Maplewood’s Morris is 2nd-team choice on All-County Squad

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MONTCLAIR, NJ — Clay Morris, of Maplewood, a senior at Montclair Kimberley Academy, recently completed an outstanding season for the 4-3 MKA Cougars as one of the top receivers in the area while earning second team All-Essex honors from the county’s coaches.

Morris, a wide or slot receiver and outside linebacker, impressed on the private school scene during the 2020 modified season, finishing with 45 receptions for 752 yards — 16.7 yards per catch — and 10 touchdowns.

He also had nine carries for 20 and two additional rushing touchdowns, plus a 28-yard fumble return for a score as well. He added a 23-yard field goal and an extra point as the team’s fill-in placekicker in a season-opening 28-10 setback at Morristown-Beard and finished with 82 total points on the season.

“I can’t say enough about Clay because he’s just an unbelievable football player,” MKA head coach Anthony Rea said. “He’s been starting somewhere for us since his freshman year and every game he does something great for us.

“As a receiver he’s one of the best in Essex County and he also excels at outside linebacker where he is such a warrior,” Rea continued. “He’s simply a player who works so hard to get the most he can out of every time he steps on the field, and he finished with a sensational senior season for us.” 

Among Morris’ impressive performances this past season was at archrival Newark Academy when he had seven receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown, plus two carries for 5 yards and two more touchdowns in a 26-7 Cougars victory.

His most exciting and perhaps best showing came in a thrilling come-from-behind 20-16 win at Pingry in Martinsville on Oct. 11 when he scored 18 of his team’s 20 points in a furious fourth-quarter comeback to pull out an improbable win.

Morris hauled in a 7-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jake Pryor, of Bloomfield, for his team’s first touchdown in the final stanza against the Big Blue before he scooped up a fumble and rambled 28 yards for another score to pull the Cougars to within 16-13.

Then, late in the fourth quarter, he hauled in a pass from Pryor and took off down the field to complete what proved to be a game-winning 86-yard touchdown pass play to seal the deal in the most exciting game of the season for MKA. 

Two other area athletes, South Orange residents Brodie Snyder and Jordan Fishback, were also key offensive contributors at wide receiver for the Cougars this past season. Both served as additional targets in a wide-open attack, which also featured Pryor, who passed for 1,317 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Snyder, a junior, finished with eight receptions for 182 yards and a touchdown, while Fishback, a sophomore, had 16 receptions for 133 yards — 8.3 yards per catch.

“We had a good passing attack with Jake utilizing a number of good receivers led by Clay and also including other talented guys like Brodie and Jordan,” Rea said. “It was a solid season in a number of ways and I’m glad that we were able to get in seven games for our kids who all worked very hard to produce a winning record.” 

Photos Courtesy of Gene Nann