September 14, 2013

Murray County's skid over at long last

By Aaron Mann
The Calhoun Times

— The Murray County High School Indians and first-year head coach Chad Brewer know they still face plenty of work in their rebuilding project.

But the Indians celebrated laying part of their foundation for a potential turnaround on Friday night.

Murray County won 14-12 at Gordon Central Friday night as the Indians snapped a 20-game losing streak and earned their first on-field victory since beating Pickens 20-13 in overtime on Oct. 1, 2010. The Indians’ only two wins since that loss came after the 2011 season when Dalton and Southeast Whitfield were forced to forfeit sizable wins against the Indians because of using ineligible players.

Murray County stopped a Gordon Central two-point try with less than a minute left in the game and recovered the ensuing onside kick to set up its first victory formation in a long time.

“It feels amazing,” said Brewer, who also earned his first win of his high school head coaching career. “This means so much to our team, school and community.”

In 2012, Murray County was 0-10 and its closest margin was 27 points.

The Indians struggled to move the ball in the first half at Gordon Central but found their rhythm after halftime, and Brewer said the win was dedicated to the four Murray County seniors — Zach Broome, Seth Gilbert, Clayton Thornbury and Jordan Walls — who have played the past four seasons.

The Indians controlled the clock and the field in the second half, and the two big driving forces for them were quarterback Justin Smith and running back Spencer Baggett, both juniors. Smith ended the night with 62 yards rushing, and 50 of those yards came in the second half, with two rushing touchdowns. He went 9 for 17 passing for 45 yards. Baggett finished with 57 yard rushing.

After a scoreless first quarter, Murray County went to halftime with a 7-6 lead after Gordon Central scored first.

“We told them 24 minutes doesn’t win a football game,” Brewer said. “... We needed to play for 24 more minutes, and we did.”