EVERETT — After a tumultuous few weeks off the football field and a two-game losing streak on the field, the Archbishop Murphy football team needed to get back to basics Friday night.
The Wildcats did exactly that, celebrating homecoming as well as the 25th anniversary of the founding of the high school — dating back to when it was called Holy Cross — with a 46-15 romp over South Whidbey.
Camden Buchanan made his season debut as a starter under center and took a ride in a convertible at half as the homecoming king. In between, he completed 2-of-3 passes for 86 yards. Both completions could have been touchdowns if receiver Conner Longoria had been able to avoid tackles inside the 5-yard line.
Buchanan also efficiently ran the reemerging Wing-T offense, which has historically been a staple of the Archbishop Murphy attack, but was not implemented this year under Bill Marsh. Marsh resigned as Wildcats coach on Sept. 25 after a 2-2 start. Michael Allison was named Marsh’s replacement, but was placed on paid administrative leave while the Archdiocese of Seattle reviews allegations of alleged misconduct that occurred while Allison was employed at a high school in Oregon.
Officially Murphy is calling the current staff a head coach by committee until the Allison situation is settled, but Roger Brodniak, who joined the staff last week, had some moments where he looked like the man in charge Friday night. The former player and coach under legendary Cascade and Murphy coach Terry Ennis could be seen pacing the sideline, shouting orders and calling the offense. After the game Mike Plushke was the official spokesperson for the staff and has switched sides of the ball to call the defense since the coaching shakeup.
“Mike Allison is our head football coach,” Plushke said. “Right now we are a group of coaches who are picking up the duties that we’ve always had and just managing our time. It’s about the kids and they rallied really well this week.”
Plushke thought that the team had its best week of practice and it showed all over the field as Murphy (1-2 league, 3-2 overall) captured its first Cascade Conference win of the season. A version of the Wing-T offense was installed to make it easier on the players during the transitional week.
“It’s a hybrid … that was something we just did to try to simplify things for the kids,” Plushke said. “Let them have some confidence. These kids came out and had their best week of practice that I think they’ve had in a long time and I think it benefited them huge.”
The three-headed monster of Alex Galgano, Hans VanderWel and Ricky Gordon ran roughshod over the Falcons defense, racking up a combined 339 yards and 6 touchdowns rushing on 24 carries.
Murphy lead 20-0 and 46-7, stuffing the Falcons with a punishing defense until the Wildcats subbed liberally beginning in the third quarter. Other than allowing a Nick French 51-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, the first-team defense gave South Whidbey nowhere to run.
“It was a concerted effort of all 11 players trying to get their hats to the football,” Plushke said. “I thought they did a really nice job tonight.”
The Wildcats staff decided to not make any players available for interviews after the game.
“With what’s going on they (school officials) are asking that we don’t.” Plushke said.
Murphy will shoot for their second league win in as many tries at Sultan next week.
At Archbishop Murphy H.S.
A—Alex Galgano 1 run (Mason Bailey kick)
A—Hans VanderWel 76 run (Bailey kick)
A—Galgano 16 run (kick failed)
S—Nick French 51 run (Cameron Coupe kick)
A—Ricky Gordon 4 run (Bailey kick)
A—Galgano 45 INT return (kick failed)
A—Gordon 6 run (kick blocked)
A—VanderWel 53 run (Bailey kick)
S—Aaron Curfman 22 run (kick blocked)
Records—South Whidbey 1-2 league, 2-3 overall. Archbishop Murphy 1-2, 3-2.