Durham, NC – The Murphy Bulldogs reeled off 21 first quarter points on their way to a 60-27 victory over Pamlico County and the school’s ninth NCHSAA football state championship. The win was Head Coach David Gentry’s 406th career win, which is second all-time for head coaching wins in the NCHSAA.
Murphy’s defense got the scoring started when Micah Nelson recovered a Pamlico fumble and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown just 17 seconds into the game. The next possession for Murphy was after another Pamlico turnover, as the Bulldogs started at the Hurricane 34. Six plays later KJ Allen galloped five yards to the end zone and a 14-0 lead.
The Bulldogs built a huge advantage on the ground, racking up 479 yards to just 153 for Pamlico. Allen led the way for Murphy with 153 yards on 18 carries and four touchdowns as he was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Murphy’s Devonte Murray also added two touchdowns on his six carries with 106 yards.
Pamlico got on the board for the first time in the latter portion of the first quarter. Senior quarterback Lamont Murray settled into the game and was able to lead his team on a 12-play, 66-yard drive that took 5:28 off the first quarter clock. Murray capped the drive with a seven-yard touchdown run to trim the Murphy lead to 14-7 with 2:54 to go in the first. Four plays later, Murphy stretched their lead back out to 14 when Reid Beal hauled in an 18-yard pass from Micah Nelson with 1:47 to go in the first. Nelson was named Murphy’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player as he completed 3 of his 5 pass attempts for 42 yards and a touchdown while running for 49 yards on two carries.
The Bulldogs took a 21-7 lead into the half and came out ready to roll in the third quarter, adding two scores in the frame. Ray Rathburn scored from 11 yards out on the ground to go up 28-7. Five minutes later Allen ripped off a six-yard touchdown run for his second score of the night.
Pamlico did not quit despite trailing 35-7, after a long kickoff return into Murphy territory by Jarrod Ramsey, Murray bought time and found George Jones open over the middle for a 42 yard touchdown pass to make it 35-14 with under a minute to go in the third. Just three plays later, Murray raced 46 yards to the end zone for a touchdown, however the point after failed and Murphy led 41-14.
Murray went back to work for Pamlico, finding room and sprinting for a 17-yard touchdown to make it 41-20 after the point after failed. After touchdown runs by the Bulldogs’ Murray and Allen made the score 54-20, Pamlico’s Murray launched another touchdown pass, this one from 18 yards out to La-Monti Lewis to trim the lead to 54-27.
Lamont Murray finished the night with 157 yards passing and two scores to go along with 79 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player for the Hurricanes for his efforts. William Lovick was the Hurricanes’ Most Outstanding Defensive Player as he tied for the team lead in tackles with nine. Hunter Shope took home Most Outstanding Defensive Player honors for Murphy, racking up nine tackles, 1.5 of them for a loss.