MIDLOTHIAN – Bryce Murphy has shown in the past he can lead the Midlothian offense with his arm. Apparently his legs are pretty viable options too.
The incumbent starting quarterback grabbed the spotlight during the team’s spring game on Friday night but not with passing. Murphy carried the ball 11 times for 181 yards and a score during the contest dominating the running stats. No other Panther player, on either team, was with 110 yards of Murphy's final total as Murphy's blue team picked up a 34-7 win.
“I think I showed my legs more than I have in a while. Since I got hurt last year, I couldn't really do anything but now I can go full speed the whole time,” Murphy said.
Saying Murphy showed he is a quarterback in the mold of Randall Cunningham or Donovan McNabb is a bit misleading. He simply made the most of the opportunities presented to him.
Time and time again during the scrimmage, plays and coverage broke down for the blue squad forcing Murphy to simply make plays happen. His first run of the game went for 59 yards on a broken play. His biggest run of the night came just before the half when Murphy tried to make something happen with his arm but couldn't get a player to break open. Instead of passing, he raced down the sideline beating all the white team’s defenders easily for an 85-yard score.
Last fall, Murphy was a backup to quarterback Dillon Fairbanks and spent the majority of the season as a safety. He earned all-district honors for his play on defense, at a position that requires speed. The performance didn't really take coach Lee Wiginton by surprise.
“He runs the ball well. He has good vision, he's a tough kid with good speed. None of those things were surprises,” Wiginton said.
While his legs found running room, Murphy's arm started slow. He finished the first half with just two completions for 13 yards with an interception. After taking some time to regroup at halftime, Murphy rebounded by going 7-of-9 in the second half for 99 yards with a nine-yard scoring strike to first-year Panther Lucas Anderson.
Anderson, a transfer from Grapevine Christian, has quickly developed a chemistry with Murphy. All four of his catches came from Murphy and all four came in the second half. He finished with 64 yards receiving, the best total for either team.
“Since last December I haven’t touched the football field in a game-like scenario. It just felt amazing to be on the field,” Anderson said. “The line was doing amazing, Bryce was doing amazing, good arm, good throws. It just felt good.”
The blue squad wasted no time in getting on the board as Michael Glenn capped the team’s first drive with a 13-yard scoring run. Murphy’s long run was followed by a 36-yard scoring strike to Jaylan Peoples on the final play of the first half for a 21-0 lead.
The blue defense started the first half by posting a three-and-out, allowing the offense to retake the field. Murphy and Anderson would connect on that ensuing drive for a 28-0 advantage. That advantage grew to 31-0 when Dillon McClain hit a 27-yard field goal. Ryan Chisholm added a 19-yard field goal in the fourth for a 34-0 lead.
The white team finally got on the board when quarterback Quindell Daniels capped an 11-play drive with a two-yard run for the first points of the game.
While it might have been a slow start for Murphy, the rising senior has found plenty of positives to build on in the offseason. The chemistry is well on its way to helping him take hold of the leadership reins for Midlothian.
“I came out just trusting my legs and later on in the game I started trusting my arm. My line gave me good blocking and I just stepped up and performed,” Murphy said.
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