ELIZABETHTOWN — The high-school football regular season may still be a month away, but most teams have already been involved with summer workouts and regional seven-on-seven competitions.
With the opening of state-allowed football practices just one week away, East Bladen coach Robby Priest has been pleasantly surprised with how his players are approaching the upcoming season.
“They’ve been working really hard so far,” he said. “There’s already been a lot of improvement in the weightroom.”
Proof of that came this past week when the Eagles participated in the Wake Forest Seven-on-Seven State Championship, and lineman/fullback Larell Murchison, a rising senior, won the individual weightlifting competition. The 6-foot, 3-inch, 260-pounder managed 19 reps of 225 pounds.
“We’ve been emphasizing it (weightlifting), but the boys took it on themselves to work hard at getting bigger, stronger and faster,” Priest said.
He also said that “Larrell really stood out … with the weightlifting, of course, but also by playing some tight end,” Priest said. “He showed good hands and footwork for someone his size.”
He added that the Wake Forest event was an enjoyable one for players and coaches.
“It was our first time going and it was a lot of fun,” Priest said. “They had a lot of cool stuff set up, and I want to go again.”
In addition to Murchison’s weightlifting title at Wake Forest, rising junior Ethan White won the individual long-snapping competition.
“I real pleased with what I’ve seen so far,” Priest said. “Not only from the skilled positions, but along the lines as well.”
East Bladen’s star halfback, Farrell Murchison, a rising senior, was recently tabbed for the NCPreps.com Class 2-A pre-season All-State team.
As a junior, Murchison rushed for 2,029 yards on 226 carries for an average of 8.98 yards per carry. He also led the Eagles with 21 touchdowns on the ground.
Murchison added 271 receiving yards and three touchdowns last season.
Over the course of the season, Murchison racked up four 200-yard games on the ground, and had another four games of 169 yards or more.
After helping East Bladen go 6-5 during the regular season — during which the Eagles got off to a 1-5 start — Murchison rushed for 345 yards and scored three touchdowns in the two playoff games against Clinton and Southwest Onslow. All three of his scores came in the 24-21 loss to Southwest Onslow that ended the Eagles’ season at 7-6, but Murchison’s last carry of the season was a fourth-down attempt that left him a foot short of the game-winning touchdown.
After scoring five touchdowns in his first two games of the season, Murchison went four straight regular-season games without scoring a touchdown on the ground, but he finished the regular season with 13 rushing touchdowns over the final five games.