Foley 27, Murphy 26

Lions counter Panthers' rally for region win

Tony Whitehead, GCM Sports
Posted 10/7/17

The Lions built a 20-0 lead by halftime, but the Panthers rallied in the third quarter to tie the score 20-20 early in the fourth

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Foley 27, Murphy 26

Lions counter Panthers' rally for region win

Posted

FOLEY, Ala. — The Lions built a 20-0 lead by halftime, but the Panthers rallied in the third quarter to tie the score 20-20 early in the fourth. A roughing the punter call on Murphy in the final minute kept Foley in possession and in control of their lead for the 27-26 Class 7A, Region 1 win.

“We knew they would come at us hard in the second half,” said Foley head coach Tad Niblett. “At halftime I said get ready because we’re going to get their best shot in this second half.

“But I proud of how well we played early. That’s the best half of football we have put together. But also proud of how we answered Murphy’s challenge later on.

“I told them this game is a lot like life. We were doing great and then stuff started going wrong. But we hung in there, stuck together and got it done together. And that’s what teams do.”

Foley quarterback Garrett Mayo found Macauley McNair for the Lions’ fourth and final touchdown. But Murphy quarterback Maurice Robinson — who left the field injured earlier in the fourth quarter — returned and broke for a 49-yard TD run with 1:28 left in regulation. The Panthers went for the win, but the two-point conversion attempt catch was ruled outside the end zone to preserve the 27-26 FHS lead.

“Special teams did a really good job tonight and overall we played well together,” Niblett said. “Kept our poise out there when Murphy came charging back. Didn’t panic and mounted that last drive in the second half. That says a lot about this team. They answered the challenge. We knew it was coming and responded. That was huge. Wasn’t perfect. Wasn’t mistake-free. But I think that last drive says so much about this team. Just extremely proud of how they kept it together and didn’t quit.”

The Lions were forced to punt on their final drive, but a “Running into the kicker” was called on the Panthers.

Foley took the lead on their first drive of the game when Chris Armstrong dove over the top from the MHS one. Mayo then connected with McNair on a 32-yard TD pass and a 23-yard TD toss to Christian Blackwell for the Lions before the half.

Murphy fell to 2-3 in league play and 2-4 overall. Foley improved to 3-3, 2-3 in Class 7A, Region 1.

Robinson also threw a TD pass to Michael Jefferson for 23 yards and Darnell Thomas completed one to Thomas for 19 yards.

The Lions will host cross-county rival Spanish Fort next (Oct. 13) for Foley’s Athletic Hall of Fame night.