Moline has been waiting for Eddie Doran to explode in a big way all season long.
In preseason practice, No. 33 would easily catch anyone’s attention with his speed and elusiveness. But it’s showed up only in parts, overshadowed by sophomore Aboubacar Barry. Then Barry fumbled.
Enter Doran, who had 372 yards rushing and four TDs coming into Friday’s homecoming game at Browning Field compared to Barry’s 438 and eight TDs.
With 1:00 left in the half, Doran took off from the 20, got past the line on a simple first-down run, eluded a tackle about 10 yards past midfield, cut back a couple steps and weaved his way into the end zone, with Rocks trailing close behind. Doran had arrived, and so did Moline.
A few plays later, the Rocks’ Michail Sudberry fumbled on a reverse, and Moline’s Tommy Parrish scooped it up and scored from 28 yards out.
What looked like a 13-7 halftime deficit was suddenly a 21-13 Moline lead.
Moline, with the aid of two Doran 57-yard third quarter touchdown runs, held on in a long game, 42-26.
“That last 1:35 was bizarre, but it was huge momentum wise for us,” Morrissey said.
The Maroons (4-2, 2-0) never looked back. Especially when Doran took off for the two long TD runs.
“He was incredible,” said Moline coach Mike Morrissey. “I am proud of our effort. We really got after it up front.”
Doran ended up with 301 yards and three touchdowns on just 21 carries.
“It’s really difficult when you have two good players and you try to mix and match as much as you can,” Morrissey said. “He’s a capable kid. Tonight was his night.’’
“I feel like I was given the opportunity, and tonight it paid off for me,” Doran said.
“I was ecstatic (when he broke into the clear on the 80-yard run). I knew I had to just run and keep running.”
Rock Island had taken a 13-7 first-half lead on the second of two Nicholas Roessler 37-yard field goals with 1:16 left in the half. After he booted it to the end zone on the kickoff, one figured the Rocks would go into halftime up six.
Rock Island (2-4, 0-3) did get a 3-yard run by Davion Wilson (who finished with 174 yards rushing on 22 carries) for a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. Moline answered with a 28-yard slant to Nolan Griffin over the middle on a perfectly thrown ball by QB Eric Maffie. From that point on — 8:44 left in the second quarter — it was game-on.
Rock Island was hurt by three lost fumbles and a second-half injury to its QB Ian Purvis. Roessler did decent after that, but Moline with Doran and some excellent play by Parrish on defense was simply too much.
In between a Gatorade shower and Moline students taking the field in celebration, Morrissey added, “There was adversity for a little while, and we just bounced back there.”