After Ramarius Gaulden graduated, Strickland knew the offense would need a leader. So he decided to make a bold move.
Strickland moved starting safety Gerald Morgan to quarterback, believing the 6'2 senior could provide the Canes with an offensive spark.
"He was kind of the quarterback of our secondary," Strickland says. "We felt like Gerald might be our best football player."
"I knew that it was going to be a big step," Morgan says. "I knew it was a big responsibility. I knew a lot of people were going to look up to me."
The move has paid off in major dividends.
Morgan and the Canes have scored over 40 points in nine of their twelve games this season.
Strickland says the senior QB has helped the offense evolve into a more dynamic unit, all while sticking to the wing-T principles.
"The formations that now we can get in, and use the quarterback as a fullback type guy. As well as he throws the football, it adds another dimension that everyone has to defend," Strickland says. "What we're not seeing that we saw the last two years is eleven guys within five yards of the football."
The toughest thing for Strickland was taking a two-time all-region safety away from his secondary. Strickland had to make sure defensive coordinator Neal Burkhart was on board.
"He certainly wasn't excited about taking him off of defense," Strickland laughs. "We promised Gerald and Coach Burkhart is if we were going to make that move, we were going to run the entire offense through Gerald. We weren't going to make him just a ball conveyor and hand it off every play."
That has seemed to be a wiser decision with each game.
"He has been really, really special for us this year," Strickland says.
Morgan and Fitzgerald host Pace Academy Friday night in the GHSA AA state quarterfinals.
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