Murphy dominates Pamlico to win 1A football title
Murphy took down Pamlico County in the 1A state championship game on Saturday night by a score of 60-27.
Murphy leaded out in front thanks to a big play by defense on the first play of the game. The Bulldogs defense forced the Hurricanes to fumble and it was scooped up and returned for a 35 yard touchdown by Micah Nelson. Nelson also is the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs on offense. The point after try failed.
“That was crazy, that was over-the-top,” Nelson said. “I got on the sidelines and everyone was wanting to celebrate. I was dying (laughs).”
On Pamlico’s next possession after the early turnover, they fumbled again. Murphy forced the fumble on a third down and recovered on the Pamlico 34.
After a couple of first downs, Murphy scored again. KJ Allen rushed in from five yards out. The Bulldogs made up for the missed extra point from earlier with a successful two point conversion here. Nelson hit Devonte Murray in the end zone to convert.
Pamlico responded with an impressive drive of its own. The Hurricanes blew their way deep into Bulldog territory with a series of outside runs. Pamlico converted on a key third and five from the 18 yard line. Senior playmaker Lamon Murray found a hole and rushed for eight yards to pick up the first. Three plays later, Murray evaded a Bulldog player in the backfield and took off to his left for a seven yard touchdown. After the extra point, the Murphy advantage was cut to 14-7.
Three touchdowns just wasn’t enough for this first quarter. Murphy hit back with a swift drive to extend its lead. On the first play of the drive, Nelson hit Justice Dorsey for a 26 yard pass. Dorsey fumbled at the end of the play but Murphy managed to jump on the ball. On the next play, Nelson pulled off a huge 44 yard rush down to the Pamlico 21. Two plays later, Nelson threw a great ball to Reid Beal up the left sideline for an 18-yard touchdown. Murphy took a 21-7 lead with 1:47 to go in the first quarter.
The second quarter featured 28 less points than the first quarter. Each defense managed to force a turnover on downs and came up with a takeaway in the second frame to stifle any scoring opportunity. The takeaways were an interception by freshman Peyton McCracken of Murphy and a fumble recovery by Lamont Murray for Pamlico.
Murphy maintained a 21-7 lead into the half.
On its first possession of the second half, Pamlico fumbled on the Murphy 47. After the change of possession, the Bulldogs picked up three first downs in four plays. The drive was capstoned with an 11-yard touchdown run by sophomore Ray Rathburn.
On the next Pamlico drive, Chase Roberts picked off a pass by Murray on the Pamlico 44. THe Hurricanes went on to pick up three straight first downs en route to a 6-yard touchdown run by Allen. The Murphy lead was increased to 35-7 with 2:41 to go in the third.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jarrod Ramsey pulled off a big 52 yard return down to the Murphy 35 yard line. A couple of plays into the drive, Pamlico capitalized on the great field position. Lamont Murray hit George Jones for a 42-yard touchdown pass. The lead was cut to 35-14.
Murphy responded with another touchdown. Devonte Murray dashed to the end zone for a 46 yard touchdown to push the Hurricanes past the 40 point threshold. The point after try was no good, so Murphy led 41-14.
Pamlico did not go down without a fight. After a strong drive, Murray found the end zone once again on a 17-yard rush to the outside. The Murphy lead was cut to 41-20 after the point after try was not converted.
The Bulldogs kept pushing. Devonte Murray rushed for yet another touchdown on the following drive. This time, it was a 31-yard scamper. Murphy led 47-20 after the score.
Pamlico County fumbled on the next drive and Murphy recovered. The Bulldogs got a third touchdown of the night from KJ Allen shortly after. The 22-yard rushing touchdown gave Murphy a 54-20 lead. The extra point was good by sophomore kicker Annie-Kate Dalton.
Pamlico responded with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Lamont Murray to La-monti Lewis with 4:06 left to go in the game. The Hurricanes cut the lead down to 54-27.
KJ Allen scored his fourth touchdown of the game on the following drive. The 18-yard rush gave Murphy a 60-27 advantage.
The win was coach David Gentry’s eighth state championship victory and his 406th win overall for Murphy. He is seven wins away from the state record.
“It’s hard to get the first one, you don’t just go walk out there and get one. Your kids have to learn how to do it and they have to be confident that they can do it,” Gentry said. “I’m sure this will be a learning experience for them (Pamlico). I told coach (Torrey Norwell) that I expect to see them back here. They’re a very talented football team.”
“The game didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, but our guys kept fighting the whole time,” Norwell said. “That means a lot to me.”
“I just think that with our football program and all of our athletic programs, we’ve been super successful,” Norwell continued. “I think it it makes people understand that we do have talent here in Pamlico. We just want people to understand that we are not the small underdog every time. We don’t want to be the underdog, we want to be considered the big dog at some point.”
“We made history by making it to the state championship and we want to continue to make history by winning one.”