Eastern Randolph falls to Murphy in football state playoffs

RAMSEUR — All season it was Eastern Randolph that captured momentum and carried that to football victory after victory.

Eastern Randolph running back Na’heim Lilly scores one of his three touchdowns against Murphy during the third round of the Class 1-A state playoffs Nov. 19 at Ramseur. PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL


But that wasn’t the case in the third round of the Class 1-A state playoffs.

It was Murphy that built on its success and abruptly ended the Wildcats’ season.

“We didn’t play our best,” Eastern Randolph coach Burton Cates said. “Needless to say, it just was not our night.”

So Eastern Randolph, which was the No. 1 seed in the West Region, tumbled by a 64-31 score to ninth-seeded Murphy, which is the reigning state champion.

It was a rough go of it in the postseason for Randolph County teams. They had a combined record of 1-4.

The lone victory among four entrants came by Eastern Randolph, which received a first-round bye and then drubbed Draughn in the second round.

Eastern Randolph’s dominance faded fast Friday night.

“We gave up 79 points in 10 games and we gave up 60-whatever in 48 minutes,” Cates said.

The Wildcats (10-1) won the Piedmont Athletic Conference with a strong combination of offense and defense.

Even the offense had kinks in the matchup with Murphy.

Running back Na’heim Lilly ran for three touchdowns and Elias Alston racked up 123 receiving yards and a touchdown.

But Stratton Barwick was intercepted three times. He threw for 119 yards and a two-point conversion. Delonte Glover threw a touchdown pass. Yane Jaimes booted a 29-yard field goal.

Lilly posted 108 rushing yards on 16 carries.

While there were good moments for Eastern Randolph’s defense, those didn’t last long against Murphy.

Murphy converted on five fourth-down plays in the first half.

“We didn’t play well at all on fourth down,” Cates said.

Murphy takes on Robbinsville on Friday night with the winner advancing to the West Region  final against the winner between No. 3 seed Mitchell and No. 2 seed Mt Airy. Robbinsville (9-3) defeated Murphy (9-4) on Oct. 15.

By Randolph Record