3, 163, Bothell: Key component to Cougars’ schemes has 697 receiving yards while collecting five interceptions and blocking a field goal on defense. … DE Jake Baillie 6-0, 220, Woodinville: The senior has a Kingco 4A-leading 10 sacks this season. … RB Jamyn Patu 6-0, 195, O’Dea: Elusive back accounts for half of the Fighting Irish’s scoring with 1,259 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns.
Favorites: Woodinville (4A), Graham-Kapowsin (4A), Eastside Catholic (3A), Edmonds-Woodway (3A), Archbishop Murphy (2A).
Last: Butch Goncharoff, the former Bellevue coach, has Cedar Park Christian one win from its first state tournament berth since 2011, which is the school’s only appearance. The Eagles (4-5), which won their last two games, face undefeated Meridian (9-0) at Anacortes on Friday.
The team teased Morris about his presence, but his eyes stayed glued to the screen where he saw quarterback Drew Austin (Class of 2012) and Trevor Asbjornsen (Class of 2015).
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“I didn’t understand the whole concept, like game-planning or looking at defensive fronts,” said Morris, whose brother was then the starting center. “I tried to keep quiet and learn as much as I could.”
Now a junior co-captain, Morris hopes to lead Graham-Kapowsin farther than Austin and Asbjornsen as the fourth-ranked Eagles begin their Class 4A state football tournament run against Todd Beamer on Saturday night.
G-K has made four playoff appearances since the school’s inception in 2005. Its best finish was reaching the semifinals in 2014. The Eagles lost 55-6 in the opening round last year to Camas, which won the Class 4A title.
Past G-K teams depended heavily on the running game, especially with Foster Sarell as the star left tackle. He plays for Stanford. Morris is a third-year starter, but in the spotlight this season because of an Eagles’ receiving corps that can match his passing skills.
Morris, a four-star athlete who committed to Washington in July, throws deep passes with the simplicity of a flick of the wrist. He’s completed almost 70 percent of his passes for 2,463 yards and 25 touchdowns to go with six interceptions.
“You watch him throw when he was in fifth and sixth grade and it’s the same release,” G-K coach Eric Kurle said. “Everyone thinks he had to be taught and trained that, but it’s a natural, quick release. He has big-time strength in his arm and a quick release.
“What he’s worked on is being a bit more accurate, the leader that he is and what ball to throw in certain situations. I always knew he was going to be good (when) he was being a little gnat hanging around the team.”
You wouldn’t guess a quarterback was part of the Morris family, however. Especially not one who stands 6 foot 1 and 200 pounds.
“My whole family was linemen,” said Dylan of the Morris men dating back to his maternal grandfather. “I’m kind of the black sheep of them because they’re all short and stocky. I’m taller than everybody in my family.”
The family matches Dylan in passion for the game of football. Weekends are spent watching and talking about the sport. G-K dominates the conversation.
“He’s always been a really good competitor,” said G-K senior receiver Tre Mason, who played youth football with Morris. “He doesn’t look like a really physical guy, but he is and since a lot of us have played together since we were kids, Dylan makes sure we keep a chemistry.”
This week Morris is back in Room 122c getting ready for the state tournament.
“The playoffs are the standard here,” Morris said. “I’ve always felt a part of the team and didn’t have to adjust when I finally got here. Now it’s getting the ultimate goal of winning a championship. It’s clichéd, but we have to go 1-0 every week to get there.”