Murphy muffles Northside in 1A state championship, 14-7

Published: May. 8, 2021 at 6:27 PM EDT|Updated: May. 8, 2021 at 6:39 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN/HSOT) — Make it nine state titles for Murphy coach David Gentry, putting him ever closer to the all-time mark in N.C. High School Athletic Association football.

Gentry’s Bulldogs claimed the 1A title on Saturday, defeating Northside of Pinetown 14-7 at N.C. State’s Carter-Finley Stadium.

Gentry now has 426 wins, the most in NCHSAA history, and his nine titles is second behind only Robbinsville’s Bob Colvin, who won 11.

Murphy (10-1) didn’t score in the second half and turned it over four times during the contest, but the defense held Northside (8-3) in check, save for a 73-yard touchdown run by James Gorham.

Gorham’s long scamper was the only score in the last two quarters. For the game, Northside coughed up the ball twice and picked up just six first downs, going 2-of-9 on third down and 0-for-3 on fourth down. Its only trip to the red zone came on the first drive of the game, which stalled on an interception on fourth down.

Murphy led 14-0 at halftime thanks to quarterback Kellen Rumfelt’s 8-of-9 passing for 207 yards (a passer rating of 318.8).

The Bulldogs got on the board on their first drive of the game, going up 6-0 on a 2-yard run by sophomore Ty Laney that capped an 11-play, 88-yard drive with 3:16 left in the first quarter. The second touchdown happened with 5:52 left in the second half as Rumfelt found Isra Smith on a 55-yard pass. A two-point conversion from Rumfelt to Laney made it 14-0.

But Rumfelt took a few big hits by the stout Northside defense and was forced to leave the game twice -- the last one knocked him out for good.

He was rewarded for his performance with the game’s MVP award, finishing 12 of 15 passing for 254 yards and a touchdown.

Payton McCracken’s five catches for 113 yards earned him offensive player of the game honors for the champs (both teams get a player of the game for offense and defense). Ray Rathburn earned the defensive award on his seven tackles (1.5 for loss).

Northside’s Gorham ran 17 times for 147 yards (8.6 per carry), accounting for almost all of his team’s 198 yards of offense en route to the runner-up’s Offensive Player of the Game. Tyler Harris was Northside’s defensive player of the game thanks to his nine tackles. Zion Wilson had seven tackles, 1.5 for loss.

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