Murphy Bulldogs and Robbinsville Black Knights set to Battle Friday NightSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports October 13, 2021
By Brandon Stephens
(Murphy) – – Nothing could be finer than having more points than your opponent in the game between Murphy and Robbinsville. The atmosphere would be so sweet like winning a conference crown, state championship, even a Super Bowl. The Bulldogs would continue to climb in the conference standings and work to shed a cloak of uncertainty about this Fall’s team being a good team. Robbinsville could earn its first conference win; break a losing streak; and gain some momentum to be more competitive. This game is going to have a lot more to offer the winner than community pride.
Preparations for the Murphy Bulldogs have been excellent. Murphy Head Coach Joseph Watson says, “It’s been nice to get back outside this week. Last week we were inside a couple of days. It was nice to have some good weather and have some up tempo and spirited practices. We are looking forward to the game Friday.”
Are there some take-aways Coach Watson saw with the Cherokee versus Robbinsville game last week? “We’ve played Cherokee and we know they are a good football team, and they are a physical football team. Robbinsville is the same way. They are a good physical football team as well. We are going to prepare for Robbinsville like we always do. We expect to have their (Robbinsville’s) best every time we play. They are going to be ready to play as well,” Watson added.
Robbinsville Black Knights
The Black Knight Offense has an I or Power-I formation look lead by Senior Quarterback Dasan Gross, who is surrounded by Sophomore Running Backs Kage Williams and Cuttler Adams. Published stats and previous game film indicates Adams is a very talented running back that has generated 852 yards of rushing on 112 carries, which averages almost 8 yards per rushing play. Fullback Cage Williams has carried the ball 63 times for 236 yards and averages 3.6 yards per carry.
The larger question is will Cuttler Adams play? Adams has experienced back problems and did not appear to have his usual fluid motion during last week’s Cherokee game. Cuttler is the Halfback that really makes the Robbinsville Offense go. Rumors from Robbinsville say he is questionable for playing in this week’s game. One person does not make an 11-man team, but compared to many teams in this region, Robbinsville really needs Cuttler Adams. My guess he will follow the legacy of many Black Knights that wanted to play through sickness and pain and will find a way to suit up and do battle with the Bulldogs. I am reminded of Kurt Odom (played late in the 2000 decade and later played at Campbell Camels) who would not miss a play-off game at Elkin and was sick with mononucleosis. That’s the spirit of the Black Knights.
The Black Knight Offense will live on counters and power motions. Buck sweeps and counters will fall right into Murphy’s hands. The offensive front line is led by Carlos Wesley (#56 – 6’0 260 lbs. Senior) and Senior Center Carson White (6’3 315lbs). Robbinsville Quarterback Dasan Gross has completed about 61 percent of his passes. Gross has completed 36 of 59 attempts to collect 487 yards on passes, which averages 13.5 yards per completion. His longest pass was 58 yards. When passing, the Black Knight tend to go for shorter screen passes that help simulate some speed in the backfield. Junior Receiver Brock Adams is the favored target for a pass. Brock has caught 25 passes for 343 yards in five games and averages about 13 yards on each reception. Based on the average, Robbinsville is passing the ball about 10 times per game and completing six attempts to move the Black Knights about 80 yards per contest.
The Robbinsville Defense will have a 4-4 look and play cover-3 in the secondary. One method of attack from the Black Knights may include bringing Senior End Eddie Brooms (#42) to an assignment position and play man on Murphy Quarterback Kellen Rumfelt. This is the role Brooms played in Cherokee. Look for Cuttler Adams and Kage Williams to also play at linebacker. Brock Adams will add some speed in the defensive secondary at Free Safety.
The 56-14 win over Hayesville provided a lot of exercise for the Murphy Bulldogs to build its Offensive bandwidth. The linemen played excellent and helped power Juan Allen and Hunter Stalcup to great performances over the Yellow Jackets and build team unity. Murphy is still powered by its run game. Until last week the Bulldogs relied heavily on Running Back Ty Laney, who leads the team with 666 yards on 82 carries and averages 8 yards per rush. On half of the touches, Juan Allen is averaging 11 yards on 41 carries for 465 yards on the season. Sophomore Hunter Stalcup proved he will be a future offensive leader when he racked up 178 yards against Hayesville on 7 carries (average 25 yards per play).
“Our blocking was good (in the Hayesville game). We are finally getting the trap down, which our tackle is doing great, he’s getting his block and we have just had open field to run through,” explained Murphy Running Back Hunter Stalcup. Moving from a freshman on the junior varsity team to varsity this year is more responsibility and work according to Stalcup, but he is doing the work he wants to do. With Robbinsville Hunter says its discipline. “We just have to keep doing the same thing we are doing. Eleven people to the ball every play. But they (Robbinsville) can run it up the middle. Our middle linebacker, Ty Laney, he knows how to fill the hole. We should be good there,” Stalcup explained. Hunter likes how the Bulldogs are developing this season.
Going to the pass, Murphy Quarterback Kellen Rumfelt has maintained a balanced attack going to the air with a 52 percent completion rate (43 completions on 83 attempts) to give Murphy 843 yards in passing this season and 120 yards per game. Payton McCracken remains the team pass reception leader with 380 yards receiving or about 55 yards per game. Key for the Murphy Bulldogs is the pass is not necessarily an offensive attack that is relied upon for advancing the ball between the goal lines. The Bulldogs usually strike gold for a touchdown on its pass attempts, which is about 20 percent of the time.
The Murphy Bulldogs are developing well and building to the team it wants to be says Quarterback Kellen Rumfelt. “Offensively we are on point all night. The starters didn’t have to play but two and a quarter of a quarter. We didn’t have to pass that much, and our line was on point. We feel like we have gotten better every week, especially since (playing) Franklin. We remind ourselves about how we played, and we try to look back on that game and never play like that again. We are just going to keep getting better,” Rumfelt said.
Murphy is averaging 41 points per game and limiting its opponent to 28 points.
Winning this game is priority for more than boasting a win over a rival
Getting the win over the opponent is going to be sweet. Building a position in the conference standing and keeping or building momentum to meet the next conference opponent may be more important. To face a few opponents in your future like Swain and Andrews, Murphy and Robbinsville may need a little more energy and boost in addition to figuring out the game plan. A win for either team Friday will provide the medicine needed to play the last two conference games of the season. Swain County and Andrews have found some new life in their season or like the Wildcats having a near perfect season, until last week. There are no more “give-me” games in the Smoky Mountain Conference. Don’t overlook Cherokee; Swain County is not a pushover; and Andrews will run the ball down your throat. Swain County may be worn out by the last game as it will host Murphy on October 22; travel to Robbinsville on Tuesday, October 26; and finish the regular season hosting Cherokee on Friday, October 29th. That’s three games in seven days. Does all of that really matter, because in the southern mountains of western North Carolina we live on football. “In the Smoky Mountain Conference, you are going to have a tough game every week and especially this year, which is pretty tough conference, and it usually is. We take one game at a time and our next game is the most important game. You have to win that one to get to the next one,” Coach Watson states.
Murphy hosts Robbinsville Friday night, October 15, 2021, at 7:30 at Bob Hendrix Stadium/David Gentry Field. Stay connected to Team FYN Sports for updates, interviews, and analysis of the game.
Andrews Makes History With Win Over Top Ranked MitchellSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports September 12, 2021
As the horn buzzed and the clock hit all zeroes Friday night, the tiny town of Andrews erupted with cheers as their Wildcat’s knocked off one of the top ranked teams in 1A football.
Head Coach James Phillips told FYN Sports earlier in the week that he believed his guys matched up well with Mitchell, and boy was he right.
In a post game interview with Coach Phillips and Andrews star running back Issac Weaver, Weaver said: “We never had a doubt in our minds that we were going to be able to come in and compete and win this game. Everyone all week talked about how we weren’t going to be able to finish the game and play all four quarters, but Coach had us preparing for that all week.” Evidence of that preparation was evident, as someone’s puke was leftover in the endzone.
Coach Phillips continued, “I’m just proud of these kids, proud for this school and this town. These kids have earned it, they deserve it, and I love ’em.”
Andrews will look to continue their winning streak next Friday night as they travel to Brevard, a team that knocked off Robbinsville 15-14 earlier this year.
In perhaps their biggest win in 40 years, the Andrews Wildcats upset the Mitchell Mountaineers, 26-14. Andrews was in the driver’s seat the entire game. This was no fluke win.
On Mitchell’s opening possession, the Wildcats forced a 3 and out, and Mitchell punted from their own 40 yard line. After a nice return from Issac Weaver, the Wildcats began their first offensive drive of the night from their own 46 yardline.
It didn’t take long for the Andrews offense to find their rhythm, driving it down the field with ease and getting on the board first with an Austin Martin touchdown run.
Mitchell answered back with a score of their own, taking a 7-6 lead. This would however be Mitchell’s only lead of the night, as the Cats pounded the rock early and often in the first half, and their offensive line held up nicely, allowing them to take a 20-7 lead into the locker room at the break.
After some back and forth to start the second half, Andrews was looking at a 26-14 lead with 5 minutes to go in the ballgame. Mitchell was moving the ball nicely after a redzone interception on defense allowed them a chance to make a last minute comeback. Mitchell was threatening to score, advancing to the Andrews 25 yardline. That was until Junior Kaden Edwards sealed the deal for the Wildcats with a game ending interception, giving his team the ball back and allowing them to run out the clock.
Show the Rabun County Wildcats what Murphy Football is All AboutSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports September 8, 2021
Murphy Bulldogs will host Rabun County High Wildcats this week
Written by Brandon Stephens
(Murphy) – – “I like this week’s team energy and tempo, but we have got introduce them (Rabun County Wildcats) to Murphy football,” Murphy Head Football Coach Joseph Watson explained to the team after practice. That may be a very simplified game plan, but inside that formula may be the complete key, answer, or secret to winning Friday night’s football game. Rabun County’ s first game was a loss to 5-A state champion Jefferson High 22-to-13 and the second game was a 47-14 win over Pace Academy. Our bet is the first game might have been physical and the second, which aired on ESPN2 didn’t show a lot of physical play. Besides not making errors and triggering penalties, Murphy must throw some ‘bust you in the face’ – smashmouth football to set the tone for the game and get a hurry on high-powered Wildcat quarterback Gunner Stockton.
Tremendous opportunity is presenting itself to Murphy when it faces Rabun County Friday night (September 10, 2021) after a week that felt like a desperate search to find a game when South Pittsburgh (Tennessee) canceled its game with the Bulldogs. Coach Watson says getting this game balances out the canceled game. “I spoke to their (Rabun County) coach a little bit about it and I thought we have an opportunity like that to play a school of that caliber, we needed to take and be excited about playing them. I know Rabun County has a really good program, so it does balance it out,” Watson stated after practice this week.
Learning the next opponent would be Rabun County excited the Bulldogs. Usually, a long weekend accented by Labor Day might be a tough week to get the team motivated. Murphy Senior Quarterback says each practice this week has been solid. “We knew Saturday morning we got the message that we were going to be playing Rabun County and just from then on we have been super excited. Every practice has been 100 percent all the way through. Probably been some of our best practices I have ever had out here at Murphy just because of how excited and how much energy we have had,” Kellen explained. Rumfelt continued to say teams experiencing the physical nature of Bulldogs don’t have as much success.
Most of the physical aggression will need to come from the men on the line. That places great responsibility on players like Rylan Smith and Jonathan Hamby as frontline leaders. A major key to success against Rabun County will come from the linemen invading the Wildcat backfield and hurrying a five-star quarterback who has all the tools to post a win. Wildcat quarterback Gunner Stockton will play almost 100 percent of the time in shotgun, five to six yards off the ball and simulate even more speed and agility. “I think if we just hit them in the mouth early and get to the quarterback quick so he doesn’t have time to throw it, I think we will be pretty good. But we have to get to quarterback in time,” Junior Center Jonathan Hamby states. Hamby will be a coach on the field. His responsibility will also include reading the 3-3 stack defense that will threaten Murphy and audible to the team to possibly adjust.
Playing man or zone defense will be a critical decision for Murphy’s leadership. Or it may rely on possibly playing a hybrid of both. Senior Running Back Juan Allen is noted for carrying the football, will be challenged to play specific assignment defense from the Bulldog secondary and keep pace with Stockton’s favored receivers like Junior Jaden Gibson, who helps build the passing yards and touchdowns posted by the Wildcats. “I think they only thing that will change (defensively) is we are going to run a little bit of man because it gives our defensive line more opportunity to push in on the quarterback,” Juan states. Will he be tested? “I think I am going to be tested a lot, but I am looking forward to it,” Allen added.
What about Rabun County?
The Wildcats present an experienced team with a lot of seniors at starting positions. The Wildcat offense loves to spread out its team with four or five wide receivers and leave several decisions in the hands of its quarterback. This team will stretch out its opponents and hit a vertical play. Gunner Stockton is well developed and highly skilled young man. Stockton has earned a national ranking of 5 or 6, depending on the report, and has committed to play for the University of Georgia, which is known for having skilled quarterbacks, like Matt Stafford. Stockton is 6 foot 2 inches and over 220 pounds. When he is not throwing, he can run like a fullback on quarterback counters and traps. Don’t be fooled, if there is not passing opportunity, Stockton will make a play.
Defensive looks from the Wildcats will mirror the same configuration of a 3-3 set, like what we saw last week against Georgia Force. It is also a defensive set that teams like Swain County have been sending toward the Murphy offense. The Bulldog offense should be trained to face the Wildcat D. The frontline averages 240 pounds and is lead in tackles and stunts by Junior End Cersar Cruz. The defense will adjust depending on the alignment it sees from cover three to cover four or frontline five technique to possibly a seven. During the Pace Academy game, the Wildcat defense was not tremendously aggressive, but limited scoring to only two touchdowns.
Don’t throw hope of not being able to handle Rabun County away. They can be beaten, just as they suffered a loss a few weeks ago to Jefferson. The teams Rabun County will face are no pushovers. “Well, they can be beat. But you know the caliber of teams they play in the state of Georgia are outstanding. They (Rabun County) are used to good talent and people getting after them, so it is not going to be anything different for them,” Coach Watson notes.
What this means is Murphy must play flawless, serious, and physical football. This makes the original point of having a great opportunity to play and join the ranks of the high-quality football teams that make impact as Murphy moves through the fall season. The Bulldogs will have to step up its speed and play diligently through all four quarters of football. “We are going to have to play mistake free and continue to be getting better, which is what we did last week,” Coach Watson says. Be mentally and physically tough, that’s in original formula and work toward a second win for the season.
Team FYN Sports will provide update coverage. Expect to see our team provide some pre-game, half-time, and post-game coverage through our normal outlets. Game time is 7:30 Friday night at Murphy High’s Bob Hendrix Stadium/David Gentry Field.
Other Rabun County Notes
What a name to have, Gunner Stockton, who is the star quarterback with a promising future at the University of Georgia. One may never know how he was named, but it is fitting. Stockton is not an anomaly at Rabun County High. The town of Tiger has produced some other great football players like Charlie Woerner, who played for the Wildcats. Woerner also suited up for the Georgia Bulldogs mainly as a blocking tight end and was drafted in the sixth round in 2020 for the San Francisco 49ers. Woerner is also the nephew of Scott Woerner who played for Georgia and professionally for New Orleans and Atlanta. Never overlook the stock of players that come from little towns. Just ask Carl Pickens, Heath Shuler, and most recently Yousef Mugharbil.
2021 Preseason All Smoky Mountain Conference Team & AwardsSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports August 13, 2021
We’re back for the second installment of the FYN Sports Preseason All Smoky Mountain Conference football awards. Our staff writers and other sports writers in the community came together and helped us narrow down our choices for this year’s preseason All-Conference teams. These picks are backed by last year’s stats and are our predictions of who to watch for this year.
PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Kellen Rumfelt, Senior QB, Murphy
Rumfelt was the best passer in the SMC last year. He led the league in passing TDs and passing yards. He also led his team to a State Championship W. Easy choice here for FYN Sports Preseason POY.
PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Donald Bradley, Senior QB, Cherokee
Bradley won a couple games for Cherokee single-handedly last year. He can make things happen with his arm, and with his legs. He’s perhaps the most exciting QB to watch in the conference. It will be interesting to see what he can do with the weapons he has coming back this year.
PRESEASON DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Drew Martin, Junior LB, Andrews
Martin average around 10 Tackles per game last year and was the cornerstone of the Wildcats defense. A lot of people are high on Andrews this year and think they may be able to make a push for 3rd position on the conference, and Drew Martin is a big reason why.
PRESEASON ATHLETE OF THE YEAR:
Cuttler Adams, Sophomore RB/LB, Robbinsville
Cuttler Adams is going to be a name to remember. He does it all. He makes an impact in all 3 phases of the game. Special Teams, offense and defense, he’s always flying around trying to make a play. He has a good chance to lead the Black Knights in Tackles and rushing yards this year.
Preseason All-Conference team-
Kellen Rumfelt, Murphy
Donald Bradley, Cherokee
Isaac Weaver, Andrews
Ty Laney, Murphy
Cuttler Adams, Robbinsville
Wide Receiver/Tight End:
Payton McCracken, Murphy
Jake McTaggart, Hayesville
Hunter Laney, Murphy
Carlos Wesley, Robbinsville
Carson White, Robbinsville
Kyle Willard, Murphy
Mason Thrasher, Murphy
Sam Bernhisel, Swain
Carlos Wesley, Robbinsville
Ben Wachacha, Robbinsville
Kyle Lunsford, Hayesville
James Reed, Cherokee
Drew Martin, Andrews
Kage Williams, Robbinsville
Carson Taylor, Swain
Juan Allen, Murphy
Payton McCracken, Murphy
Cuttler Adams, Robbinsville
Taylor McClure, Hayesville
Cody Kline, Robbinsville
Cole Anderson, Andrews
Donovan Bateman, Andrews
Chandler Wood, Murphy
Brock Adams, Robbinsville
Andrews Wildcats Preseason Preview- Could Cats Be Contenders?Sports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports August 5, 2021
Photo courtesy of Jenny Millsaps
Yes. The answer is yes, the Andrews Wildcats will be contenders this year in the Smoky Mountain Conference.
What a year 2020 was for the Andrews Wildcats. Their first winning season since 2011-2012. First win over Swain County in 20+ years. A playoff birth, and a darn near playoff win against Elkin in the first round where it seemed like they just ran out of time. Perhaps the best part about the 2020 team though, is that they are mostly all returning for the 2021 season, and that is why they will be contenders in the SMC.
Let’s start with the quarterback. Donovan Bateman returns for his Junior year to lead the Wildcats. Last year, Bateman showed flashes of really good QB play. He also showed flashes of not so good QB play. But, a lot of his mistakes last year just came from inexperience, and you would be surprised what one year can do for a guy under center. I think he is poised to have a good year, and I would expect the Cats to put the ball in the air more than we are accustomed to.
At running back, Issac Weaver returns for his Junior year. Weaver is an every down, workhorse back. He won’t be running with his cohort Gavin Wilson anymore due to Wilson’s graduation, so expect Weaver to get Derrick Henry type usage, with upwards of 25+ carries a game. Even though they lost Wilson to graduation, they are adding Austin Martin to their backfield. Martin will help ease some of Weaver’s load. I think Bateman’s newfound confidence at QB is really going to allow the Cats to keep the running game open, and allow Weaver to have a big year. It’s hard to have a good run game without a good pass game and vice versa, so hopefully for Weaver’s sake they spread it out a little more this year.
Cole Anderson will definitely play a big part in the passing game this year. The Junior wideout will probably be Bateman’s number one target this year, and if those two guys are able to get on the same page, Andrews is likely to make a deep run this year.
Andrew and Austin Martin will be the anchors for the Wildcats defensively. Austin missed all of last year due to an injury, so it will be fun to see what he can do in his first game back this year on August 20th. Andrew led the Cats in tackles last year, with 76 total tackles over 8 games. Bringing back your leading tackler is always huge for a team defensively, and if Austin is able to bring that same intensity then it will not bode well for opposing offenses.
The Wildcats open their season up at home on August 20th against the Hickory Hawks. From what I can tell, the Hawks are an independent homeschool Christian football team. They were 6-3 last year and 6-7 the year before that, so they definitely can hold their own against the competition they have seen in the past.
After Hickory, Andrews will travel to Cherokee to play the Braves for the first of two contests between the two teams this year. With Rosman leaving the conference it was hard for SMC teams to fill their schedules, so Andrews and Cherokee will play twice. This first game between the two foes will be scored as a non-conference game, so it will not count against either teams conference record.
Up next for the Cats on September 3rd is North Buncombe at home. North Buncombe was 4-3 last year in 3A, and they will bring a team of about 75 kids to Andrews. This will be a good test for the Wildcats early in the year.
Speaking of good tests, after North Buncombe, the Mitchell Mountaineers will come to town on September 10th. The Mountaineers were 7-1 last year, with their only loss coming against Robbinsville, 28-20. The Mountaineers are smothering defensively, and are huge up front, and this game will allow Andrews to really see if they can compete with the top 1A schools in the state.
After the gauntlet of North Buncombe and Mitchell in back to back weeks, the Wildcats have a bye week on September 17th.
For the Wildcats last non-conference game of the 2021 season, they will travel to Canton, Georgia to face the North Georgia Falcons on September 24th. The last time the two played in 2019, Andrews won 53-20.
Andrews will open conference play on the road, traveling to Hayesville to face the young Yellow Jackets. Andrews defeated Hayesville last year, 40-20 at home, so they will look to keep that momentum in 2021 and start conference play with a W.
Next up for Andrews is a big time matchup against Swain County. The Cats finally broke the Maroon Devils’ winning streak against them last year with a 36-14 win at home. I would expect the stands in Swain County to be filled to the brim this year, with Neil Blankenship returning to coach and the Devils looking to avenge last year’s loss. This will be a tough one for Andrews, but if they can get by they will be in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot.
On October 15th, Cherokee will travel to Andrews for the teams’ second matchup of the year. This time, the Win or Loss will go on their conference record. Andrews barely got out of Cherokee with a W last year, winning 30-28 in the waining seconds of the 4th quarter, and I would expect the same dog fight this year. Cherokee is a much improved team from last year, but Andrews will have the home field advantage in 2021.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they end their regular season in the worst way possible, with back to back games against Robbinsville and Murphy. On October 22nd they will travel to Big Oaks Stadium to face Robbinsville and try to avenge their shutout loss to the Black Knights last year. This is a completely different Robbinsville team than the one Andrews saw last year though, and if the Cats are healthy at this point and catch Robbinsville off guard, who knows what can happen. After the Robbinsville game, Andrews will play host to their arch nemesis, Murphy. Andrews played Murphy tight for 2 quarters last year in the season opener, so who knows, maybe lightening could strike twice and the Cats could come out on top of the SMC for the first time in a lifetime.
One thing is for sure though, these are not the same Wildcats of days past.
A New Era: Bulldogs Name Joseph Watson as New Head Football CoachSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports June 11, 2021
For the first time since 1983, the powers that be at Murphy High School were tasked with finding a new Head Football Coach. After the shocking news that longtime, Hall of Fame Head Coach, David Gentry was retiring came earlier this week, Bulldog Athletic Director Ray Gutierrez and crew were under the gun to find their new man. However, the search was probably easier than it should have been, as the perfect man for the job was already a life-long Bulldog.
This morning in a live press conference on FYNTV.com, Bulldogs Offensive Coordinator Joseph Watson was named the new Head Coach of the Black and Gold.
Watson, 43, has been on the staff and working alongside David Gentry for nearly 20 years. A Graduate of Murphy High School were he played under Gentry and was a 3 sport star, Watson went on to play college football at Western Carolina University. Since Gentry brought him back to be on the coaching staff at Murphy, he has helped the Dogs win 7 Western Regional Championships and 5 State Titles. What’s more important than all of his accolades as a player or coach? The fact that Coach Gentry recommended him to be his successor.
“My plan at MHS is to continue building the winning tradition that Coach Gentry has set in place already. I’ve dreamed about this moment my whole life.”
More on this story later…
FYN Sports Post Season Football Awards and Outstanding PlayersSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports May 17, 2021
Our team here at FYN Sports got together at the end of this years “spring” North Carolina High School football season and voted on our end of year awards. Players were chosen based not just on their stats alone, but also on their contributions to their team that may not show up in the stat book. We have had a blast covering North Carolina football this year, and hope to continue on with some of the relationships we have made in the fall. Thanks to everyone who watched and supported our broadcasts and read our articles. Our sole mission is to highlight and promote student athletes in a positive way, and below we have highlighted the “best of the best” with our post season awards.
Player of The Year: Nathan Collins- Robbinsville
Collins was 24-1 as the starting Quarterback for the Black Knights. He filled up the stat sheet all year, throwing for over 700 yards and 3 touchdowns, while rushing for 683 yards and 10 touchdowns. He led his team to 2 SMC titles, 2 Western Regional Championship appearances and 1 State Championship Title.
Offensive Player of The Year: Kellen Rumfelt- Murphy
Rumfelt was on a mission to prove himself this year, and he did just that. He threw for 1,234 yards and 9 touchdowns while leading his Bulldogs to the NCHSAA 1A State Championship. In that State championship game, Rumfelt threw for over 200 yards and a TD in the first half, helping his team come away with a 14-7 victory.
Defensive Player of The Year: Drew Martin- Andrews
Martin was a key component to helping his Wildcats post their best record since 2011. He led his team in tackles and was the motor of the defense. A historic season for Andrews was jumpstarted by the play of Drew Martin.
Coach of The Year: David Gentry- Murphy
Gentry led his Bulldogs to yet another State Championship ring, the 9th under his reign as Head Coach. Gentry’s coaching record speaks for itself. The Hall of Fame coach and all time North Carolina wins record holder needs no introduction.
“Newcomers” of The Year:
The “Newcomers” of The Year are players who are in their first year on Varsity who are making a splash and contributing to their team significantly already.
Cuttler Adams, Kage Williams, Brock Adams, Carlos Lopez- Robbinsville
Taylor McClure, Asher Brown- Hayesville
Ty Laney, Cole Laney, John Ledford- Murphy
Drew Martin, Isaac Weaver, Donovan Bateman- Andrews
Kaden Trantham- Cherokee
Gabe Lillard, Elijah Watty- Swain
Nathan Collins- Robbinsville
Kellen Rumfelt- Murphy
Outstanding Running Back-
Lex Hooper- Robbinsville
Ray Rathburn- Murphy
Gavin Wilson- Andrews
Outstanding Wide Receiver-
Payton McCracken- Murphy
Tyler Anderson- Hayesville
Outstanding Offensive Lineman-
Yousef Mugharbil- Murphy
Ethan Taylor- Hayesville
Candler Edwards- Robbinsville
Carlos Wesley- Robbinsville
Aaron Dereberry- Andrews
Outstanding Defensive Back-
Payton McCracken- Murphy
Juan Allen- Murphy
Taylor McClure- Hayesville
Cuttler Adams- Robbinsville
Ray Rathburn- Murphy
Landon Jordan- Murphy
Drew Martin- Andrews
Outstanding Defensive Lineman-
Rossi Wachacha- Robbinsville
Carlos Wesley- Robbinsville
Benjamin Wachacha- Robbinsville
Rashad Davis- Murphy
Kage Williams- Robbinsville
Blake McClure- Hayesville
Isaac Weaver- Andrews
Don Bradley- Cherokee
Carson Taylor- Swain
Cody Kline- Robbinsville
Annie-Kate Dalton- Murphy
Dogs Too Much For Elkin, Advance to Western Regional ChampionshipSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports April 24, 2021
Photo courtesy of Autumn Ritz
The Murphy Bulldogs and their Second Round opponent Elkin Elks slugged it out for 4 whole quarters on Friday, but the Dogs were ultimately too much, edging the Elks 29-24.
The Dogs will face Robbinsville next week in the Western Regional Championship game and will look to avenge their SMC Championship game loss to the Knights.
The Dogs were leading 29-24 with a little over 3 minutes left in the game when Cornerback Juan Allen intercepted an Elkin Elks pass, which allowed the Bulldogs offense to come onto the field and chew the clock up. That’s two weeks in a row that Bulldogs D Backs have made season saving interceptions, as Ryland Dickey picked off a pass in the endzone against Thomas Jefferson that sealed the deal.
Murphys defense early on in this one was not great. They gave up some big plays at some inopportune times that allowed Elkin to stay in the game. When it mattered most however, they locked in and got it done.
Runningbacks Ty Laney and Ray Rathburn both crossed the century mark in yards on Friday. Laney finished with 126 yards and a TD, while Rathburn had 108 yards and 2 TDs. John Ledford also added a score on the ground.
Quarterback Kellen Rumfelt was 6 of 10 for 93 yards and an interception. His favorite target tonight was Sophomore Wideout and Backup QB Cole Laney, who caught 4 passes for 66 yards.
The Bulldogs defense was great on 3rd down all game, only allowing Elkin to convert on third down 3 times out of 10 attempts.
Juan Allen had a 4th quarter INT that sealed the deal for the Dogs and allowed them to get into victory formation.
Next week, Murphy will face conference foe Robbinsville in the 1A Western Regional Chmapionship game. This game will be a rematch of the SMC Championship game earlier this year, a game that Robbinsville won 17-7.
Dogs Beat Gryphons 28-20, Advance to 2nd RoundSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports April 18, 2021
Photo courtesy of BT Douthit
The Murphy Bulldogs and the Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy Gryphons faced off in the First Round of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 1A State Playoffs last Friday night. The Dogs were fired up to be playing at home, and they used that home field advantage to secure a 28-20 win over the Gryphons.
It was a tight game all the way through. In the first quarter, sophomore Running Back Ty Laney got the scoring started for the Dogs as he scampered for a 63 yard Touchdown run at the 10 minute mark. The Gryphons were able to respond fairly quickly however, as Bryce Jergenson punched one in from 48 yards out to tie it up at 7 all.
In the second quarter, Jergenson ran another one in to give TJCA a 14-7 lead. That lead didn’t last long though, as Murphy Offensive Coordinator Joseph Watson dialed up the perfect play and Kellen Rumfelt threw a dime to Hunter Laney for a 54 yard Touchdown. The Dogs pulled some trickery on the PAT and were successful on their 2 point conversion, which gave them a 15-14 lead with about 2 minutes left in the half.
Then the lights went out. An actual bank of lights went out as Murphy was about to kick the ball back to TJCA after the long passing TD that allowed them to take a 15-14 lead. After some conversation, the referees sent both teams to the locker room so that the lights could have time to be fixed. The remaining minute and 50 seconds of the second quarter would be played after halftime.
During the break the lights were fixed, and play was resumed. The remaining 2 minutes of the second quarter was uneventful, as TJCA basically ran out the clock.
In the third quarter, the Dogs defense was stout and gave their offense some extra possessions. On one of those extra possessions, sophomore Running Back John Ledford broke free for a 40 yard TD run, which after the missed PAT made it 21-14 Murphy. Gryphons do-it-all QB Bryce Jergenson ran for his 3rd TD of the night with 1:21 left in the 3rd quarter, but was flagged after the TD for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that backed the PAT try up 15 yards. The long PAT was no good, and the Dogs still clung to a 21-20 lead heading into the Fourth.
In the Fourth, senior Running Back Ray Rathburn scored a 33 yard Touchdown that ended up being the final score of the night for either team, as the Dogs went ahead 28-20.
The play of the game however came later in the Fourth quarter, when Thomas Jefferson was in the red zone. The Gryphons dropped back to pass and fired one into the endzone where Ryland Dickey wrestled the ball away from the TJCA wide receiver and came away with an interception, giving the Dogs the ball back and ultimately saving their season.
Murphy will travel to number 1 seed Elkin next Friday for the 2nd round of the NCHSAA Playoffs.
1A State Playoffs First Round Preview: Andrews vs ElkinSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports April 14, 2021
It’s FINALLY playoff time here in North Carolina. The brackets have been set and matchups announced, so let’s do a quick run through of what to expect from the first round matchup between the number 8 seed Andrews Wildcats and the number 1 seed Elkin Elks.
Elkin comes into the playoffs riding high. They are 5-1 on the year, and basically stole the number 1 seed for this year’s playoffs thanks to the messed up seeding system the NCHSAA is using. According to the MaxPreps rankings which in previous years have been used for seeding, Elkin is ranked 13th in 1A. They are ranked behind Mitchell, Robbinsville, Murphy and Thomas Jefferson who all were given lower seeds. Their lone loss on the year came against 2A Ashe County. They do play some stiff competition in the Mountain Valley 1A/2A conference so I would expect that to help them a ton coming into a game against the “David” of North Carolina High School football.
Don’t expect Elkin’s defense to give up many points in this one. They are holding teams to aj average of 12 points per game this year. A shortened season yes, but still pretty impressive through 6 games. If they want to prove to everyone they deserve the #1 seed and win and advance, they are going have to stop Andrews dominant run game. Andrews has adopted a Veer/Wing T offense and they are running all over teams this year. The Wildcats do so much offensively with their shifts and pre snap motions, it’s a lot for teams to prepare for. If Elkin wants to get out of the first round, they are going to have to have spent a lot of time in the film room this week.
With playoff teams going from 32 to 16 this year, Andrews barely snuck into the playoffs. That doesn’t take away from the great season they are having though. Their only two losses on the year were against defending state champions Robbinsville and in their season opener against Murphy. I can’t speak for the Robbinsville game but I was on the call for their game against Murphy, and they played the Dogs very tough in the first half. That brings me to my first point of what Andrews is going to have to do to pull off the upset against Elkin- Play 4 quarters.
Andrews is a small team with most players playing on both sides of the ball. That can lead to them getting gassed late in the third and fourth quarter. They absolutely cannot let that happen in the playoffs if they want to make a run. With a shortened season though, I think that may help Andrews more than any team. They are going to come in relatively fresh, with 6 games of conditioning under their belt that will hopefully allow them to go blow for blow all 4 quarters against Elkin.
The biggest thing Andrews has to do to win is what they have to do to win every game- hand it to Isaac Weaver and Gavin Wilson. They have a young Quarterback in Bateman who can get it done when he needs to, but they’ve got to get Weaver and Wilson going early and often to win. Both Wildcat runninbacks had over 700 yards heading into last week’s game against Rosman, and I know they tacked on a ton more in that one.
Honestly, if I was making a prediction for this one, I’d say that Andrews has a very good chance of pulling this upset off. If they play 4 quarters of smash mouth, run it down your throat football, they will win this ball game and maybe get a chance at redemption against Murphy.
1A State Playoffs First Round Preview: Murphy vs Thomas JeffersonSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports April 14, 2021
Photo courtesy of BT Douthit
It’s FINALLY playoff time here in North Carolina. The brackets have been set and matchups announced, so let’s do a quick run through of what to expect from the first round matchup between the number 4 seed Murphy Bulldogs and the number 5 seed Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (TJCA) Gryphons.
First things first, lets set the record straight- Thomas Jefferson is not your normal five seed. They are undefeated on the year and tied with Pine Lake Prep for first in their conference. The way that the NCHSAA did playoff seeding was really messed up this year because of COVID. Pine Lake Prep is 1AA, but they didn’t break the teams into two classifications (1AA & 1A) until after they did the seeding, so Pine Lake Prep won the coin toss for the Southern Piedmont Conference and got the 1 seed from that conference. It’s all messed up this year. Messed up seeding or not, I can promise you that no one wanted to get matched up with TJCA in the first round.
Second, remember the name Dakota Twitty. He is a 6 foot 5 inch 205 pound Wide Receiver and Defensive Back who has over 20 division 1 offers as a JUNIOR. Twitty is a force to be reckoned with on either side of the ball, and I would venture to guess that you will hear his name over the loudspeaker more than a few times. He has 30 receptions through 6 games and has caught 5 touch downs. Last year he caught nearly 40 passes and was on the receiving end of 15 TD passes. The kid is legit. Watch out for big #1 this Friday night.
Quarterback Bryce Jergenson and Running Back Isiah Mcmullens are two other players on the Gryphons offense that Murphy will have to slow down if they want to advance to the second round. Mcmullens has over 500 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground thus far, while Jergenson has thrown for over 600 yards and 7 TDs.
The Gryphons defense gives opposing quarterbacks an absolute fit. They have combined for 12 sacks on the year, and 39 Tackles For Loss. 39 TFL’s in 6 games is incredible stuff.
If TJCA wants to win this game, they’ve got to get #1 Dakota Twitty open, and they’ve got to hit Bulldog ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage. Doing the first of those two things may be the easiest, as we saw Murphy struggle at the defensive back position last week against Robbinsville with Aguilar and McCracken out.
The Bulldogs find themselves back in the playoffs yet again. I should do some real journalism and research how many years in a row Murphy has made it to the playoffs, but I don’t have that kind of time on my hands.
The Dogs are coming off a pretty devastating loss against conference foe Robbinsville. Robbinsville knew what Murphys weaknesses were and they exploited them pretty heavily. I would expect Murphy to get better at covering up those weaknesses in this one though.
Losing Junior Payton McCracken, the Dogs leading wide receiver and defensive back was probably the worst thing that could have happened to Murphy at this point in the year. He has been the heartbeat of your defense and gets guys up when they need to make a big play, and now all of a sudden he’s just not out there. If Murphy wants to win this football game they have got to find a replacement for him. We saw Bulldog Quarterback Kellen Rumfelt come in on defense and play some corner for Murphy last week, and I would expect to see much of the same this week unless Coach Gentry has found a young stud way further down on the depth chart. Rumfelt is a heck of and athlete, and he’s not afraid to come down and hit ya, which is what the Dogs are going to need if they plan on stopping the D1 recruit the Gryphons have on the other side of the ball.
Keeping with Rumfelt however, you are going to need him to have a great game on the offensive side of the ball too. I mentioned how good TJCA is at getting to the QB and hitting guys behind the line of scrimmage, so you’re going to need Rumfelt to be as fresh as possible on offense in case he has to make things happen with his legs.
If I were Murphy coming into this one however, I’m going to try and just pound the rock. Give it to Ray Rathburn behind your own 4 star recruit in Yousef Mugharbil and make TJCA make a play. Stick with the bread and butter of what got you here. Run it, run it, and run it again. Mugharbil can move mountains, I know he can move 2 or 3 of those guys on that D Line and create a hole for your RBs to run through.
By the way, if you cant make it to the game on Friday, we will be live streaming it on FYNTV.com for free.
Black Knights Win Back To Back Conference TitlesSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports April 10, 2021
Photo courtesy of BT Douthit
The Murphy Bulldogs and Robbinsville Black Knights faced off in the conference championship game Friday night. Both teams came into the game undefeated looking to secure the top playoff seed in the smoky mountain conference. Yet on this night the Black Knights were the team with better ball security leading to them a 17-7 win.
The Black Knights won the opening kickoff electing to receive to start the game. It was a good choice as they marched down the field for a great first drive taking an early 7-0 lead. Murphy got the ball on their first drive but quickly went three and out. Robbinsville got the ball back and were driving down the field to end the first quarter. It needs to be mentioned that Murphy only ran three offensives plays in the entire first quarter.
Robbinsville continued their second drive of the game to open the second quarter all the way inside the redzone. The Murphy defense held strong though forcing a field goal attempt, that was missed by Robbinsville. Murphy did get a first down on their second drive but that was about it as the Bulldogs had to punt it away. Murphy almost forced a three and out but on 3rd & 20 Nathan Collins found his tight end wide open for a 40 yard gain on what appeared to be a busted coverage by Murphys defense. Robbinsville was able to capitalize on the mistake finishing off the drive with a touchdown to take their lead 14-0. Murphy on their next drive got all the way inside the Robbinsville 10-yard line but fumbled it away to Robbinsville. The defense did step up though forcing a three and out though. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs there punt returner fumbled the ball giving it right back to Robbinsville. Thats how the game went to half with a Robbinsville 14-0 lead.
Murphy received the second half kick and had their best play of the game offensively with a Ray Rathburn run all the way into Robbinsville territory. Kellen Rumfelt led the way picking up several big third and fourth downs pickups on the drive. Finishing it off with a huge touchdown pass, on 3rd & 20 Rumfelt throwing a perfect ball to Cole Laney for the touchdown. This is how the third quarter ended, the Bulldogs trailing 14-7.
The next scoring action came with a Robbinsville field goal. This made the score 17-7 giving Robbinsville a crucial 17-7 lead. On the ensuing kickoff Murphy muffed the kick giving it right back to Robbinsville, the third Bulldog turnover of the night. The Bulldogs played right with the Black Knights but losing the turnover margin 3-0 proved to be too much for Murphy to overcome. The game finished with Robbinsville forcing Murphy to pass but the Black Knight pass rush was too much to give the Bulldogs any chance. The game finished 17-7, Robbinsville handing Murphy their first loss of the season.
Robbinsville and Murphy set to square off in SMC championship yet againSports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports April 8, 2021
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before- The Robbinsville Black Knights and the Murphy Bulldogs are set to play in the Smoky Mountain Conference Championship game this Friday.
These two teams seem to always find each other in the final game of the year, no matter the sport, as of late.
Earlier this year we saw the Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Knights face off in the SMC championship for basketball, and it looks like in the softball world it could be headed in that direction too.
In football, 7 of the last 8 seasons have ended with the Black Knights or the Bulldogs on top of the SMC. If I am not mistaken, the conference has produced 8 state championships since 2011 (Murphy- 4, Robbinsville- 2, Swain 1, Cherokee- 1).
8 State Titles won since 2011. Not even counting the other times teams from the SMC made it to the big game and lost. You can tell by looking at the numbers how important this game is this week, and how large of an impact it has on playoff implications. Winner will be one of the 7 #1 seeds in the state, loser is a #2 seed.
The Bulldogs come into the game undefeated, riding a HOT offense. They will look to avenge last year’s losses to Robbinsville. In the SMC Championship game last year, Murphy fell 17-14. Then when the two teams matched up in the playoffs, Robbinsville won once again with a score of 24-13.
Murphy is looking to turn the page this year however, as they’ve basically ran through the rest of the conference like a wet paper bag.
Murphy’s high powered offense is something to behold. They are averaging 44.5 points per game this year, and are very good at NOT turning over the football. They have only turned the ball over 3 times this year.
The offense is led on the ground by Senior Running Back Ray Rathburn. Rathburn has picked up over 500 yards on the ground this year, while tacking on 8 rushing touch downs and averaging 8 yards per carry.
The Dogs backfield is kind of baffling. You know that Rathburn is the leader, but you really don’t know who is going to get the football. Sophomores John Ledford and Ty Laney are also lethal weapons on the ground. Ledford has 433 yards and 7 touchdowns thus far, while averaging 12 yards per carry. Ty Laney is really coming on as of late. He has 7 touchdowns in the past 2 games, including 4 touchdowns last week against Cherokee.
Junior Quarterback Kellen Rumfelt has also done a phenomenal job this year behind center. Rumfelt is averaging nearly 100 yards a game through the air, which has allowed him to pick up 581 passing yards and 6 passing TDs this year. He also hasn’t thrown an interception on 57 pass attempts.
The Dogs are also a problem for opposing offenses thanks to their stout defense. The defense is led by Senior Linebacker Landon Jordan. Jordan is leading the team in tackles and is the l motor for the team defensively.
The Bulldog D is holding opponents to only 11.5 points per game. Teams are also only converting 3rd downs at a mere 39 percent. Murphy has forced TWENTY turnovers on the year, and they do a great job converting those turnovers into points. Opposing teams are averaging around 150 yards per game on the ground against the Dogs, but they are having absolutely zero luck through the air. The ball-hawking corner back duo of Juan Allen and Payton McCracken along with the rest of the Murphy Defensive Backs coached by Joseph Watson, have intercepted teams 11 times already this year over 6 games.
The Black Knights also head into this SMC championship game on an absolute roll. They are 6-0, and just like the Bulldogs, they have put up 30 or more points in each game. On paper these two teams look pretty much the same. High powered offenses led by an established run game. What sets the Knights apart is their experience, and their absolute monstrous line play.
Lex Hooper leads the Knights’ running game. He has accumulated over 550 yards on the ground thus far, and also leads the SMC with 12 rushing TDs. He also isn’t just a one dimensional back, Head Coach Dee Walsh uses Hooper’s hands out of the backfield and he’s caught both of Senior QB Nate Collins’ passing TDs this year. The share volume of Hoopers workload in and of itself is impressive- he’s already ran the football over 100 times this year.
Speaking on Senior QB Nathan Collins, he’s also a guy that can hurt you in multiple ways. He has proven that he can get it done on the ground- Averaging 8.2 yards per carry and over 50 yards per game- and also through the air- Averaging 86 yards passing per game at a 60% click. Collins also isn’t afraid to get dirty on defense. He’s picked opposing QBs off 3 times this year, and has over 20 Tackles on the year.
Staying with the Black Knights Defense here, they are led by Senior Defensive End Rossi Wachacha. Wachacha was the FYN sports preseason Defensive Player of the Year for a reason, and he has proved it this year. He is an absolute wrecking ball when he’s on the field. When you see 88 walk out on defense, you can bet that he’s going to make the play. He has 2 sacks and 2 picks on the season, and you just never know where he’s going to be lined up defensively.
Another big part of the Black Knights Defense is Sophomore Cuttler Adams. Adams leads the team in Tackles at 31, and has 2 fumble recoveries and 1 INT. On the offensive side of the ball, Adams serves as the change of pace back when Hooper needs a breather. Adams has picked up 273 yards on the ground this year and scored 5 TDs.
The Robbinsville Defensive and Offensive Lines are incredible. Take a look at these biometrics:
TE, DE • Jr. • 6′ 5″ • 215 lbs
G • Sr. • 5′ 10″ • 255 lbs
C, DE • So. • 5′ 11″ • 245 lbs
T, DT • Jr. • 5′ 11″ • 270 lbs
T, DT • Jr. • 6′ 0″ • 250 lbs
G, DT • Jr. • 6′ 1″ • 240 lbs
T, DT • Jr. • 6′ 3″ • 315 lbs
DT, G • So. • 6′ 1″ • 265 lbs
T, DT • So. • 6′ 0″ • 300 lbs
T, DT • Jr. • 6′ 5″ • 220 lbs
T, DT • So. • 6′ 0″ • 205 lbs
T, DT • Sr. • 6′ 2″ • 220 lbs
T, DT • Jr. • 5′ 11″ • 265 lbs
WR, DE • Sr. • 6′ 2″ • 260 lbs
That’s an average of about 6’2 250 pounds on a little 1A football team. Absolutely unheard of! Strong, cornfed young men that are going to try to give Murphy 4 star lineman Yousef Mugharbil a run for his money.
This is shaping up to be one of the best conference games we’ve ever seen, and the team here at FYN sports cannot wait. We will be live streaming the game for free for those of you that can’t make it or are unable to get tickets over on FYNTV.com.
Bulldogs Trample Swain County, Remain UnbeatenMurphy Bulldogs, Sports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports March 21, 2021
Photo from MHS Athletics Facebook page.
Murphy, NC.- A conference matchup that has given us some instant classics over the years was on hand again Friday night, as the Bulldogs took on the Maroon Devils in the annual Murphy-Swain game.
In a one point game against the Maroon Devils last season Head Coach David Gentry broke the North Carolina all time wins record, which just added another chapter into this historic rival between these two teams.
It always seems like its a close game when Murphy and Swain play and for the past decade it has been, but this year the bulldogs had their number from the start. Murphy defeated Swain 39-7.
The Murphy High School football team has really come into their own as the season has progressed. Each game, and each quarter really we have seen growth from this young team. The first game of the season against Andrews left Bulldog fans with a lot of questions and uncertainty about what to expect from their team, but over the past 3 games those questions have been answered. When the Bulldogs are able to pass the ball as well as run it down their opponents throats, they are capable of beating any team in the state.
Sophomore RB Ty Laney got the Dogs on the board with a 2 yard TD run at the 7:15 mark in the first quarter.
Kellen Rumfelt found Ty Laney underneath for a 5 yard TD pass with 8:53 left in the second.
John Ledford scored from 21 yards out with 3:32 left in the 3rd quarter to put the Dogs up 21-7.
Annie-Kate Dalton connected on a 21 yard Field Goal to start the 4th and make it 24-7 Murphy.
Rumfelt found McCracken on a 9 yard TD pass with 8:48 left in the game.
Cole Laney ran it in from the 18 yard line for the final score of the game, as the Dogs won 39-7.
Murphy Kicks Off Season With 33-6 Win Over AndrewsMurphy Bulldogs, Sports, Team FYN Sports, TeamFYNSports February 26, 2021
Murphy, NC- North Carolina High School football fans finally got to see their teams take the field last night, an act that some thought would never happen this year.
With schedules being changed and seasons getting moved around, there was so much doubt surrounding this season that it seemed like the community was able to breath a sigh of relief as they saw the ball fly through the air on that opening kickoff.
The Bulldogs played host to the Andrews Wildcats in the opening game of both teams seasons.
After a stellar start to the game by the Wildcats, Murphy was able to buckle down in the second half, pulling away from Andrews and winning 33-6.
Murphy won the toss and elected to kick and thanks to a BIG hit from their special teams unit, they were able to force a fumble and recover the ball on the opening kickoff, giving the Dogs great field position to start the game.
The Andrews Defense came up big and made a goal line stand. On offense the Wildcats drove the ball 98 yards and were able to score the first points of the game on a 22 yard pass from Donovan Bateman to Spencer Bateman.
That would be the only time that the Wildcats were able to find the endzone however, thanks to subsequent scores from Ray Rathburn, John Ledford, Ty Laney and Juan Allen.
Ray Rathburn was the bell cow for the Bulldogs, scoring 2 TD’s and rushing for 90 yards. Juan Allen was right behind Rathburn on the stat sheet, thanks to a 50 yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs were never really able to get anything going through the air, which is something that Head Coach David Gentry said they will have to do going forward when I spoke with him postgame.
The Bulldogs host the Franklin Panthers in their next game on Friday March 5th. You can watch all Murphy home football games LIVE on FYNTV.com, including their bout this coming week against the Panthers.
If you want a sneak peak look into what to expect out of the Franklin Panthers next Friday, tune into FYNTV.com on Monday @ 6:00, as we will be bringing that game to you LIVE also.