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Murphy, Eagles pound Mascoma, 42-0


Senior tailback Brendon Murphy lived in the end zone for the second straight week to pace Gilford



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Gilford’s Brendon Murphy tries to break a tackle from behind during the Eagles’ 42-0 trouncing of Mascoma Valley on Saturday at the Meadows. (click for larger version)
September 12, 2011
GILFORD – Different number, same story for Brendon Murphy.

The senior tailback rushed for 295 yards and scored five touchdowns for the second consecutive week to lead the Gilford High School football team to a convincing 42-0 win over Mascoma Valley at the Meadows on Saturday.

While Murphy was his typical elusive self, Mascoma defenders may have had trouble recognizing him at first glance. That's because the back was dressed in a brand-new number 12 jersey and not his typical number 14 that defenses have come to be well acquainted with. After Week one's bruising performance against Newfound, Murphy's number 14 was ripped up during game action and had to be returned, forcing him to don the new number. No big deal, Murphy explained.

"It doesn't bother me, it's just a number. Maybe it faked them out a bit," Murphy said with a laugh.

Gilford (2-0) wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, as a steady diet of Murphy got the Golden Eagles into Mascoma territory on the game's opening drive. He would finish the job himself, scampering in from 27 yards out on a toss to the right side, tip-toeing his way along the sideline to paydirt for the 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the first quarter.

Gilford kicker Ronny Bean went with a short squibber on the ensuing kickoff, and Mascoma fumbled the exchange. After a scrum for the ball, Bean would find himself with the ball again and the Eagles were back in business at the Royals 46.

While the team would turn the ball over on downs in the redzone, the Gilford defense would force a three and out and the team had good field position on the ensuing possession. Murphy made sure his team would come away with points this time however, as he took the first carry of the drive 40 yards nearly untouched for a score that would double the lead to 14-0 with 5:26 left in the opening period.

"That's one thing we talked about all week was once we get going, we can't stop rolling," Murphy explained. "I think we learned a lot from last week so being able to put some points on the scoreboard and not let up on defense really builds our team a lot. It shows our maturity."

Murphy would add his third of five TDs just before the end of the first quarter, as he broke free from a bevy of tacklers en route to a 78-yard scoring strike that deflated Mascoma and put the Eagles up 21-0.

While the tailback was the story in the first quarter, Bean was heavily involved in all aspects of the first quarter proceedings. The senior recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass, kicked three extra points and even saw one of his kickoffs go into the end zone for a touchback.

"Ronny is a kid whose name you've heard since he was a freshman," said Gilford coach Mark Brewer. "One of Ronny's greatest attributes is that he's been a heck of a punter. He's an all-state punter for two years in a row. Ronny's everywhere, he's a kid you like to see out there. He's one of those kids you have to keep track of on the field."

With the Gilford defense continuing to do its job – the Eagles forced six turnovers in the first half alone – Murphy scored from 18 yards out to make it 28-0 in the second and Jack Athanas (three completions, 70 yards passing) capped off the first-half scoring with a one-yard QB sneak on third-and-goal to send the team into the locker room with a commanding 35-0 lead.

Murphy would finish his afternoon midway through the third quarter, as he scored his fifth touchdown of the day and 10th on the young season, this one from 50 yards away, to make it 42-0 with 6:09 remaining. Upon Murphy's return to the sidelines, Brewer informed the busy tailback that his day was over.

"The kid just gets to the outside," said Brewer of Murphy. "He scored a lot of points for us with the five touchdowns but the defense kept them out of the end zone and that's a team that scored 41 points last week so I'm pretty happy about that. Everybody got to play, that's good for the program."

Indeed it was not the performance many expected from a Mascoma team that pummeled Raymond, 41-0, in the season-opener. But the Royals double wing offense struggled to get anything going against a stout Gilford defense, and even after switching to a 'Wildcat' formation in the second half, Mascoma failed to get on the scoreboard.

"We really watched a lot of film on these guys, put a lot of time into it all week, even in the rain," explained Brewer. "It was a tough practice week but the kids did a good job. A shutout is a shutout."

Gilford now sets its sights to Franklin (1-1), as the Eagles take their show on the road for the first time this season after a pair of convincing home victories. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.

"I still don't think we've had our real test yet," said Murphy. "I think we still have a lot left to prove in our division, two wins isn't saying much when it's such an open division."

The Eagles will look for a bit of retribution against the Golden Tornadoes, as Franklin handed Gilford its only regular season loss a season ago.

"That's a big game for us," Brewer said. "It's a team we've gone back and forth with over the years. They've been in the league forever, there's a lot of tradition there. It's one of those teams you love playing against, I love playing against. The Franklin game is just one of those games you know everyone is going to be into it. We know going to play them, it's going to be a hard week of practice."

Murphy expects to face a much tougher foe when Gilford heads down Routes 3 and 11 this weekend.

"Franklin's always a good team, they're always prepared," he said. "They're one of our rivals and they're going to want to take us out. We lost to them last year and that ruined our perfect regular season. They're going to be coming for us again so we can't take them lightly."

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