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Murphy’s effort sparks Piedmont victory over Plainview

By Al Muskewitz, East Alabama Sports Today

PIEDMONT — Chance Murphy says he was “just doing my job,” but when something good happened for the Piedmont defense Thursday night he usually was in the middle of it.

Murphy, a junior defensive end, blocked an extra point, batted down a third-down pass and recovered a late onsides kick — all in the second half — to help the top-ranked Bulldogs beat winless Plainview 34-21 in an early-season game that established their position in their new region.

“We just do our job on defense and I was just doing my job and it so happened to come to me a lot,” he said.

Murphy’s blocked PAT kept the Bears from narrowing the gap and his onsides recovery came after the visitors drew within 28-21 with 7:35 to play.

After the onsides recovery, Jack Hayes drove the Bulldogs 52 yards in six plays, rushing for all but one of the yards and scoring on a 24-yard burst for an insurance touchdown with 3:43 to go.

Hayes accounted for all five touchdowns to move within two of passing Lanett’s Kristian Story to become the AHSAA’s all-time leader in that category, including two through the air to pass Bo Nix for second on that career list.

He tied Nix with a 2-yard pass to Ishmael Bethel in the second quarter and passed the former Auburn quarterback on a 45-yarder to Rollie Pinto on the first play of the second half. Hayes also scored on runs of 3, 1 and 24 yards.

For the game Hayes completed 18-of-23 passes for 208 yards and rushed for 104 yards.

“He’s just like all the other Hayes kids; they’re cookie-cutters,” Plainview coach Dale Pruitt said. “He’s really good and he’s really good doing the things that nobody knows he’s doing. He’s a four-year starter and has won how many state championships. That just don’t happen. He’s had some dudes around him, but he’s been the dude. He does a good job.”

Plainview’s triple-option offense opened the game with a 71-yard touchdown drive that consumed almost half the first quarter, but the Bulldogs (2-1) adjusted and shut down the Bears’ next four possessions through the third quarter to open a 28-7 lead.

The difference was “real simple,” Bulldogs coach Steve Smith explained.

“The first possession everything they had was a positive gain,” he said. “Their bad plays on their first possession were three yards. They were moving the chains, controlling the clock. We played pretty solid, but we just couldn’t stop them. That drive went according to script, exactly the way I’m sure they wanted to and after that you looked in there and they had a zero or a minus-2 … and that makes it a lot tougher to convert first downs.

“We were able to come out and get stops in four straight series between the first drive and their second score, and that was huge because it gave us a chance to get a little momentum on the offensive side and make it a multi-score game.”

Piedmont travels to Ohatchee next Friday.

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