Murphy blows out Swain County
Murphy – Anyone who dared question Murphy’s dominance over the Smoky Mountain Conference this season was silenced Friday night.
In what could very well be the game that determined the division champion, Murphy (7-1, 4-0) ran all over the Swain County Maroon Devils (5-4, 4-1) for a 49-7 win.
Friday’s triumph was the Bulldogs’ largest margin of victory over their fiercest rival since 1987, when Murphy bested Swain 47-6 in the second round of the playoffs.
The Dogs went on to win the state title that season.
“I would’ve taken a 7-6 win, but when you win like this against a good program like Swain, it’s special,” said Murphy’s head coach David Gentry, who recorded an historic 400th career victory with the win. “The kids were really ready to play.
“You kind of define yourself as the year goes on. You play a game or two and you find out who you are and I hope this goes a long way to find out who we are and what we can do.
Much of the credit can easily go to Devonte Murray, who in his second game back from a concussion, rushed for four touchdowns against Swain. He had a 5-yard run in the first quarter, a 53-yard sprint in the second and a pair of scoring runs (for 12 and 11 yards, respectively) in the third. He has the second-most rushing touchdowns for the Bulldogs this season, as his eight are second only to Slade McTaggart, who has 11.
“It means a lot,” Murray said of his role in Gentry’s 400th win. “I can’t even explains how it feels right now. I’m happy for Coach (Gentry) and I’m happy for the team, but there’s a lot more to come.”
Peppering out the remainder of the outcome was a combo of rushing touchdowns from Micah Nelson (a 1-yard run in the first and a 57-yard rumble in the third) and a 1-yard push from McTaggart midway through the fourth, which forced a running clock for the final six minutes of the game.
Swain’s lone touchdown only added fuel to the fire, as the Maroon Devils scored on a 10-yard pass from Damian Lossiah to Jacob Langston as the first half clock expired.
Murphy’s strong defense held the Devils at-bay throughout the affair, as McTaggart and Robert Bodine recorded two sacks and Dallas Rayburn, Hunter Shope and Colby Stalcup each got to Lossiah on one occasion.
Rayburn’s 17 tackles led the defensive effort, with Parker Posey tallying 15.
Annie Kate Dalton handled most of Murphy’s kickoff duties in the game and also went 6-for-6 on extra points. The Bulldogs called on Kaitlynn Wheaton for the final PAT of the night.