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Chris Murphy, Published November 08 2012

Moorhead's Morlock used to being the focus of opposing defenses

Moorhead - Just as he does to defenders, Chase Morlock’s teeth pushed aside his lips and mouth guard to expose a wide smile when asked how he prefers to score a touchdown.

“Running through kids,” Morlock said. “I just want to get to the end zone anyway I can, but I like contact. I just like being the tougher guy out there.”

Just like Morlock’s smile behind a facemask and mouth guard, there’s no hiding Moorhead’s plan. Sure, there’s a mixture of ways Morlock gets handed the football, but the bottom line is he’s coming and defenses know it. Problem is defenses can’t stop it, as the Spuds take a 10-0 record into Saturday’s matchup versus Bemidji in the Minnesota Class 5A state football quarterfinals.

Morlock has even been tough on his good-luck cleats, which date back to last season and are starting to get holes in them.

“He’s just an old-fashioned, hard-nosed football player,” Moorhead coach Kevin Feeney said. “He’s a throwback-type kid. The funny thing is he’s a quiet kid. He’s not a rah-rah guy.”

Morlock lets the bruises do the talking, as he’s left defenders on the turf behind him to the tune of 1,680 yards and 25 touchdowns on 134 attempts on the ground to go along with 24 receptions for 396 yards and five touchdowns.

In 2001, it took Tyler Evans 474 attempts to rush for 3,498 and take the Minnesota high school season rushing record.

Morlock would run for 5,925 yards if he had 474 attempts with his 12.5 yards per carry.

“Chase is a complete player,” said former North Dakota State All-America running back Tyler Roehl, who is an assistant coach with the Spuds. “He’s aggressive, he’s able to read defenses and he can stick his foot in the ground and get north and south with one step. He is the complete package.”

There’s another side to the man nicknamed Jet Warlock, who needs to listen to slow music to calm himself down before unleashing misery on defenses. Morlock may run angry like Adrian Peterson, but there’s also AP next to the classes on his school schedule. He’s even nice enough to babysit the coach’s kids.

“He’s a leader by example,” Feeney said. “He’s got a 3.9-plus GPA and he has a lot of classes with ‘AP’ in front of them. My own kids think the world of Chase. He’s a big portion of what you’d want as a parent and as a coach. A lot of kids with the type of success he’s had on the wrestling mat and the football field would have a tendency to relax, but he’s never satisfied.”

It’s the work ethic that has everyone around him rooting for him. Even with his alma mater looking at Morlock, Roehl wants what’s best for Morlock.

“As an NDSU supporter, it would be awesome to see him go there, but I want whatever situation is best for him and I hope the best for him,” Roehl said. “With his work ethic, the way he carries himself and his character, there’s only good things coming that kid’s way.”

Morlock’s next goal is to play at the college level. But even the dream that began when Morlock made the switch from soccer to football in sixth grade because he thought contact was more for him has been put on hold for another goal: A state championship for Moorhead.

“I’ve always dreamed of being a football player, but teams know I’m not making a decision until after the season,” Morlock said. “It’s a team game. I have a great team. It’s not just me doing it. I got a lot of help, and hopefully I keep it up and we keep playing for a few more weeks.”

The beauty behind the beast that is Chase Morlock on a football field is his passion for the game.

“My true love is football,” Morlock said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548