MURPHY — For the second week in a row, East Surry’s football team got into a shootout.
Unfortunately, this time they got out-gunned.
The Cardinals’ 2017 season came to an end in the third round of the 1AA state playoffs, as reigning 1A state champion Murphy outscored East Surry 49-27 on Friday night to earn a trip to the West Regional final.
Murphy (12-2), the tri-champion of the Smoky Mountain Conference and the state’s fifth-ranked 1A team according to MaxPreps.com, built a 28-7 lead by halftime and never let the Cardinals really get back into the game during the second half.
The Bulldogs put East Surry behind the eight-ball right away, scoring on their first two possessions of the game to lead 14-0. Joey Ray finally got the Cardinals on the board with a six-yard touchdown run to open the second quarter, but Murphy immediately drove for another touchdown and then added another shortly before intermission to take a three-score lead.
Murphy pushed the lead to 35-7 early in the third quarter before the East Surry offense could get untracked. Stephen Gosnell scored to cap off a drive with 6:44 left in the period, but that only got the Cardinals back within 35-13.
The teams traded touchdowns twice down the stretch before the game came to an end.
East’s biggest problem was containing the Murphy running game. The Bulldogs had the ball for 30 out of 48 minutes and ran for 437 yards on 58 carries.
The Cardinals, who reached the state quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons, end the season with a 9-5 record. They came into the game with Murphy as the state’s seventh-ranked 1A team and are likely to finish the season rated inside the top 10. East Surry has won 52 games in the past five seasons.
Gosnell, a sophomore, completed 11 of 19 passes for 109 yards for the Cardinals.
The Bulldogs advanced to the 1AA regional final and will be right here in Surry County next week, taking on Mount Airy for the first time in more than a decade.