Murphy faces Hillcrest (South Carolina) and Burns
By Brandon Stephens
(Cullowhee) – – Murphy’s offense is making impact with two good teams from North Carolina and South Carolina. There is an obvious size difference between Murphy and Hillcrest High Rams (5-A team from Simpsonville, SC) and Burns High Bulldogs (2-A team from Cleveland Co, NC). Burns lost in the 2-A regional finals 32-to-14 to Reidsville and had an incredible offensive season. Until that game, Burns was averaging 45 points per game on its opponents, most of which came from a stellar passing game. Bulldog quarterback Ben Mauney and receiver Kahari Surratt were key for the Burns offense in 2022. Hillcrest finished 9-and-1 and lost in the first round of the 5-A state play-offs. Hillcrest also hired a new head coach, Bennett Swygert, who was the Offensive Coordinator at South Carolina State and in 2006 was the quarterback at Western Carolina University. Swygert was the Catamount quarterback in 2004, the last season when WCU defeated Appalachian State University to regain the Old Mountain Jug.
Murphy Bulldog offense appeared to move the ball well with its new Sophomore Quarterback Brady Grant. Grant was comfortable to confident directing the senior and veteran backs Hunter Stalcup and Trenton Russell as well as receivers Dominic Rummler. Defensive coverage is an area the Bulldogs will need to place focus this summer to prepare for the threats it will face this coming season.
Hunter Stalcup will be a focus for the Murphy Bulldogs to carry the ball and reach for a pass every once in a while. Stalcup has been a ‘thousand yard’ rusher for the Bulldogs. Against two powerful teams, Murphy did not win the first two game, but did score and stayed within reaching distance in the 20 minute mini scrimmages. Hunter knows the new Bulldog team needs more practice and work, but felt good being on the field again.
Murphy will have a few more 7-on-7 scrimmages this summer to work on its offensive strengths. Team FYN Sports will follow various Smoky Mountain teams through summer workouts and prep scrimmages.
Senior Wide Receiver Dominic Rummler catches a touchdown pass from Sophomore Quarterback Brady Grant. Two-point conversion was made by Ryan Payne.
Former Murphy Quarterback and current Western Carolina University defender Micah Nelson watches the Murphy Bulldogs scrimmage.