Bulldogs soccer team falls to Blue Ridge

Murphy Bulldogs, TeamFYNSports
Murphy soccer falls

MURPHY, NC – The Bulldogs soccer squad continued to skid Thursday, Oct. 10, against Blue Ridge Early College at home.

Murphy (2-6, 1-3 Smoky Mountain 1-A) gave up two goals in the first half and could never find the net in a 2-0 loss.

Murphy soccer

Butler said the team needs to convert more scoring opportunities.

“We just came out too slow,” head coach Justin Butler said, though he said he was proud of how well the team played in the second half.

“We made some adjustments at halftime and had some players do a good job at moving into positions they were less familiar with, and held them scoreless in the second half,” Butler said.

The team continues to play with several players out injured, forcing Butler to fill the gaps as best he can on an already shortened roster.

While the defense played well in the second half, Butler is still concerned with missed scoring opportunities. The Bulldogs had several throughout the game.

“We continue to work on finishing when we have scoring opportunities. It’s going to be about making some adjustments for our next game,” Butler said. “The guys continue to put in great effort and train hard to ensure that we move forward in the right direction.”

Bulldogs fall to Swain, battle with Blue Ridge next

Murphy Bulldogs, Sports, TeamFYNSports
Bulldogs lose

Murphy High senior Ivan Ponce

BRYSON CITY, NC – With several Bulldogs out due to injury and the roster already short, a strong all-around effort wasn’t enough as the Murphy High soccer team fell 4-0 at Swain County on Wednesday, Oct. 2.

The injuries forced more than a few players to play out of their normal positions, making an already difficult task that much harder, according to Justin Butler, head coach for Murphy (2-5, 1-2 Smoky Mountain 1-A).

“The guys all gave it a solid effort, despite several having to play positions they aren’t used to,” Butler said after the game.

Replacement options and substitutions aren’t much of an option for the Bulldogs, so when a player does go down, it’s not as simple as running in the next guy.

Butler said that he’s going to begin training players in different positions as the season continues to progress.

Late goal earns win.

Bulldogs head coach Justin Butler.

“We will continue to train and get guys more comfortable in different positions and be ready for our match against Blue Ridge on Monday,” Butler said.


Murphy High junior Colin Parker

The team will certainly have to be ready if they hope to pull an upset Monday, Oct. 7.

The Bulldogs are slated to welcome region-foe Blue Ridge Early College, from Cashiers, to Murphy at 6 p.m., Monday.

The Bobcats (6-4, 2-1) are the defending region champions and have been absolutely dominant against the Bulldogs in recent years.

In two wins last season, Blue Ridge outscored Murphy 7-3. Since 2015, the Bulldogs have been outscored 40-9 by the Bobcats in nine meetings.

The last time the Bulldogs took down Blue Ridge was in October 2013. Murphy won 4-3 in that game, but then lost to the Bobcats in the postseason to end the year.

This season, Blue Ridge is led by senior Colton Taylor and junior Jacob Pressler, who play in the mid-field.

Late goal propels Bulldogs to first conference win

Murphy Bulldogs, TeamFYNSports
Late goal earns Bulldogs win
Late goal earns win

Junior Kenneth Parker, pictured above, scored the game-tying goal for the Murphy High Bulldogs (2-4, 1-1 Smoky Mountains 1-A) in a 2-1 victory at Highlands on Monday, Sept. 30.

HIGHLANDS, NC – A late goal proved to be the difference Monday, Sept. 30, as the Murphy High boys soccer team notched their first conference win of the season by taking down Highlands 2-1 in a big upset on the road.

Late goal earns win.

Bulldogs head coach Justin Butler.

The win is the first in seven years for Murphy against Highlands, according to head coach Justin Butler.

The Bulldogs (2-4, 1-1 Smoky Mountain 1-A) fell behind a goal in the first half, but managed to draw even in the second half before a last-minute goal led to victory.

“The guys ramped up their pressure and intensity at halftime,” Butler said. These guys played with a huge amount of heart and determination. They kept their heads in the game through the very last whistle.”

Late goal earns win

For the second-straight game, Senior Braeden Alexander, pictured above, scored for the Murphy High boys soccer team Monday, Sept. 30, at Highlands. Alexander buried a penalty kick in the closing minute to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 victory.

With the score knotted at one goal apiece and nearly a minute remaining in regulation, senior Braeden Alexander managed to bury a penalty kick in the net.

The goal put the Bulldogs up 2-1 and turned out to be the game winner as the defense held on the rest of the way.

The goal is the second on the season for Alexander, who is second on the team in goals scored.

The Bulldogs played well overall in the first half, but managed to find themselves out of position to give up the first goal.

With a much more intense defense in the second half, the Bulldogs returned to shut down the Highlanders and give the offense the opportunity to even the score at one goal each.

Junior Kenneth Parker managed a steal just inside the 18-yard box and put the ball past the keeper to tie the game at one goal each with Highlands (4-4-2, 1-1).

Parker leads the team in goals this season with three.

The Bulldogs are set to take on another conference foe in Swain County (3-6-3, 1-1) Wednesday, Oct. 2. Murphy will travel to Bryson City with the first kick scheduled for 6 p.m.

Bulldogs soccer falls to Hayesville at home

Murphy Bulldogs, Team FYN Sports
Murphy Bulldogs fall to Hayesviille

MURPHY, NC – The Murphy High Bulldogs soccer team couldn’t overcome giving up three goals in the first half Wednesday, Sept. 25, falling at home to Hayesville 3-1 in the first game of the region schedule.

The Bulldogs (1-4, 0-1 Smoky Mountain 1-A) started the match slow on defense, leading to the barrage of goals from the visiting Yellow Jackets.

Murphy Bulldogs fall to Hayesville

Senior Braeden Alexander works on the pitch for the Murphy Bulldogs. Alexander scored the team’s lone goal in a 3-1 loss to Hayesville on Wednesday, Sept. 25, in Murphy.

“We came out lacking intensity in the first half and made some mistakes defensively, which cost us,” coach Justin Butler said.

Despite the large deficit, Murphy turned the effort around in the second half.

The Bulldogs played much stingier and together as a unit on defense. They also continued to give themselves chances to score, but still displayed difficulty finishing off those scoring opportunities, which Butler said they are going to have to improve on.

Senior Braeden Alexander finally broke through for the Bulldogs, earning and converting a penalty kick to give the team their only score of the game in the second half.

“We came out in the second half much more intense and played much better,” Butler said.

Moving forward, the coach said the team still has to improve on playing 80 full minutes of high-intensity defense, while converting their scoring opportunities.

“We must continue to improve on finishing our scoring opportunities when they are available,” Butler said. “We continue to work and improve, and I am proud of how the guys regained their composure after a lackluster first half and came out and played very hard and much better in the second half.”

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Bulldogs as they continue on in conference play.

Next week, Murphy travels to Highlands for a match with the Highlanders (4-3-2, 1-0) on Monday, before visiting Swain County (2-6-3, 0-1) on Wednesday.

Both matches are set to begin at 6 p.m.

Lady Bulldogs Advance

Team FYN Sports

The 6th seed Alleghany Lady Trojans (17-11) traveled all the way from Sparta, North Carolina to the cozy mountains of Murphy on Saturday night to kick off the craziness that is March Madness and face the 3rd seed Murphy Lady Bulldogs (24-4) in the 3rd round of the NCHSAA 1a State Playoffs.


The Lady Bulldogs came out of the gates hot, winning the tip and finding Brianna Moore for the easy lay up as the Lady dogs pulled ahead early. After some back and forth between the two teams, Murphy’s Kaiya Pickens drills a 3 in the face of Alleghany’s Abigail Keesling to give the Bulldogs a 17-6 lead with 2 and a half minutes left in the 1st. Murphy’s Head Coach Ray Gutierrez implicated a full court press in the early ongoing and Brianna Moore made it worth his while, forcing a turnover and scoring another bucket, adding to Murphy’s 21-6 lead with a little over a minute left in the first period of play. After the Lady Trojans force a turnover, Abigail Keesling converts an easy lay-in to end the first quarter and cut into the Bulldogs lead making it 25-12.

#35 Sydni Addison slides across the floor after a loose ball

The lady Trojans knowing they have some work to do, come out firing to start the second half and make it a 10 point game with 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter. This sparks a scoring run for the Bulldogs as Sydni Addison hits a 3 with under 3 minutes left in the half to make it 39-20. The bulldogs keep that same intensity down the stretch and end the half with a 23 point lead, 49-26. The 3rd quarter is more of the same as the Dogs keep piling it on, 71-31.

In the 4th the Lady Trojans initiate a full court press which leads to a couple of Bulldog turnovers and ignite an Alleghany run trimming the Bulldog lead 75-43 with just under 6 minutes left in the contest. Finally, Sydni Addison bangs in another 3 pointer to end Murphy’s scoring drought. With the drought ended, Coach Gutierrez subs in a wave of younger Bulldogs to allow them to gain some experience and earn some playing time and Taylor Phillips did just that, pulling a 3 that rolls around and around the rim until it finally falls, giving the Bulldogs a commanding 83-57 lead with just under a minute left.

The Lady Bulldogs end the game victorious 84-57 advancing to the fourth round as they travel to Avery County on Tuesday March 5th, to face the number 2 seed Lady Vikings in the Elite 8 of the NCHSAA 1a State Playoffs. The Bulldogs had 4 players in double figures, with Junior Sarah Pullium leading the way with 20 points, Junior Sydni Addison with 18, Freshman Torin Rodgers with 16 and Senior Aubrey Clapsaddle with 10.

Bulldogs Win State Championship

Murphy Bulldogs, Team FYN Sports

After a big semi-final win over Robbinsville last week, the Bulldogs of Murphy High School made the trek to Wallace Wade Stadium on the campus of Duke University for the 2018 1A State Championship game.  Their opponent, the Pamlico Hurricanes come as the higher seed making Murphy the visiting team.

The captains took the field for the coin toss with the Canes winning the flip and choosing to receive the ball first.  The officials spotted the ball and on the first play from scrimmage a well placed hit by Micah Nelson caused the Canes’ running back to cough it up and put it on the ground.  Nelson scooped up the football and went untouched for 34 yards and a Bulldog score to put the Bulldogs up to stay.  The Murphy offense was dominating all night without their leading rusher in Slade McTaggart.  After a failed appeal, McTaggart was not eligible to dress out due to the previous week’s ejection.  Coach Gentry and his staff felt the disqualification of #32 was unwarranted after watching the video of the incident.  McTaggart was on the sideline cheering on his brothers on every play.  Commenting on having to sit out, Mctaggart said: “It hurts not being out there with my team.”  As real teams do, K.J. Allen and Devonte stepped up in McTaggart’s absence.  Allen carried the ball for 163 yards on 19 touches and 4 touchdowns with Murray adding 2 scores on 8 carries for 109 yards.  Ray Rathburn also reached paydirt with 1 touchdown in the State championship win.  Coach David Gentry stated that his running backs performed very well and a lot of credit goes to his offensive line.  The linemen blocked really good and opened holes to run through.   Getting into the end zone 9 times, the Bulldogs had the Hurricanes on their heels all night.

Pamlico rushed and passed the ball fairly well with 327 offensive yards and 27 points in the game.  The strong defense of the Bulldogs bent but never broke. The Canes turned the ball over 5 times(3 fumbles and 2 interceptions) in the loss to Murphy.  The first quarter had the Bulldogs put up a quick 21 points with Pamlico crossing the goal line once at 2:54 on the clock.  With an uneventful second quarter, these 2 teams entered the locker room at the half looking at a 21-7 Bulldog lead.

Coming out for the second half, Murphy received the ball and it didn’t take long for them to pick up where the first half ended.  Nelson led his offense down the field.  At 7:53 on the clock, #24 Ray Rathburn took the Nelson handoff for 11 yards and a Murphy touchdown bringing the score to 28-7.  They would not stop there.  K.J. Allen got his second of 4 touchdowns on the night with 2:41 left on the 3rd quarter game clock.  Pamlico squeezed in a late quarter score to close the gap to 35-14. The Bulldogs closed out the final 56 seconds of the 3rd moving the ball down the field and on the first play of the fourth and final quarter Devonte Murray powered his way through the line breaking tackles and scampered 46 yards for yet another Bulldog touchdown.  Allen and Murray dominated the offensive output for Murphy in the quarter.  Allen scored 2 more times with runs of 12 yards and 23 yards and Murray added 1 more at 7:47 with a run of 31 yards for a game total of 60 points.  The Hurricanes added to late touchdowns but it wasn’t enough to even put the outcome in question.  The Bulldogs made a major statement to anyone that may have doubted they were good enough to be ranked.  The 60-27 win over the higher seeded Hurricanes left no questions as who the number 1 team is in North Carolina Conference 1A football.  This State Championship makes 9 for the Bulldogs and will be a contender next year as well.  Congratulations to Coach David Gentry(See video below), the Murphy Bulldogs, and the entire town of Murphy North Carolina on bringing the championship home.

Congratulations to Hunter Shope(Defensive Player of the Game), Micah Nelson(Offensive Player of the Game), and K.J. Allen( Most Valuable Player).  Great game guys and your awards are well deserved.

Hunter Shope Defensive Player of the Game

Micah Nelson Offensive Player of the Game

K.J. Allen Most Valuable Player



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