By Devin Golden
With momentum on their side, the members of Murray County High School’s football team had hopes of stopping the school’s long losing streak.
Then Coahulla Creek’s Erick Dominguez did what he does best.
The senior safety’s fourth-quarter interception preserved a 12-point lead, and the Colts won 35-9 at home Friday in the season opener for both teams.
Murray County — which has now lost 19 in a row — trailed 21-0 at halftime, but started the second half with a fourth-and-three fake punt run from Justin Smith for a first down.
Smith, the team’s quarterback, connected with Brandon Smith on a 59-yard touchdown pass on the next play. The extra point was no good, but with 8:27 left in the third quarter, the Indians trailed 21-6.
Three plays into Coahulla Creek’s next possession, running back Cameron Burton fumbled and Murray County cornerback Spencer Baggett recovered near midfield. The Indians then went on an 11-play drive that ended in a 28-yard field goal from Jose Ruiz with 2:44 remaining in the third quarter to make it 21-9.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever competed here,” junior linebacker Kevin Chavez said. “ ... We started off slow but we picked it up and got around. It felt great competing.”
After an interception by safety Jagger Childers with 9:07 left in the game, the Indians started a drive from their own 24 and crossed inside the Coahulla Creek 30. On first down, Smith rolled to his left and was looking for Baggett.
But Dominguez stepped in front and made the play. Dominguez led all varsity players in Murray and Whitfield counties in interceptions last season with seven.
“That interception from Erick was a key play,” said Colts quarterback Blaine Williams, who finished with 181 all-purpose yards but also tossed two interceptions. “They had momentum and we got back in the game and were able to pound the ball.”
Darius Miller scored nine plays later for the Colts on an 11-yard run to make it 28-9 with 3:51 left. Creek’s Baley Jones returned an interception for a touchdown on the first play of the next Murray County possession.
Coahulla Creek rushed for 245 yards, with Burton leading the way with 129 on 17 carries.
“We got away from (the running game) in the first half and got back to it in the second half,” Colts coach Jared Hamlin said.
Murray County’s loss was a closer margin than any of its 10 from last season or the eight from the year before.
“Until we get the mentality that losing is not acceptable, it’ll never turn around for us,” first-year Indians coach Chad Brewer said. “There were some good things. There were a lot of bad things, too.”
Williams threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Levi Wilson with 9:51 left in the first quarter, and Williams scored with 2:21 left in the opening quarter on a 1-yard sneak on fourth-and-goal for a 15-0 lead.