Why East Peoria had to forfeit its Week 7 high school football game against Morton

Adam Duvall
Journal Star

East Peoria forfeited its Week 7 varsity high school football game to Morton after multiple injuries and illnesses left the Raiders without enough players to compete, said EP athletics director Jon Grzanich.

"We had multiple injuries from last week's game," Grzanich said of a Week 6 loss to Washington. "In addition to several of our players being out this week because of illness."

East Peoria and Morton were scheduled to meet at 7:30 p.m. Friday in a Mid-Illini Conference game at EastSide Centre's Corwin Clatt Field. The schools' freshmen teams played at 5 p.m. as scheduled.

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“It’s just an unfortunate situation, obviously,” Morton coach Tim Brilley said. “You work so hard and no matter what, we don’t really focus on the opponent. We try to keep it about us. To have it not work out is unfortunate. It’s unfortunate for their kids, as well.”

The losses to injury and illness force the 30-player EP roster to take the week off and get healthy. The Raiders fell to 2-5, 1-4 with the loss. The Raiders have two games remaining on their schedule: at Metamora (4-3) next week and on the road in Week 9 against unbeaten Pekin (7-0).

"We plan to play next week if our condition improves," Grzanich said. 

East Peoria earlier this season snapped both an overall 26-game losing streak and a 21-game conference losing streak behind the star play of running back Gabriel Zeigler-Harris.

Where does this leave Morton?

With the forfeit victory, the Potters improve to 4-3 overall and 3-2 in the Mid-Illini. They will need to win one of their final two games against Dunlap (4-3) or Washington (4-3) to become playoff eligible.

Morton’s focus now turns to next week’s opponent Dunlap, which lost to Washington 24-7 on Friday with second place in the league on the line.

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“We’ll get a little bit of a head start on Dunlap,” Brilley said. “… That’s kind of the only bright side: We’ll get to see our next two opponents play in person. We’d much rather be playing a football game.”

Morton practiced Friday, then the coaching staff was scheduled to head to the freshman game before scouting the Dunlap-Washington game in person.