The Caravel football team has had only two close games this season. George Murray made game-changing plays in both of them.
The senior hasn’t put up huge numbers at wide receiver and defensive back, but he may play a huge role in Friday night’s DIAA Division II championship game against Hodgson at Delaware State University’s Alumni Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
“He’s a very unselfish player,” Caravel coach John Reed said of Murray. “He’s played like that all year. You never hear George talk about how he wants the ball. When his number is called, he’s there and he makes the play.”
Murray first proved his value Oct. 6 at Archmere. The Buccaneers led only 13-7 with 5:36 to go when Murray used his 6-foot-5 frame to leap over an Archmere receiver and pick off a short pass. Caravel scored three plays later, with Derrick Groomes throwing a 13-yard pass to Murray for a 19-7 lead.
Then, on the Auks’ next play from scrimmage, Murray intercepted another pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown to clinch a 26-7 victory.
But Murray saved his best for last Friday, during the Division II semifinals. With the Buccaneers trailing Indian River 42-37, Murray caught a 47-yard pass with 8 seconds left, then grabbed a 4-yard touchdown pass with no time left on the clock for a 43-42 victory.
“It felt good to know that I’m an asset to the team,” Murray said. “But at the same time, we only made it that far due to plays from other people. I may have made some plays that counted, but the people who actually put us in those positions were the kids who didn’t get to shine.”
Caravel (12-0) averages less than eight pass attempts per game, yet Murray has 26 receptions for 503 yards and six touchdowns.
“He’s a very tall, physical specimen,” Hodgson coach Frank Moffett said. “As a quarterback, that’s the type of kid you like to throw the ball to. He has good wheels, as well.
“He reminds me of a kid I had a few years ago who was 6-4, Jamal Merrell, who is playing at Rutgers now,” Moffett added. “Our quarterback loved to just throw it up and let the receiver do the work.”
Murray is just as talented in the classroom. He already has a jump on college after attending an engineering program at the University of Delaware the last two summers.
“You get a head start on the major you’re going into, rather than learning something random that won’t benefit you as much,” he said. “I want to be a mechanical engineer.”
“He is an unbelievable role model for the younger kids,” Reed said. “He does all the right things on and off the field. He’s a very humble young man, and I wish I could coach him for a couple more years.”
Caravel edged Hodgson 21-20 in a thrilling semifinal last season, only to lose to Indian River 35-13 in the championship game. This year, Murray wants to help the Buccaneers clear the final hurdle.
“It has definitely made us more hungry,” he said. “We had to take that bus ride back, and we already know what it feels like to be on the losing end. That makes us more motivated to come home on the positive side.”
DSU gate closed
Delaware State University’s main gate off U.S. 13 will be closed at 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Fans attending the DIAA Division II and Division I championship games on those nights must use the entrances along College Road.