EVERETT — At long last, Archbishop Murphy got to play a football game.
The 2A top-ranked Wildcats returned to the field after four consecutive opponent forfeits and picked up right where they left off more than a month ago, cruising past Olympic for a 48-0 non-league win on Saturday afternoon at Archbishop Murphy High School.
“It was nice to get the rust off,” Murphy senior quarterback Connor Johnson said. “Our team has been waiting to get out here and play again, so it was just very nice to get back out here.”
The Wildcats (8-0) began the season with routs of Issaquah, Bishop Blanchet and King’s — each state-playoff teams last year in their respective classifications — by a combined 170-0. Murphy’s next four games were then forfeited by South Whidbey, Sultan, Granite Falls and Cedar Park Christian, and Cedarcrest already has forfeited Murphy’s Oct. 28 regular-season finale. Each school cited player-safety concerns against the bigger, stronger and faster Wildcats as the primary reason for forfeiting.
Sidelined since Sept. 16, Murphy couldn’t wait to take the field on Saturday — especially since the Wildcats won’t play again until the district crossover round on either Nov. 4 or 5.
“Like a volcano waiting to erupt,” Wildcats head coach Jerry Jensen said of his team’s mentality. “The guys have held their emotions in check pretty well and just really looked forward to the opportunity to play today.”
Murphy’s offense stormed out of the gates with two touchdowns on its first five plays and needed just 23 plays to build a 45-0 lead less than a minute into the third quarter.
Johnson finished 10-of-12 passing for 227 yards and two touchdowns while distributing the ball to a talented crop of playmakers that carved up Olympic’s defense with blazing speed and elusiveness.
Junior receiver Kyler Gordon led the Wildcats with four catches for 120 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a score. Senior running back Collin Montez added 86 yards rushing and two touchdowns on just five carries.
Senior kicker Ryan Henderson also got in on the offensive fireworks, showcasing his powerful leg with field goals of 50 and 54 yards that prompted some of the afternoon’s loudest cheers.
Murphy’s defense recorded its fourth shutout of the season with a stifling performance against Olympic’s wing-T rushing attack, limiting the Trojans (4-4) to just 52 yards of offense on 43 plays and 38 yards rushing on 36 carries. The Wildcats still haven’t allowed a point this season.
“We executed defensively,” Jensen said. “I think we tackled better than I thought we might have with all that time off.”
After Montez shedded numerous tackles for a 53-yard run on Murphy’s second play from scrimmage, senior receiver Anfernee Gurley scored on a 12-yard screen pass to put the Wildcats on the board. Gordon then caught a short pass on the following possession and weaved his way back to the other side of the field for a 32-yard score to give the Wildcats a 14-0 lead.
Montez returned an interception to the Olympic 2-yard line early in the second quarter and scored the following play on a short touchdown run. Then after senior receiver Paul Schireman hauled in a 38-yard diving catch, Gurley rushed for a 3-yard score to extend the margin to 28-0. Gordon added a 47-yard touchdown run and Henderson split the uprights for a 50-yard field goal as the first half expired to give Murphy a 38-0 halftime lead.
“We saw size, we saw speed and we saw execution too, all at the same time,” Olympic head coach Sal Quitevis Jr. said. “They are arguably one of the best teams, no matter what division. They’re one of the best.”