No Doubt about the Offense…the Night built strength in the defense
Written by Brandon Stephens
(Murphy) – – Almost every possession the Murphy Bulldogs showed its prowess by scoring and in exciting fashion. Being undersized and stunned, the Georgia Force defense struggled to stop the Bulldogs from going to the end zone. Early in the game the Bulldogs defense was a little shaky, which didn’t take long to overcome and start showing the skill and discipline that has been the main characteristic of Murphy Bulldog football. Murphy posted 51 points to go to the half with sharp missile like passes from Kellen Rumfelt, which resulted in a touchdown pass to Payton McCracken. Ty Laney, Juan Allen, and Hunter Stalcup scorched the earth getting up the field and making touchdowns.
“They (Georgia Force) were a good team. We knew what we had to do. They came but we just shut them down,” Junior Running Back Ty Laney said after the game. For the season home opener and looking to build the momentum and fire Murphy is known to have, Ty says the game was a lot of fun. “If we are doing what we have to do it’s not that hard to keep that momentum going,” Laney added.
It was the longest first half which seemed to wear down some players, but the excitement of getting on top of the game lifted the Bulldogs to a thrilling first half. It showed dozens of young Bulldog football players, attending the game for Youth League Night, how to be great players!
“We really prepared really well for them (Georgia Force). The coaches (Murphy Coaches) did a great job simulating what they were going to do in practice. I think that is one of the biggest reasons we came out with a win so easily,” Kellen Rumfelt commented on the game. Juan Allen shared Kellen’s comments stating, “On film they looked good, but it didn’t look like their star players wanted to play.” How do you keep the good momentum going? Kellen says it begins with practice on Labor Day Monday. “We are off from school Monday, but we have got to come to practice Monday morning ready to work. We have got to stay hungry,” he added. Juan chimed with, “What he (Kellen) said! We’ve just got to stay hungry.” The win over Georgia Force has really boosted the Bulldogs and helped give a better outlook to the season.
The second half seemed to move lightening quick. There were feelings the game should have been in a rolling clock. During the second half, Coach Joseph Watson removed most of the starters. Players like Cole Laney, Jaiden Cotton, and Trenton Russell built the second-string offense. Murphy scored only once in the second half with Sophomore Running Back Trenton Russell on an 11-yard run with 2:12 seconds to go in the third quarter. Catalina Barrero nailed the point-after-touchdown kick. That would be the last time Murphy would score.
“This feels better than two weeks ago. I am proud of the kids playing hard tonight. They came out ready to play on fire in the first quarter. It’s probably the longest quarter of football I have seen in my life,” Coach Watson said after the game. Long quarter or long first half? The Bulldogs did lots of work to put up a ton of points and that slowed the game down, which is a good indicator of great performance. That is something Coach Watson was pleased to see. He was also pleased with individual play. “Ty (Laney) runs the ball like a man every time you give it to him. They all run the ball hard. You have Hunter Stalcup in there running hard, and Juan as well. When you can get Juan the ball good things usually happen,” Coach Watson adds.
More important to building on a 51-to-Seven lead at the half, Coach Watson was looking to build strength with the defense and keep the spirits high with the offense throughout the game. Coach Watson noted, “Defense did a great job. They had a big stop early on them down in their territory. You know I am just proud of those kids playing hard and coming back two weeks ago, that was something they are not happy about, nor I was, or the coaches. And they did a good job correcting that and coming back to work.”
The Murphy Bulldogs rolled up 526 yards of total offense on 40 plays, which amounted to 13 yards per play and only used 26 minutes to do. That’s the efficiency we are used to seeing out of the Bulldogs. Passing accounted for 176 yards and Rushing 350 yards. The Blue Knights were limited to 185 yards, most of which were off passes (116 yards). The rest was rushing. The more impressive stat was Murphy score 58 points and limited the Georgia Force to 14.
Individually, Kellen Rumfelt complete six of eight passes for 176 yards, which included two touchdown passes. One of the touchdown-passes went to Payton McCracken, his only reception of the night for a 61-yard touchdown. Hunter Stalcup had 3 receptions for 56 yards and Juan Allen and Will Johnson made up the remaining receptions and yardage.
Ty Laney now leads the team in rushing yardage after collecting 135 yards against the Blue Knights. Juan Allen is right behind Ty with yardage. What is most impressive about Juan is that his average carry is eclipses Ty Laney. Each carry for Juan is almost 24 yards, while more yardage on more carries by Laney. Regardless these two Bulldogs know how to move past the opponent and get touchdowns. Trenton Russell had 7 carries for 60 yards. Hunter Stalcup ran the field averaging 10 yards per carry (50 on five carries). Both had a touchdown. Others making their mark on the field included Will Joyner and Jaiden Cotton, who have good promise to contribute well into the future.
The other good note of an efficient night for Murphy was having 21 first downs. Looking at the number of play 40 and 21 first downs…there weren’t many third or fourth down conversions as the Bulldogs wasted no time getting up the field. While many plays on paper don’t sound like much, were like lightening striking on the field. A good example is a solid pass play to Will Johnson for 19 yards, which was a prelude to a Ty Laney touchdown. Good job Kellen and Will! Stats were provided by Murphy High School through Ray Carroll.
The intangible statistic you don’t see on paper are the blocks, the multiple times the guys in the trenches hurried the Blue Knight’s quarterback. The line did a great job to open the holes for Ty and Juan. Coach Watson summed up the Bulldog effort on the night. “It’s totally a team effort on the offense. And defensively they played their butts off. We thought this team (Georgia Force) coming in was very dangerous passing-wise, and they are. As a total team effort tonight offense, defense, and special teams did an outstanding job,” stated Coach Watson.
How the Bulldogs Scored
Murphy shut the Blue Knights out in the first quarter 15-to-nothing. Second Quarter was a blast for the Bulldogs scoring 36 points and seeing Georgia Force score mid-way through the period on a kick-off return for 76 yards. Murphy and Georgia Force only scored once in the second half. Here is how it worked out.
10:30 – Kellen Rumfelt completes a 40-yard pass play to Juan Allen for the first touchdown. Will Joyner hits the PAT (Murphy 7 Georgia Force 0)
3:05 – Ty Laney runs in a 2-yard touchdown. Cole Laney completes a two-point conversion run (Murphy 15 Georgia Force 0)
9:30 – Ty Laney runs for a 38-yard touchdown. Joyner is good on the PAT (Murphy 22 Georgia Force 0)
8:40 – Kellen Rumfelt hits Payton McCracken for a 61-yard touchdown pass play. Joyner is good on the PAT (Murphy 29 Georgia Force 0).
6:28 – Juan Allen runs for a 35-yard touchdown. Joyner hits the PAT (Murphy 36 Georgia Force 0)
6:17 – Georgia Force returns the kickoff by Wide Receiver Josh Patterson for a 76-yard touchdown run. Dominic Fisher hits the PAT (Murphy 36 Georgia Force 7).
5:08 – Juan runs for his second touchdown 44 yards. Will Joyner nails the PAT (Murphy 43 Georgia Force 7)
3:27 – Georgia Force is caught in the end zone and the quarterback is whistled for intentional grounding, which gives Murphy a 2 Point Safety. (Murphy 45 Georgia Force 7).
1:09 – Hunter Stalcup runs for a 6-yard touchdown. Will Joyner misses the PAT. (Murphy 51 Georgia Force 7) to end the first half.
2:12 – Sophomore Running Back Trenton Russell runs for an 11-yard touchdown. Catalina Barrero hits the PAT. (Murphy 58 Georgia Force 7)
9:34 – Georgia Force Quarterback Caleb Fleitz completes an 11-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Johnson. Alex Strine hits the PAT. (FINAL SCORE Murphy 58 Georgia Force 14).
Murphy Doesn’t Have a Game This Coming Week
The great momentum and spirit the Murphy Bulldogs was to be maintain and built. One way to do that is play another game and do well. This coming week the Bulldogs don’t have a game. Scheduled was the highly regarded South Pittsburgh, Tennessee high school, which is located near Chattanooga. COVID-19 issues and concerns made the South Pittsburgh High leadership decide to cancel the game to protect student and public health. In addition to preparing for Georgia Force, Coach Watson has been calling and searching for a team to face this week. “I am going to find a game. I tell people we will go wherever. We will travel or we will host them here (in Murphy), it doesn’t matter. If we can find anybody within two to two-and-a-half hours of here we will play them. We are going to have some options and we are going to play,” Coach Watson stated. Primarily, the Bulldogs want to make sure they continue to exercise their abilities not just in a practice but a game situation. That will go a long way to building a great season. We will keep you informed on the new game situation when it is confirmed.