Robbinsville football coach Dee Walsh called it the best run he’s ever seen.
And Walsh has seen a few.
Cruz Galaviz looked like he was bottled-up by the Murphy defense several times Friday. But the senior evaded the tacklers for a back-breaking 83-yard run with 7 minutes, 4 seconds to go in the third quarter at Big Oaks Stadium.
It was part of a 330-yard night for Galaviz and the deciding touchdown in a 30-21 home win over the defending NCHSAA 1-A champion Bulldogs.
Robbinsville (7-0, 3-0) fed the ball to Galaviz 34 times and he rewarded the confidence with three second-half touchdown runs.
“I’m glad he’s on our side,” Walsh said with a laugh.
“Our young offensive line really grew up a lot tonight. We’ve still got a lot of football left to play, but this is a big one. We hadn’t beaten Murphy in a long time (2004). The monkey on our backs was starting to turn into a gorilla.”
Indeed, Robbinsville had lost 11 consecutive games in the Smoky Mountain Conference series, including a couple 1-A state playoff matchups in 2010 and 2012. Now the Black Knights control their own destiny in the bid for their first SMC championship since 2009. They have already beaten three-time defending champion Swain County on its home field (21-7 on Sept. 26) and Murphy was this year’s preseason favorite.
Josh Gibson got things started for Robbinsville on Friday with a 40-yard field goal at the 5:11 mark of the first quarter. Quarterback Skyler Matheson followed that up with a 3-yard touchdown run with 4:13 left to go until halftime.
Friday was the 103rd career win for Walsh. He has been at Robbinsville since 2007. Prior to that Walsh was the coach at Cherokee from 1992 to 1994.
The Black Knights are back home next week for an SMC game against Rosman (3-4, 2-1).