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Murphy seeing double in 1-A final

9:38 PM, Nov. 30, 2012 EST

Murphy's Bradley Puccio (17) tries to fight out of the tackle of Swain County's Cody Epps during an Oct. 26 game in Murphy. / John Coutlakis/jcoutlakis@citizen-times.com


Familiarity has been Murphy's friend in the NCHSAA 1-A football playoffs.

First, the Bulldogs (13-2) beat three fellow Smoky Mountain Conference teams (Cherokee, Robbinsville and Rosman) for a second time.

And then they repeated last year's 270-mile trip to Albemarle for the 1-A Western Regional championship game, winning once again, 27-24.

Want even more repetition?

Murphy will go for a second straight 1-A state championship against Plymouth (14-1) today at the same site of its 2011 triumph - Raleigh's Carter-Finley Stadium.

Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.

"I certainly think that (familiarity) helped us at Albemarle," Bulldogs coach David Gentry said.

"I told them all week that we knew what to expect and that we knew we could beat them. It's a tremendous asset to know we've been down to (Carter-Finley) before, too. We'll take it. All these seniors have been in that stadium. I hope they do exactly what I expect a veteran team to do."

As has been well-documented, Gentry holds the Western North Carolina record for career coaching victories in football (333). The Bulldogs have previously won six state championships in football - 1974, 1986, 1987, 1991, 1996 and 2011.

Gentry has been involved in all but the first of those title runs.

His quarterback, sophomore Michael Curry (1,013 yards and 14 yards with five interceptions), went over the 1,000-yard mark last Friday.

Curry was vaulted into his current role when senior Brooks Brown was injured in the Bulldogs' Aug. 17 season-opener - a 42-35 home loss to Franklin.

Curry's favorite receivers have been Brice McKeon (27 receptions for 580 yards and 10 touchdowns) and James Posey (12 receptions for 208 yards and two touchdowns).

Kenton Braswell (996 yards, 15 touchdowns) ran for 217 yards and two touchdowns against Albemarle, leaving the junior on the verge of joining two other 1,000-yard rushers - Gaige Cox (1,264 yards, 16 touchdowns) and Posey (1,081 yards, 21 touchdowns)

Plymouth also has a potent ground game with a trio of 1,000-yard rushers - Quadre Pettiford (1,201 yards, 21 touchdowns), Carl McCray (1,103 yards, 17 touchdowns) and Kendrick Pitt (1,005 yards, 21 touchdowns).

And like Curry, the Vikings have a 1,000-yard passer in Sharmontez Ferebee (1,087 yards) that will test a Murphy defense led by Austin Satterfield (7.5 per game), Stiles (6.8) and Bradley Puccio (6.8).

"Somebody said to me the other day, 'Coach, it's going to be a quick game,'" Gentry said.

"I guess it will unless lightning strikes. We know it's going to be a run game. They know it's going to be a run game. It should be a pretty-fast game."




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