In his third year as a starter, Morasch is still loud on the field, but uses a different approach than he used to.
Same intensity, different intelligence.
Kyle Morasch is still the loudest guy on the field when he’s playing linebacker for the Northeast High School football team. He still flies around the field looking to hit someone, and in between plays, he’s chirping at his teammates to motivate them for the next snap.
But unlike his sophomore year, and even his junior campaign, Morash now plays with emotion and control.
“I’m definitely not as reckless as I used to be, that’s one thing I worked on,” said Morasch, now in his third year as a starter. “I would just run at people, look for the ball and attack, and kind of hope for the best. That was something I worked on because I play with a lot of emotion. I think the biggest difference between me today and me from last year is I’m a smarter football player now. I play just as hard, but I try to think about every play.”
Morasch played smart football on Friday when he helped Northeast pound Martin Luther King, 47–20, in a Public League Class AAAAAA semifinal.
Danny Scott went for 145 yards and a pair of scores, and teammate Sameen Thompson added 92 yards and two touchdowns.
While the offense was having its way running the ball, the Vikings defense held King to negative rushing yards.
“I played well, I think, but it wasn’t really about me, it was about all of us as a unit,” said Morasch, who notched six tackles. “We’re good because we all do our job. There’s no ‘I’ in team, and when we all do what we’re responsible for, good things happen.”
The win sets up a familiar foe in the finals. Northeast will meet Central on Saturday in the championship game. This will be the second time the Vikings meet the Lancers this year, and they’ll play again on Thanksgiving, which is 12 days after the title game. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.
In the first go around, Northeast crushed the Lancers, 46–0, but Morasch is going to remind his teammates that the championship game could be much different.
“Central is in the championship game, so they must be doing something right,” Morasch said. “I don’t think we have to worry about anyone taking them lightly because it’s the championship game. And they’re our biggest rivals. We always want to beat Central, but when you’re playing for the championship, that makes it that much bigger.”
This is a rematch of last year’s championship game, which was also won by Northeast. In fact, this is Northeast’s third straight championship game appearance.
In 2015, the young Vikings fell to Simon Gratz in the championship.
For Morasch, winning last year was huge, but winning in his final year makes it that much more important.
“You always want to end a year with a championship, so last year was really important, but you always want to win in your final year,” said Morasch, who also sees time at fullback. “I want to make sure I leave this team in good hands and headed in the right direction. Leaving them with a championship would definitely do that.”
If the Vikings repeat as champions, they’ll rely on a running game that keeps their opponents’ offense off the field. But when the Vikings defense does have to make plays, they’re always ready. According to Morasch, they get antsy on the sidelines while watching the offense run all over their opponents.
“Defense is my favorite part of the game, and I think our defense is one of the best in the area because of how we play as a unit,” Morasch said. “We aren’t a one-man defense. We’re a group that all does our job.
“I think defense is the most important part of the game, and it’s my favorite part. I play offense, and I like playing offense, but I think defense is my favorite part of the game. Anyone can score and run the ball, but you have to be tough and ready to tackle. We have a lot of guys who are tough and who love to tackle.”
Morasch has eyes of a repeat, but he’s also hoping to continue his football career in college. His grades have improved, and he’s starting to hear from coaches.
“I really want to play college football so I can be successful in the future, after high school,” Morasch said. “I thought about majoring in business, but lately I thought about studying exercise science and becoming a personal trainer. I love helping the kids on the team work out, and a lot of kids say they see me get big and strong, so they want to do what I do. I think that would be a fun job.”
That might be the biggest change in Morasch’s game. This year, he is the player other Vikings strive to be like. And as a defensive captain, that’s exactly the way he wants it.
“I love being the guy everyone looks to for leadership,” Morasch said. “I use my emotions to be a better football player, but now I’m much more under control. I help other guys when I can because I know you can get really excited out there.
“I never was a trash talker or anything like that, but I am loud. I’ve always been loud. I think that’s the way I lead. And this year, I’ve become more of a leader because that’s what we’ve needed. I just want to help the team any way I can.” ••