Murphy lost a football game on Aug. 17, but found something more valuable.
Sophomore Michael Curry could not rally the defending 1-A state champions after taking over for injured senior Brooks Brown in a 42-35 defeat at the hands of Franklin.
However, the underclassmen showed some wits and physical ability.
Months later, Curry (1,013 yards and 14 touchdowns with five interceptions) is the latest Western North Carolina quarterback to pass for 1,000 yards.
And he's done it as quietly as any of his contemporaries in the mountains, too. That is to be expected with a team that has churned out 4,779 rushing yards.
Run or pass, Curry and the Bulldogs (13-2) will try to find some method of offense that works in Saturday's NCHSAA 1-A championship game against Plymouth (14-1) at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh.
Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.
"It's been such a long, tough road to get here," Curry said.
"I'm excited. We're all really excited. When you look back, I don't know that a lot of people expected us to go to state again. We didn't listen. We just went out there and played as hard as we could."
Curry had always been a quarterback and played the position for Murphy's junior-varsity team. But the Bulldogs coaching staff felt he was best suited to be No. 2 on the depth chart entering this season.
Whoever the quarterback was going to be, they were going to have to take over for 2011 Citizen-Times All-WNC Player of the Year Seth Curtis. Curtis had more than 3,400 yards of offense during last year's state-championship run and now plays collegiately for Western Carolina University.
"I know Seth was quite amazing," Curry said.
"But I haven't really thought about him that much. Coach Gentry said at the start of the season, 'Seth is gone now. We need someone else to step up'. That's what I've tried to do for my team."
Curry threw for 68 yards in Friday's 1-AA Western Regional championship game at Albemale (a 27-24 win by Murphy) to go over 1,000 for the season. His top receivers have been Brice McKeon (27 receptions for 580 yards and 10 touchdowns) and James Posey (12 receptions for 208 yards and two touchdowns).
Curry has also rushed for 334 yards and 10 touchdowns, but a trio of backs do the real heavy-lifting for the Murphy running game - Gaige Cox (1,264 yards, 16 touchdowns), Posey (1,081 yards, 21 touchdowns) and Kenton Braswell (996 yards, 15 touchdowns).
"Everyone knows we like to run the football," Bulldogs coach David Gentry said.
"But (Curry) has thrown for some valuable yards lately. We're pretty much got the same receiving corps back from last year and that's helped. But he's been a big part of this."