Franklin Panthers Defeat Murphy in the Season Opener 24-to-7

Sports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports


By Brandon Stephens


(Murphy) – – Hey diddle, diddle!  The Panthers did fiddle.  Ty Handley jumped over the moon.  The Bulldogs didn’t laugh to see such a sight.  Franklin ran away with the game.  Friday night’s game was not a nursery rhyme for the Murphy Bulldogs.  Franklin (1-and-0) and Murphy (0-and-1) appeared to have the usual first game frustration on offense to get the ball moving.  The Panthers figured out a strategy to move the ball around the Bulldogs utilizing Senior runner Ty Handley who had nearly 200 yards rushing and a touchdown.  Murphy had its only touchdown of the night in the second quarter off a 15- yard pass play from Senior Quarterback Cole Laney to Hunter Stalcup.  Passing appeared to be one of the brighter spots for Murphy’s offense, even though a few interceptions were thrown.  Murphy appeared to run out of steam defensively in the later stages of the game and allowed Franklin’s Handley to run with the ball and melt the clock to eliminate any hope for mounting a come-back.

Reviewing the Game

Franklin’s First Score – Murphy and Franklin struggled initially to get their offense moving.  Franklin drove to the redzone and was unable to move forward for a touchdown.  The Panthers called up Sophomore Kicker Daniel Riddle who parked the ball between the uprights for a 38-yard field goal.

Second Quarter – The Bulldogs fans came to their feet when Murphy marched the ball down to the 15-yard line and scored on a Cole Laney pass to Junior Running Back Hunter Stalcup with 7:28 remaining in the first half.  Junior Kicker Will Joyner nailed the point-after kick (PAT) and made the score Murphy 7 Franklin 3.  Franklin wasted no time going back to touchdown town.  Two minutes later and only a few snaps of the ball, Panther’s Ty Handley scorched a 74-yard pathway for six and Riddle hit the PAT.  Score at halftime – Franklin 10 Murphy 7.

Third Quarter – Managing the clock became a bigger play threat from Franklin to Murphy after the Panthers held the Bulldogs from scoring and ended the third quarter with a short 3-yard dash from Senior Fullback Brayden Watts.  Riddle score the PAT to end the quarter with a 10-point Franklin lead 17-to-Seven.

Fourth Quarter – Murphy’s challenge entering the fourth quarter was to score twice and hold the Franklin Panthers off with good defense.  The Bulldog’s front line was visibly fatigued and had difficulty stopping the run by Handley.  Franklin was employing a run to keep the clock moving and took their time getting plays in motion by eating up every second of the play clock.  A fumbling hit on Murphy Running Back Ty Laney and an interception by Franklin’s Jacob Gibson were the daggers in the Bulldog’s game.  The Murphy turnovers gave more opportunity to Franklin’s Senior Quarterback Davis Anders threw a touchdown pass to Junior Tight End Beau Paulson for the final touchdown with about 2:00 left to go in the game.  Final Score:  Franklin 24 Murphy 7.

Factors in the Game

Franklin demonstrated a highly efficient game with 268 yards rushing and 31 yards passing for almost 300 yards of total offense that burnt up almost 30 minutes of game time.  The Panthers controlled the game tempo and strategized well against the Bulldogs.  Murphy had difficulty containing Ty Handley who hit the corners with speed and his size helped out too.  One area of concern was Murphy having a good passing game.  Cole Laney did well in orchestrating his first full game at Quarterback, but he needs some protection.  Franklin converted third to first down 71 percent of their possessions, which kept the ball moving for Franklin.

The Next Game for Murphy

The Murphy Bulldogs will begin a five-week road schedule this coming Friday night (August 26, 2022) with a game at Commerce, GA.  This span of the schedule also includes an open date for the Bulldogs on September 2nd.  The Commerce Tigers are 1-and-oh after Friday night’s 21-to-17 win over the Southside Christian Sabres.  Reports from South Carolina media indicated this game broke a 23-game win streak for the Sabres.  A player to be ready to stop is Jaiden Daniels who rushed 16 times for 94 yards and three touchdowns in this game.  The game will kick off in Commerce, GA at 7:30.  Team FYN Sports will stream the game live on Friday night.  Look for our more comprehensive preview of the Murphy at Commerce game later this week and tune in for the Inside the SMC on Thursday night at 7PM.


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