Murphy tops Asheville in preseason scrimmage
Asheville – Take everything you have ever believed about the basics of football classification and throw them out the window.
The 1A Murphy High School Bulldogs traveled to A.C. Reynolds High School yesterday to face 3AA Asheville High School for a 75-minute scrimmage as part of the A.C. Reynolds Mountain Jamboree, coming away with an unofficial 14-6 victory.
Following an opening possession where the Cougars capped off a quick six-play drive with a four-yard touchdown run, MHS responded in kind on its first drive. Junior Tanner Creelman broke through the line for a 33-yard touchdown sprint that "tied" the affair. One PAT later and Murphy laid claim to a slim 7-6 advantage.
A stalemate followed, with the defense of both squads making its mark. In spite of sophomore Micah Nelson intercepting a deep Asheville pass, it seemed the score was destined to stay forever stuck at 7-6.
As time wound down in the scrimmage, both sides elected to slim down each possession from 10 plays to five. The Cougars still were unable to penetrate a stubborn MHS defensive line, but junior Joey Curry turned the Murphy fortunes around to finish the exhibition. A five-play, 70-yard drive concluded when Curry connected with junior Kadrian McRae in the end zone. Another PAT put the final mark at 14-6, Murphy.
Curry felt pleased with the performance of his teammates.
"We finally got to hit somebody different, besides our teammates," Curry joked. "I knew Asheville was big, so I was going to have to get rid of the ball quick. The drive before we scored the second touchdown really set up the final drive. The momentum was there and it was great."
The scrimmage set a positive tone for the 33rd season that David Gentry has coached the Bulldogs. Although he was humble in his statements, he struggled to contain his excitement over how well Murphy played against the larger Cougars.
"I thought we did all right," Gentry said. "In the first scrimmage, you expect to make a lot of mistakes. The offensive line needs to shore up their blocking a little bit, but we did play a pretty good football team. I think we'll be all right. Our kids went hard and that's what we want them to do."
Curry finished the game 7/14, with 102 passing yards. Nelson had 11 rushing yards on one carry and one interception, while both sophomore DeAndre Jackson and Creelman tallied one carry apiece for 33 rushing yards each. Senior Ian Davis compiled 49 rushing yards and 31 receiving yards, while McRae wrapped up the scrimmage with six carries for 36 yards and eight receiving yards.
Murphy will travel to Chatsworth, Ga., on Friday to scrimmage the 3-A North Murray Mountaineers. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.