Morris cousins to be inducted into RHS Hall of Fame Friday
By Jim Turner


Posted on December 30, 2014 6:14 PM



A pair of cousins who played huge roles in some of the biggest accomplishments in Russellville High School sports history will be inducted into the Russellville Alumni Association Athletic Hall of Fame Friday night.

Andre Morris, the fleet-footed scoring leader for Coach Ken Barrett’s 1990 state championship football team, and Michael Morris, an all-state tournament performer for Coach Phil Todd’s 2000 Final Four basketball team, will become members of the Hall of Fame between games of the Clash of the Cats Jan. 2 at Jim Young Gymnasium.

Andre Morris had a football season to cherish as a senior. He scored 164 points, only 10 points away from tying the all-time Panther record set by Larry Johnson Sr. almost 30 years earlier. He rushed for 1,350 yards on 186 carries (7.26 average), caught 19 passes from quarterback Larry Johnson Jr. for 317 yards and a trio of touchdowns, made 84 tackles from his position in the secondary, and pulled in 4 interceptions.

Coach Ken Barrett’s team began its playoff run by whipping Fulton City 46-6 with Morris scoring four touchdowns, three rushing and one of a 55-yard punt return. He scored twice in the Panthers’ 21-6 win over Todd Central in the regional championship game. In the state semifinals, Russellville was impressive in a 41-14 romp at Franklin County in a game that was supposed to be even. Andre rushed for 169 yards in that game on just 15 carries, highlighted by his 88-yard touchdown run.

Barrett’s Bunch beat Bellevue 21-7 in the state championship game at Cardinals Stadium in Louisville. They relied on the running of Morris, Johnson, rugged halfback Onassa Duncan and quick fullback Terrell Jackson. Andre ran for 75 yards on 14 carries in his final Panther football season, including a two-yard touchdown.

In track, he won the state 400-meter championship and joined Duncan, Jackson and Taylor Gamble in winning the state 4x400 Meter Relay championship. Additionally, he was state runner-up in the 200-meter dash and in the 4x100 Relay, running with Gamble, Jackson and Gamble in that one, too. Steve Merideth was the RHS boys track coach at that time.

Andre then went to Hutchison Community College in Kansas to play football, but he missed that season because of an ankle injury. He was healed by track season, and became a junior college All-America runner.

He left Hutchison after a year to accept a full-scholarship in track to the University of Iowa. He won two Big Ten championships in the 400 and actually crossed the finish line first another year, but he didn’t get credit for that one because he was ruled to have stepped on a line. He won three more Big Ten championships, two in the 4x100 Relay race and another in the 200.

Andre Morris was a three-time NCAA Division I All-American. He is believed to be the only RHS graduate to have been a Division I All-American in any sport.

He continued to run after college, participated in Olympic Trials in 1996 and 2000, and ran in eight U.S. Nationals. He was a two-time world indoor champion, helping set a world record in Tokyo that stood until this year.

He played semi-pro football and was invited to a tryout for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League. Four of five coaches wanted to keep him, but the vote had to be unanimous. They told him to play in the World Football League and they would look at him again the next year, but a knee injury ended that dream.

A graduate of the University of Iowa with a degree in art, he has six children. He and his wife Kim and their toddler son live in Iowa.

For more information about Andre Morris, read a feature story that appeared on The LoJo at http://www.theloganjournal.com/Stories.aspx?Article=sports454

Michael Morris started in three regional basketball finals for the Panthers, helping win two. As a sophomore, he was part of the first RHS team not only to reach the regional finals since 1961 but also the first ever to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. The next year, he and fellow Hall of Famer Squeaky Hampton were the constants during an otherwise up-and-down season for the 1999 team which reached the finals but lost in the title game.

His senior year, the Panthers were dominant on the way to the Final Four of the state tournament. He was named to the all-state tournament team that season and was Guard of the Game in the Panthers’ two wins at Rupp.

Russellville went 90-29 in Michael Morris’ four years as a starter while he was scoring 1,727 points. He was named All-Region twice and All-District three years.

In that memorable senior season, Coach Phil Todd’s Panthers beat powerful Bowling Green 67-63 in the regional semifinals with Morris scoring 19 points on 6 of 9 shooting from both the field and the free throw line. That loss ended the season of future Mr. Basketball and University of Kentucky signee Josh Carrier. The Panthers dominated Glasgow 83-49 in the finals with Morris scoring 15.

In Russellville’s first-ever win at state, the Panthers won 68-60 over Corbin, which came in with a 29-2 record under former Logan County coach Mike Deaton. Morris joined 6-11 center Tony Key with 17 points each, adding 6 rebounds and 4 assists. In the quarterfinals, Todd’s team beat Bishop Brossart 60-46 with Key and Morris each scoring 15. Michael also had 7 rebounds and 3 assists. The Panthers set a state tournament record by shooting 70 percent (21 of 30).

RHS appeared to be headed for the state championship game with a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of the semifinals, but a Panther slowdown didn’t work when Elizabethtown’s Antwain Barbour scored 42 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, overshadowing 31 points by Panther Teco Dickerson. Morris scored 18 points in that Saturday morning game, hitting 7 of 10 free throws in his final game as a Panther..

Michael averaged 16.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists in three state tournament games. He was named the Kentucky National Guard’s “Guard of the Game” twice as a senior and once as a sophomore in the Sweet Sixteen.

Among other key players on those state basketball teams were Thad Key, Anthony Woodard, Jesse Wright, Nathan Thompson, Ricky Duncan, Tyree Todd and Roland Dickerson.

Morris had also led Coach Bob Nelson’s football Panthers in receiving as a senior.

Michael Morris played two years in the Florida’s highly competitive community college system after high school, and was a high scorer there, too..

Later he was a key player on Coach Otis Key’s Kentucky Bison team which won a national championship in a semi-pro league.

Michael Morris makes his home in Russellville.

Cheerleaders shown with Ricky Duncan (left) and Michael Morris in 2000 are, from left, Jill Dunbar, Melissa Golden Taylor, Haley Browning Jayne, Amy Thweatt Miller and Shanon Kees. Amanda Pratt Eggleston can be seen in the background at left.

 




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