A special report from the voice of the Murphy Bulldogs, J.R. Carroll!
The Georgia Force’s pregame sign read “Murphy Who”, and the Bulldogs took the sign as an insult and showed their displeasure with it on the first offensive play they ran. The Force took the opening kickoff and went three and out.
After a punt, Murphy was set up on the 20 yard line. Kellin Rumfelt handed off to Devonte Murray on a sweep to the right side. After shedding three tacklers, Murray raced 80 yards for a touchdown. That started an onslaught of scoring by the Dogs en route to a 40-9 drubbing of the Sugar Hill, Georgia team.
Murray would lead a Bulldog rushing attack that netted 563 yards and five touchdowns. He finished with 13 carries for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
The scoring in the first quarter continued after another change of possession. Justice Dorsey broke loose on a 76 yard run for the second Bulldog score. Point attempt was good and Murphy led 14-0, but the Murphy scoring hadn’t finished in the first quarter.
After another four and out by the Force, Ray Rathburn, who finished with nine carries for 94 yards and a touchdown, hit paydirt from 6 yards out. The point attempt failed and Murphy led 20-0 at the end of the first stanza.
The Force got their first scoring opportunity in the second quarter when they intercepted an errant Rumfelt pass on their own 24 yard line, stopping the fourth Murphy drive. They were unable to move the ball and Murphy got the ball back around their own 49 yard line.
Another Murphy miscue turned the ball over to the Force as the Force recovered a Murphy fumble around the Bulldog 41 yard line. After a couple of first downs the Force was held on third down and kicked a successful 20 yard field goal making the score 20-3.
After a failed onside kick, Murphy was in great scoring position from the five yard line. Rumfelt rolled out and found Murray for a 5 yard touchdown strike. The two point conversion attempt failed and Murphy led 26-3 at halftime.
Murphy took the second half kickoff and capped off the drive as Murray hit paydirt for the third time on a three yard rush. Point attempt by Luke Ritz was good and Murphy led 33-3. Murphy let some of their younger talent finish out the game. Neither team threatened to score in the third period.
Murphy gave sophomore Chandler Wood a chance to show his stuff in the fourth stanza and he took full advantage of the opportunity. He had two long touchdown runs that were negated by penalties, and the penalties in this game were numerous.
Wood finished his night with 13 rushes for 81 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown came in the fourth quarter with a 7 yard touchdown. Ritz’s kick was good and Murphy led 40-3.
The Forces’ lone touchdown came later in the fourth quarter when Stacey Walker returned the kickoff for a 72 yard score. Point attempt was no good and that netted the final score 40-9.
Two different cultures met in this game and when that happens you always have a learning curve of the way things are done in the other teams’ environment. The game was kept much closer by flags at critical times. Murphy was penalized 19 times for 165 yards. The Force had 12 of their own for 115 yards.
The Force, who relied heavily on their passing game, went 12 for 24 for only 109 yards. Rumfelt completed six for twelve for 84 yards and a touchdown. Murphy had 563 yards total offense while the Forces’ gained 200 yards, many of those coming in late in the third and fourth quarter.
Next week the Bulldogs host the number one ranked team in western North Carolina. The Christ School, led by Appalachian State commit Navy Shuler at quarterback, comes to David Gentry Field. Navy is the son of former University of Tennessee and NFL quarterback Heath Shuler.
Join on Thursdays for the Smoky Mountain Conference Report from 8 to 9 on FYN Sports as we will have Heath on the show. Kickoff for the game Friday night is at 7:30 p.m.