MURPHY – David Gentry has seen it all over the course of 375 career wins.
Still, the Murphy football coach had to wonder what Friday held when his leading rusher suffered a knee injury during a pregame walkthrough.
The Bulldogs still do not know the full extent of junior Kadrian McRae’s injury. But they were able to put the ominous turn of events behind them – Joey Curry completed 9 of his 11 passes for 125 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-3 home win over Swain County.
Curry, who now has 1,210 yards for the season, has still yet to throw an interception for Murphy (9-1, 5-0), which has clinched a share of the Smoky Mountain Conference championship.
Gentry has been at the Cherokee County school since 1983. During that time, the Bulldogs have now won 13 SMC titles. This is their first since 2010.
“The defense really controlled the game for us, they showed up and set the tone,” Gentry said.
“And every time we got bogged down on offense, Joey Curry made a play. He just had a great night. And the thing about it is he wasn’t just throwing to our main guys, there were a lot of times where he threw to a secondary receiver.”
Travis Seabolt caught a pair of Curry’s touchdown passes in the third quarter (21 and 27 yards). By that time, the Bulldogs were in complete control and building on their 14-3 halftime lead.
Tanner Creelman (28 yards) and Colton Posey (7 yards) also caught touchdowns. Curry capped off the scoring for Murphy with a 1-yard quarterback keeper at the 3:53 mark of the third quarter.
The Bulldogs got a team-high 49 rushing yards from Slade McTaggart. Creelman and Keivon Allen added 43 each and McRae had 39 yards on eight carries. He missed some of the second half when the pain in the knee became too much.
Swain County (4-6, 4-1) had won four straight games coming into Friday. Holden Petty’s 26-yard field goal got them on the scoreboard with 8:49 remaining to play in the second quarter. Chris Miller rushed for a team-high 35 yards.
Gentry considers Adam Powell the best defensive lineman in the SMC — he is averaging 7.4 tackles per game, followed by McTaggart (6.4), Cody Cantrell (5.9), Chase Roberts (5.4) and Cory Farmer (5.3).
Murphy was ninth in this week’s Associated Press NCHSAA 1-A football poll and hasn’t lost since Aug. 26 (a 42-7 defeat at the hands of Franklin). The Bulldogs conclude their regular season next week at Rosman.
“(Swain County) runs a hard offense to defend against, so we were really happy with the defense tonight,” Gentry said.
“They’re a well-coached football team. This could be a special group for us. We’ve got gotta keep working to get better.”