By Doug Hawley
Murray County High School’s football team won on the field for the first time in three years last week.
It provided no momentum in Friday night’s Region 7-2A opener against Rome’s Armuchee, which left Murray Field with a 41-0 victory and its first win this season.
And more than just the final score was disappointing to Chad Brewer, Murray County’s first-year head coach.
“We played a team tonight that wanted it more,” he said. “They were a lot more physical in every aspect of the game. We don’t have those big, physical linemen. We’ve got them coming once they hit the weights in the offseason. We certainly didn’t take a step forward tonight, but we’ll work harder to make it happen.”
Last week, Murray County (1-1) beat Gordon Central 14-12 to shatter a 20-game losing streak that stretched back to 2011, when the team’s only two wins came via forfeit.
“We weren’t playing together as a team tonight,” Murray senior offensive lineman/linebacker Zach Broome said. “We’ll get in here Monday and get ready for the next game.”
Armuchee coach Preston Cash was glad to start the region schedule the right way.
“The second season started tonight,” Cash said. “We executed a lot better tonight. We did not turn the ball over like we have in the other games.”
Murray County had the ball inside the Armuchee 10 twice. A fake field goal failed late in the third quarter.
“We should have taken the field goal,” Brewer said. “We needed the points.”
Armuchee (1-3) led 21-0 at halftime and 35-0 heading into the final period, which set up a running clock per Georgia High School Association rules.
Armuchee pounded out 417 yards on the ground, with just 16 coming through the air.
Fullback Austin Gurley, a burly 6-foot-1-inch, 220-pounder, led the rushing attack with 122 yards on 13 carries. That included a bulldozing 57-yard touchdown run during the second quarter in which he ran over several defenders.
“Our big guys up front made a big difference,” said Gurley, who also plays defensive end. “This was our best game by far.”
Branden New had touchdown runs of 7 and 4 yards. Other touchdown scorers were Caleb Farmer, on an 8-yard pass from Colton Stamey — who also had a 43-yard scoring run — and Jakob Phillips, on a 27-yard interception return. Farmer kicked five extra points.
Jordan Walls paced Murray County’s backs with 78 yards on four carries. He had a 47-yard run in the third quarter.