RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) — Murphy has been here before and, in the end, it showed.
The Bulldogs led the entire game and held on for a 14-7 victory over Northside on Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium on the campus of NC State. The win was Murphy’s 10th state title and ninth for head coach David Gentry, the winningest football coach in NC High School Athletic Association state history. Murphy won the 2018 state crown and is now 10-3 in state title games.
Gentry now has 426 career wins. He is second in state title wins behind former Robbinsville coach Bob Colvin, who won 11 and is in the NCHSAA Hall of Fame.
Ironically, Murphy beat Robbinsville in the Western Regional final, another example of how tough it is to beat a 1-A team from western North Carolina.
Northside was making just its second state title appearance. The Panthers lost to Graham in the 2000 state final. Keith Boyd, the Panthers head coach, was an assistant on that team.
Northside’s state title appearance in 2000 was the last year the football playoffs were in four classifications. This is the final season the state football playoffs will be in eight classifications as the NCHSAA will return to the four-classification format starting this fall.
Murphy made two first-half touchdowns stick. Northside got its lone score when James Gorham, the Offensive MVP, rambled 73 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. He finished with 147 of Northside’s 198 yards of offense.
Murphy quarterback Kellen Rumfelt, the overall MVP, injured his throwing shoulder in the third quarter and was forced to leave the game. He finished 12 of 15 for 254 yards and a touchdown.
Mistakes did in Northside as the Panthers fumbled twice and had just six first downs, one on Gorham’s touchdown run. The Panthers were also picked off once. The defense held its own on offense but had trouble at times with Murphy’s passing game.
Murphy went up 6-0 after taking its first drive of the game and capping it with a 2-yard run by Ty Laney. That score ended an 11-play, 88-yard drive.
The Bulldogs connected again when Rumfelt found Isra Smith for a 55-yard touchdown pass. Rumfelt found Laney for the 2-point conversion and a 14-0 halftime lead.
Tyler Harris was Northside’s defensive player of the game with nine tackles, while Zion Wilson had seven tackles, 1.5 for loss.