Maroon Devils to face Murphy after two-win streak

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Swain County High School Maroon Devils are on a two-game winning streak with victories against Rosman Oct. 13 and Andrews Oct. 6.

Swain defeated Rosman 49-14.

“The wins give you confidence,” said head coach Neil Blankenship. “The kids are playing with a little more confidence than they have in previous weeks.”

Swain (4-4, 3-1 Smoky Mountain Conference) will host Murphy (7-1, 3-0) Friday at 7:30 p.m.

“Our kids worked hard yesterday, and they got a little jump in their step right now,” Blankenship said Monday. 

Against Rosman on Friday, the Maroon Devils amassed 493 total offensive yards, with 418 from running.  Brodie Bowman finished with 16 carries for 186 yards. Bryce Sain had seven carries for 131.

“Anytime you rush for 400 yards, that’s your best defense,” Blankenship said. “When you’re rushing the football that many times, that means their offense is not getting the ball as much.”

Rosman has been running a spread offense this year for the first time, and Swain successfully made the adjustment.

“We’re seeing a different type of offense,” Blankenship said. “Our kids adjusted well to their sets, talked well on defense and didn’t allow any of the big plays that we have been allowing in the past.”

Murphy runs a Wing-T, but also has a strong passing game. 

“They are so athletic, they’ve got athletes in every position,” Blankenship said. “Their quarterback is an outstanding quarterback.” 

Joey Curry is the signal caller for Murphy and completed 76 of 103 passes for 1,209 yards. That’s all but 15 of his team’s 1,224 yards.  He’s thrown only one interception through the game on Oct. 13.

The Bulldogs have three players with over 400 rushing yards and a team total of 2,048. 

“They’ve got all kinds of weapons,” Blankenship said. “They’ve run the ball on everybody. All of a sudden, they run, run, run, and all of a sudden hit you with a big play with the passing game. That’s the hard thing about guarding against Murphy.”

Despite losing to Cherokee, Blankenship said his team still has a chance at a conference title, plus there’s still an opportunity to improve playoff chances.  Those are just a couple of motivating factors for Swain.

“The kids have grown up knowing Swain and Murphy is a big Murphy is a big game. So that’s nothing new to our kids,” Blankenship said.

With the recent upsets in college football and East Henderson’s recent upset of Pisgah, defeating an accomplished conference opponent can be done. 

“That’s what you tell your kids every night, that you’ve got to play every Friday night because you don’t know what may happen,” Blankenship said. “Swain has traditionally played tougher competition well and have had success against them.

“Murphy will be favored, and our kids know that. We’re not looking at that. We don’t pay a lot of attention to that. We’re just wanting our kids to play hard and compete and give themselves a chance.” 

Smoky Mountain Times

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