Murphy senior Kenton Braswell knows his left shoulder will not get better any time soon without surgery.
But Braswell and his family have made a conscientious decision for the football team’s sake that the operating table can wait until this season is over.
Of course, Braswell has the blessing of the Bulldogs (2-2) and their coaching staff to play with a torn labrum. Especially after he scored five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) in his first full game Friday, a 48-14 home win over Smoky Mountain. Braswell also had 157 rushing yards on 19 carries.
Braswell has been wearing a brace on the injured shoulder and said he has learned to block out the pain.
“I’m kind of used to (the pain) by now,” Braswell said.
“When you’re working for your teammates and trying to be all you can be, all you can think about is doing as much as you can. I want to play out the rest of the year if I can.”
Braswell aggravated the shoulder Aug. 23 in a 50-6 loss at Darlington School (Ga.) after he carried the ball seven times for 43 yards. Braswell (200 yards, four touchdowns) is not simply a glutton for punishment with no future in the sport.
He said that East Carolina recently joined Jacksonville State and Gardner-Webb in offering him a scholarship. Lipscomb and Kennesaw State have offered Braswell track scholarships.
The former All-Smoky Mountain Conference back was the most valuable offensive player of the 2011 NCHSAA 1-A championship game and had 1,039 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2012. Braswell said that colleges are recruiting him to be either a running back or a slot receiver.
He and the Bulldogs travel to Fannin County, Ga. (1-2) on Friday for their final nonconference game. Braswell not only played offense last week, but the 5-foot-8, 175-pound senior was in on about a dozen tackles.
“With the tempo we play, it really helps to have top-level guys like Kenton,” Murphy coach David Gentry said.
“He really brings a lot of energy to our team. He had a real good first game, and for us to be successful, we need it to continue.”
Fellow Bulldogs running back Deion Johnson (458 yards, four touchdowns) has strung together back-to-back 200-yard rushing games and sophomore quarterback Dalton Kent (326 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions) threw for 130 yards and a touchdown on Friday.
It was Murphy’s 15th consecutive victory in its nonconference series with Smoky Mountain (2-2). Braswell is glad he could contribute.
“It was an awesome game,” Braswell said.
“It’s hard to sit on the sidelines and watch when you know you can help. We’re starting to get healthy now, and it makes it easier on everyone when we get guys back.”