Murphy High School is known for having quality academics and talented athletes. With a decorated history of state champions in literally every sport but hockey, this past weekend another Murphy athlete brought yet another state championship back to the Dawg House. And if you’re scratching your head – no, Murphy doesn’t have a hockey team – but if they did, the Bulldogs would probably find a way to win at that, too.
TeamFYNSports has the pleasure of tracking and covering athletic performances throughout nine North Georgia counties and Cherokee Co, NC. While we interact with coaches, athletes, and college scouts on a daily basis, the best part of our job lies in the opportunity to highlight young athletes in a positive way. Thankfully there’s a 195-lb senior at MHS that made our job a whole lot easier this week.
Cory Farmer could be seen making big hits on the football field earlier in the school year. The veteran middle linebacker was the heart of what many would argue was one of the very best defenses in the state of North Carolina. When his high school football career ended, he transitioned from knocking people down at the line of scrimmage to throwing them and pinning them on the wrestling mats.
A natural athlete, Farmer is no stranger to hard work. He put in countless hours of training with MHS head coach Daniel Ledford, his father Josh Farmer, and his teammates; learning and working within one of the most decorated high school wrestling programs in all of Western North Carolina (not to mention North Georgia and Eastern Tennessee).
Last year, Farmer was the state runner-up. Just two weeks ago, he finished third at the regional tournament. Winning state was never a guarantee.
At the 1A NCHSAA state wrestling tournament, Farmer’s resume was as impressive as his humble – yet hungry attitude. He came in with 24 wins and only two losses this season, and opened Day One with a big win over Dylan Jones (32-11), who nearly finished 3rd overall. Jones, a senior at Uwharrie Charter, lost the battle for 3rd place by a 2-0 decision from Farmer’s next victim (Edwards, EASU).
After defeating Jones in just two minutes and 39 seconds, Farmer locked up with top-seeded junior Mitchell Edwards of East Surry. Edwards also had only two losses coming into state, and had 28 wins to his merit. Farmer won a 3-2 decision in one of the most exciting matches of the entire event, advancing to the championship final.
Farmer went on to defeat senior Jonathan Zafra of Manteo with a 12-3 majority decision to claim the state championship crown.
“It feels real good and it’s a relief after being runner up last year,” Farmer told TeamFYNSports Sunday afternoon.
We asked if he was considering wrestling at the college level next year. “I’m not sure yet, but I have a few offers,” Farmer replied. With his skillset and his work ethic, we look forward to reporting in the future on Farmer’s final decision after high school.
All photos courtesy of Murphy High School Wrestling and Brandy Farmer, contributing photographer.
The Murphy Lady Bulldogs have been nothing short of legendary this season, but that’s nothing new for them. Last year the varsity girls went 26-2, falling by only one point in the Elite 8 to the eventual state champions.
“I couldn’t ask for a better team. They work extremely hard and do everything asked of them,” Murphy head coach Ray Gutierrez told TeamFYNSports last week. This week was no exception.
The Lady Bulldogs (18-1, 7-0) kicked last week off with a 52-32 win on the road at Hayesville, followed by a 74-26 road win over Andrews.
Sydni Addison, the ball hawk of the night, had seven steals on defense, scored six points and pulled in seven rebounds.
How do you beat two great wins on the road? You turn around and win two big games back-to-back at home.
How do you beat a 19-90 road win over Nantahala (Topton, NC)? You hold them under 10 points of offense.
On Friday, Nantahala took a rough road trip down to Murphy only to leave with their lowest offensive performance of the season. The Lady Bulldogs (wo)man-handled the Lady Hawks, coming away with a 77-8 home win, their 17th team victory of the season. They knew Saturday night’s game would be a true test.
Following the huge win over Nantahala, the Braves of Cherokee High (then 10-4, 7-0), came to Murphy for the matchup the entire state of North Carolina has been waiting to see.
“Cherokee had won 30 straight regular season conference games,” coach Gutierrez said of their opponent. “The gym was packed and both teams played their guts out. It was a great atmosphere for a basketball game.”
The first quarter was a close one – much closer than many of the games Murphy has played this season – with the Lady Bulldogs holding only a 4-point margin over the Braves, 18-14. The Lady Bulldogs, who average more than 60-points per game, were hitting their usual offensive numbers; but the Braves’ offense was up to the task early-on, making this game a true challenge for Murphy.
By halftime, Murphy had extended their lead by only one point. Trailing by five (43-38), the Braves were still in a dangerous position and neither team was a sure victor. Sharpshooters Clapsaddle and Pickens refused to leave the game in anyone’s hands other than their own. The two combined for 8-of-11 3-point attempts, combining for 31% of the total points for the Lady Bulldogs.
In the end, the Lady Bulldogs held on to defeat the Cherokee Braves 77-74, giving the Braves their first conference loss of the season (breaking a 30-game streak).
Clapsaddle scored 30 points, while Pickens had 14. Beckner scored 12 points in the game while Thompson scored nine points, Bri Moore had six, Martin scored four points and Addison scored a basket for two. Addison led the team with rebounds (8), while Beckner also pulled in eight boards, three offensively and five on defense.
The Murphy Lady Bulldogs can play, folks. They opened the Battle of the States tournament at Towns County High School against a quality opponent, the Lumpkin County Lady Indians. Lumpkin (4-4, 1-1) was coming off a big 51-24 win at home against Mt Zion, after a tough 2-pt loss at Gilmer. Lumpkin’s biggest win of the season so far was against region rival Dawson County (46-39). The fact of the matter is – Lumpkin County is no push-over.
All that being said, Murphy’s varsity girls (6-1, 1-0) may carry the most talented roster TeamFYNSports has seen step onto a basketball court.
Nine different Lady Dawgs scored in the game, as Murphy head coach Ray Gutierrez worked to spread the playing time among his elite corps of hoopsters. Murphy senior Jessica Beckner was easily the TeamFYNSports player of the game, as she scored 24 points with 9 field goals and she went 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
Junior Ellie Martin, one of three Lady Dawgs to hit shots from beyond the perimeter, was the second-leading scorer with 12 points, two of her baskets coming from outside the arch.
Juniors Aubrey Clapsaddle and Bri Moore each scored 8 points in the game, followed by sophomore Sydni Addison and senior Hailey Thompson with 7 points each. Freshman Kaiya Pickens scored 6 points in the game. Senior Brittin Johnson and freshman Sarah Pulliam each scored 2 points for Murphy, respectively.
The first quarter was all Murphy – scoring 21 points and holding Lumpkin to only two points of offense, both points coming by way of free throws made by Raven Chester of the Lady Indians. With a 21-2 first quarter, most expected this game to be over before it even began.
However, the Lady Indians’ offense came alive in the 2nd quarter, ignited behind the effort by Karlee Armstrong, who hit two 3’s and a field goal to put up 8 of Lumpkin’s 18 points. Makenzie Caldwell hit a three-pointer and Clara White put up six points in the effort as Lumpkin fought to challenge Murphy’s dominant start.
Murphy’s offense was as consistent and accurate in the 2nd as it was in the 1st quarter, despite the offensive push-back by Lumpkin County. The Lady Dawgs put up 21 points (again) and led 42-20 going into the locker room at halftime.
Throughout the second half, both teams saw surges in which Murphy would increase their lead, followed by Lumpkin patiently chopping away at it. Ultimately, the margin would prove too great for the Lady Indians to overcome.
Murphy won the game by a final score of 76-55, advancing to face Union County in the second round, Thursday afternoon. Lumpkin’s varsity girls moved to the other side of the bracket, facing Darlington (GA) Thursday morning.
By Tiffany Santos, TeamFYNSports Reporter:
The crisp October air set the tone for the friday night football game between the Murphy Bulldogs (7-2, 3-1) and Swain County Maroon Devils (5-4, 4-1). The last time Murphy went up against this rival, the Bulldogs handed the Maroon Devils a harrowing loss (35-3). October 20th’s game between the rivalry schools was a different story. The Bulldogs put up a great effort but fell short by a 2-pt loss with a final score of 29-27; Swain taking home the win and the bragging rights.
In the 1st Quarter, senior #12 Brodie Bowman from Swain County scored the first touchdown with a 9-yard blast to paydirt. However, #11 Tanner Wiggins’ PAT was no good. With the missed kick, Swain started the game with a lead of 6-0.
Murphy answered with a touchdown by senior quarterback (#1) Joey Curry, who threw a pass complete to senior receiver (#4) DeAndre Jackson for 58 yards. The PAT was spot on by senior kicker and female football superstar (#3) Katelyn Jones. With this touchdown Murphy led Swain 7-6 as the 1st quarter came to a close.
The 2nd quarter exploded with two touchdowns for Murphy, and two for Swain. It seemed like each team was coming in strong without backing down. With 0:51 seconds left in the 1st half, Murphy quarterback (#1) Joey Curry threw a 17-yard pass complete to (#2) Micah Nelson. Jones once again showed how she earned her jersey, making good on her PAT kick. The TD and PAT tied the score up 20-all going into halftime.
By the end of the 3rd, Murphy was leading Swain with a score of 27-26, but a 24-yard field goal was successfully attempted by Swain County #11 Tanner Wiggins, bringing the lead to Swain County with a 29-27 score. It’s safe to conclude that penalties and mental mistakes may have cost Murphy the game, as the Bulldogs were penalized a total of 14 times for 131 yards on the night.
Nearing the end of the 4th Quarter, a player for the Bulldogs made a mistake that put Murphy in a 4th and 72 play. The player recovered the ball that was fumbled by his own team, but mistakenly ran the wrong way. Thankfully a teammate was able to stop him from running any further.
“I ain’t blaming this on anybody, I blame this on everybody. Not just one side,” Murphy Bulldogs Coach Gentry told TeamFYNSports. “Everybody that stepped on this field tonight didn’t do their job. It’s that simple. It’s not what tonight is, it’s how you react to it, and how big you come back!”
All-in-all, the Bulldogs and Maroon Devils put up a good fight, but in the end the Maroon Devils were the ones to taste victory. Sportswriter’s note: They say those that never win, never learn from loss. From hearing Murphy’s head coach speak about this defeat, I believe the Bulldogs will be able to learn from this game and make any changes necessary to continue on the road to the State Championships.
The Murphy Bulldogs (7-2, 3-1) have a home conference game vs Rosman (2-7, 1-3) this Friday, October 27th, 2017 @ 7:30pm.
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TeamFYNSports director Jason Banks called in this morning for our Monday Morning Quarterback segment. He and BKP discussed Fannin’s tough loss to Lumpkin, Ridgeland’s win over Pickens, and East Hall’s loss at Dawson. Follow TeamFYNSports for all your up to date high school football coverage in our North Ga region. Every Friday night we have your complete sideline coverage.