McCONNELSVILLE - One player isn't supposed to single-handedly make such an impact on a team game like football that he essentially wins it himself.
But if the Morgan Raiders could figure out a way to take John Glenn junior Blake Atkins off the field for the first 24 minutes of play, they'd have an entirely different ball game to play.
Atkins ran for 182 yards and four touchdowns in the first half of play before being sidelined for the second half as John Glenn knocked off the Raiders 41-18 in McConnelsville Friday night.
KEVIN PIERSON Special to The Times
Morgan's Justin Head (33) powers over John Glenn's Grant Hall (20) en route to a touchdown during the first quarter of a football game in McConnelsville Friday night. John Glenn beat Morgan 41-18.
"He (Atkins) is definitely a game breaker," said John Glenn football coach John Kelley. "He's the guy that makes us go."
The damage Atkins did is even more impressive, considering he only carried the football six times.
The only time that Atkins was stopped for less than a 15-yard gain was when he only needed one to get into the endzone.
John Glenn 41, Morgan 18
John Glenn 20 21 0 0 - 41
Morgan 6 6 6 0 - 18
JG: Blake Atkins 1 run (Ross Mathews kick) 7:31
JG: Stone Morgan 15 run (kick fail) 6:12
M: Justin Head 6 run (kick fail) 2:13
JG: Atkins 68 run (Mathews kick) 1:26
M: Kaleb Driggs 3 run (kick fail) 8:13
JG: Atkins 56 run (Mathews kick) 7:38
JG: Atkins 22 run (Mathews kick) 6:20
JG: Tanner Morton 1 run (Mathews kick)
M: Austin Campbell 17 run (kick fail) 6:59
JOHN GLENN (5-2)
First downs 12; Rushes/yds 42-315; Passing yds 43; Passing (comp/att/TD/int) 3-6-0-1; Total yds 358; Penalties/yds 6-75; Punts/avg. 2-39.0; Fumbles/lost 0/0
First downs 11; Rushes/yds 49-208; Passing yds 13; Passing (comp/att/TD/int) 1-7-0-1; Total yds 221; Penalties/yds 4-30; Punts/avg. 4-30.8; Fumbles/lost 3/2
John Glenn: Rushing: Sean Whitlow 10-36; Grant Hall 6-15; Stone Morgan 6-40, TD; Zach Swingle 4-21; Tanner Morton 5-12, TD; Blake Atkins 6-182, 4 TDs; Cole Bennett 5-19; Passing: Zach Swingle 3-6-43 yds, int.; Receiving: Blake Atkins 1-20; Grant Hall 1-4; Cole Bennett 1-19
Morgan: Rushing: Austin Campbell 11-36, TD; Hayden Matheney 10-44; Justin Head 16-66, TD; Kaleb Driggs 12-62, TD; Passing: Hayden Matheney 1-7-13 yds, int; Receiving: Clinton Campbell 1-13
Take away Atkins' four TDs and 182 yards, and John Glenn managed just 13 points and 176 yards of offense.
"We just weren't playing the first half. We were sitting back passive, watching the ball game," said Morgan football coach Nate Smith.
After giving up 287 yards of offense in the first half, the Raiders allows John Glenn to rack up just 71 in the second half of play.
John Glenn was also held scoreless, but the Raiders managed just a single score on Austin Campbell's 17-yard run with 6:59 to play in the third quarter as Morgan couldn't mount the second half comeback.
Atkins got the scoring started on the only one of his touches of the football that went for less than 15 yards when he scored from a single yard out with 7:31 to play in the opening quarter.
Morgan managed to run just a single play from scrimmage after Atkins' first touchdown, as quarterback Hayden Matheney bobbled the snap and the Muskies recovered at the Raiders' 25.
Three plays later, Stone Morgan scored on a 15-yard run to give the Muskies a 13-0 advantage after the PAT failed.
Down by two scores, the Raiders showed some life on the ensuing possession as they covered 65 yards on nine plays, with junior Justin Head running over a trio of Muskie defenders to get in the endzone from six yards out with 2:13 on the clock.
That cut into the deficit was avenged quickly by Atkins, who took the second snap from scrimmage after Head's touchdown 68 yards for a 20-6 John Glenn advantage.
"This is what we do offensively. We made some big plays (Friday) night. Obviously, that was the story of the game," Kelley said.
Big plays carried the Muskies for the first half, but the Raiders were nearly able to overcome a sluggish start on their homecoming night.
"We played tight, and that's what happens when you play tight," Smith said.
An interception of John Glenn quarterback Zach Swingle's pass setup another score for the Raiders, as Kaleb Driggs found the endzone from three yards out with 8:15 before halftime to make the score 20-12. Morgan would get no closer, as Atkins promptly ran 56 yards to paydirt on the ensuing possession and followed that up with a 22 yard touchdown run following another Raider fumble with 6:20 before the break.
John Glenn added its final score when Tanner Morton found the endzone from 1-yard out with 36 seconds before halftime.
Trailing by a 41-12 margin at the break, Morgan found some life offensively in the second half as all four of the Raiders' second half possessions made it into John Glenn territory.
"This is one of the first games, in at least three weeks, that we've moved the ball offensively," Smith said. But in the end, the offensive movement of the second half was too little, too late as the Muskies were content to run time off the clock and preserve their fifth win of the season.
"It wasn't a pretty win, but it was a win. We're pleased for our players with that," Kelley said.