Around the Region

Third and Lucas

When the ball's in the air, Morley is going to win that battle more often than not.
Photo courtesy CUA Athletics 

Catholic senior Lucas Morley has all the physical attributes you could ever want in a wide receiver. Size, speed, agility, hands -- it's all there.

But his biggest strength, the trait that has pushed Morley into the upper echelon of pass catchers across the Division III football landscape, is less tangible than his height or 40-yard dash time. Catholic interim head coach Bill Bachman calls it the "compete gene."

"When God sprinkled pixie dust on his head, the pixie dust was his ability to compete, to win at the point of attack," Bachman said. "When four hands go up and two of them are Lucas's, he comes down with the ball."

Morley came down with a lot of balls last season. Correction -- Morley came down with a record-setting number of balls last season. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound Olney, Md., native finished with 100 receptions for 967 yards and 14 touchdowns, all three of which led the Cardinals by a wide margin. Morley's average of 10 receptions per game led the nation.

While Morley shined as an individual, the team struggled. Catholic finished 3-7 for the second straight season in 2015, leading to Morley's numbers feeling a bit hollow.

"When you look back on it, almost a year after, it's pretty cool to look at the numbers," Morley said. "But when it's going on and the team isn't succeeding as a unit, it's frustrating. There's really no other word to describe it."

Through three games in 2016, Morley's prolific pace has continued -- he has 20 receptions for 207 yards and a Division III-leading seven touchdowns -- but the Cardinals have already matched last season's win total. In a 37-35 win against Coast Guard this past Saturday, Morley finished with six catches for 113 yards and four touchdowns, en route to ODAC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

It's been a stellar two years for Morley, a converted tight end who didn't begin playing organized football until his senior year at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, a decorated program that has produced some notable players, including Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Morley saw limited playing time at tight end, but quickly turned heads upon arriving at Catholic.

"We knew he was special," Bachman said. "We'd play JV games and he'd have 12 catches."

Morley appeared in three varsity games as a freshman, playing exclusively on special teams. The Cardinals had an established tight end in Alex Evans, but there was a growing sense that the team needed to find a spot on offense for...

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Columnist

Andrew Lovell

Andrew Lovell is a writer based in Connecticut and a former online news editor for ESPN.com, as well as a former sports staff writer/editor for the New Britain Herald (Conn.). He has written feature stories for ESPN.com, currently contributes fantasy football content to RotoBaller.com, and has been a regular contributor to D3sports.com sites since 2007. Andrew has also written for a number of daily newspapers in New York, including the Poughkeepsie Journal, Ithaca Journal and Auburn Citizen. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2008 with B.A. in Sport Media and a minor in writing.

2012-2015 columnist: Adam Turer
2007-2011 columnist: Ryan Tipps
2003-2006: Pat Cummings
2000: Keith McMillan
1999: Pat Coleman

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