Cascade senior running back Davanta Murphy-Mcmillan has averaged 269 yards rushing per game through the first four weeks of the season. (Katie Webber / The Herald)

Cascade senior running back Davanta Murphy-Mcmillan has averaged 269 yards rushing per game through the first four weeks of the season. (Katie Webber / The Herald)

Cascade star running back is piling up massive numbers

Davanta Murphy-Mcmillan has rushed for 1,076 yards and 15 touchdowns in just four games.

By his coaches’ accounts, Davanta Murphy-Mcmillan tends to have a quiet demeanor.

But during his massive start to the season, the Cascade High School running back’s eye-popping numbers sure have made a loud statement.

Murphy-Mcmillan has rushed for a whopping 1,076 yards and 15 touchdowns in just four games, averaging 9.1 yards per carry and 269 yards per contest in the Bruins’ Wing-T attack.

The hard-running senior already has topped the 300-yard mark twice, highlighted by a 334-yard, six-touchdown performance in a season-opening win over Everett. He also rushed for 322 yards and four scores on 46 carries in a double-overtime loss to Mount Vernon two weeks ago.

“It’s incredible,” Cascade coach Jordan Sieh said. “I mean, it’s like every time you play a game, you’re like, ‘Wow, I expect Davanta to go over 200 (yards) minimum. And there’s a shot that he could go for 300.’”

Yet as spectacular as Murphy-Mcmillan’s stats have been, Sieh said they haven’t necessarily been a surprise.

“I remember our eighth-grade coach at the middle-school level said (Davanta was) the best back he’s ever coached, and he’d been coaching for 25-plus years,” Sieh said. “… Then after his first year on varsity — by the end of (his sophomore) season — he kind of became our main running back. And you were already then thinking like, ‘Wow, this kid’s going to be really good.’”

Murphy-Mcmillan already has topped the 300-yard rushing mark twice this season. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Murphy-Mcmillan already has topped the 300-yard rushing mark twice this season. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Despite running behind a young offensive line last year and being banged up for a few games, Murphy-Mcmillan still managed to rush for 1,015 yards. Yet, aided by the growth and development of his linemen, the powerful 5-foot-9, 170-pound back soared to a whole new level this year. Through just four games, he’s already surpassed last season’s rushing total.

When asked about the keys to his scorching start, Murphy-Mcmillan was quick to credit his blockers up front.

“I think it’s our line,” he said. “… They’ve really stepped up.”

But while the offensive line has played a key role and running back Michael Purl has provided a nice complement with 457 yards rushing and four touchdowns, there’s no doubt who’s been the centerpiece of Cascade’s Wing-T attack. With Murphy-Mcmillan leading the way, the Bruins (2-2 overall, 1-1 Wesco 4A) have averaged 40.5 points per game.

“He’s the foundation of the offense,” Sieh said. “Everything we do is really built off of him.”

Murphy-McMillan stretches across the goal line for one of his six touchdowns in Cascade’s season-opening win over rival Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Murphy-McMillan stretches across the goal line for one of his six touchdowns in Cascade’s season-opening win over rival Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Though Murphy-Mcmillan is listed at just 170 pounds, Sieh said he runs with the power and tenacity of a 200-pound back. It’s common to see him plow through defenders and shed tackles for extra yardage.

“He just runs angry,” Sieh said. “He’s such a great kid, but when he plays football, he runs so angry. He really is hard to get to the ground. … Even when he gets knocked out of bounds and guys are dragging on him, he just does not go to the ground easily.”

“He runs really hard (and) never lets the first guy take him down,” said Glacier Peak coach Shane Keck, who was the Bruins’ head coach during Murphy-Mcmillan’s freshman and sophomore years.

Murphy-Mcmillan complements his tackle-breaking ability with blazing short-burst speed and quick cutting.

“He has elite quickness in a 10-yard box — about as good as I’ve seen,” Sieh said. “He might not have that home-run speed, like in a 100-meter dash at a track meet, but in a 10-yard window, he has elite quickness. There’s so many runs where he should get probably about two yards, and he’s able to wiggle around and get 10-plus.”

In addition, Murphy-Mcmillan possesses superb vision and an advanced understanding of Cascade’s offense, having played in the Wing-T system for much of his life.

“In the Wing-T, you’ve gotta have great vision once you get to the line of scrimmage,” Sieh said. “He’s able to really understand how to cut back and see those holes when they open up and hit them full-speed.

“It’s pretty complex with what we’re asking these guys to do,” Sieh added, “and he just has a complete understanding of what we’re doing. He’s a tremendous running back, but you’ve gotta couple that with (the fact) he’s a tremendous Wing-T running back.”

Murphy-Mcmillan is the centerpiece of Cascade’s high-powered Wing-T rushing attack, which is averaging 40.5 points per game. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Murphy-Mcmillan is the centerpiece of Cascade’s high-powered Wing-T rushing attack, which is averaging 40.5 points per game. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

As the focal point of a run-heavy offense and a two-way starter who rarely leaves the field, Murphy-Mcmillan takes on a massive workload. He has 118 carries through four games, he starts at free safety on defense and he’s a kick returner on special teams.

“Truly, you get a kid like this about every 10 years — not just a guy you see make a couple highlights, (but) a guy that doesn’t come off the field, plays defense, returns kickoffs,” Sieh said. “… He’s somebody that can handle it and wants it. He doesn’t like to come off the field.”

Murphy-Mcmillan said he has aspirations of playing Division 1 college football — something Sieh said he believes his star running back is fully capable of.

“I just hope that he doesn’t get overlooked because he’s a little small,” Sieh said. “There’s plenty of guys in the NFL that haven’t been super big, but they know how to run the football. And he’s a great football player.

“He’s really just a guy you’re rooting for — the guy that’s a great player, but also a great kid.”

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