• Murphy's Micah Nelson lays a hit on an Asheville High runner on Wednesday night. Photo by KEVIN HENSLEY
    Murphy's Micah Nelson lays a hit on an Asheville High runner on Wednesday night. Photo by KEVIN HENSLEY

Bulldogs' defense clamps down on Asheville after opening set

   Asheville – Murphy’s defense gave up a six-play scoring drive to start Wednesday’s scrimmage against Asheville High.
    From there, the Cougars couldn’t get much going with the ball on the way to 14-6 exhibition loss to the Bulldogs.
    The 3AA power shot itself in the foot with eight offensive penalties, but the Bulldogs caused some of those with a bullish pass rush up the middle, causing Cougar linemen to hold.
    “We just tried to go as hard as we could and get quick off the ball,” defensive tackle Isaac Stafford said. “We knew we needed a good rush to get to the quarterback. It was nice to hit somebody besides our teammates for a change.”
    The secondary was burned early on a long pass that led to the Cougars’ only score, but after that, the Bulldogs were flying to the ball and making plays.
    Micah Nelson had a major pass breakup and later snagged the game’s only interception. Tanner Creelman would have likely had a pick-six if Asheville’s receiver had not deflected the ball at the last minute. Colton Posey had a couple of hard hits that brought the visiting crowd to its feet.
    “We played hard and guarded our man,” Creelman said. “It’s 11-on-11 no matter who you play, you’ve got to go hard every play.”
    Stafford noted that the guys up front appreciate what the secondary was doing.
    “The secondary did great. They’re going to be a lot better this year,” Stafford said.
    Murphy scrimmages at North Murray on Friday night before traveling to Hendersonville for the opener on Aug. 19.
    “We just need to work hard in practice, sharpen up a couple things and be ready for Hendersonville,” Stafford said.

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