The Franklin Lions and Gunter Tigers lived up to the hype Thursday night at AT&T Stadium. The Lions proved to be too much for the Tigers as they won the 3A Division II state championship 49-35.
In a game of many highlight plays and stars players, none shined brighter than Franklin senior Running Back Malcom Murphy. Murphy had a legendary performance on the biggest stage with 280 yards rushing, 4 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions to lead the Lions to victory. He had touchdown runs of 86, 61, 59, and 34 yards. With that stat line there wasn’t any doubt about who the Offensive MVP of the game was.
If it wouldn’t have been for Murphy’s legendary performance, Running Back Bryson Washington would have been the Offensive MVP. Washington had 165 yards and 3 touchdowns of his own. His longest touchdown run was from 66 yards out. Franklin had 523 rushing and total yards, as they did not complete any of their 3 passes and they didn’t need to throw it to win.
The Lions defense held an explosive Gunter offense to only 237 of total offense and caused three interceptions. Murphy had 2 of the interceptions, while Colby Smith the Defensive MVP recorded one also. Smith had 7 tackles, and an interception. Brayden Youree and Major Kimbrough led the team in tackles with 7.5.
Gunter did have some positives in game. They had the ball game tied at 35 going into the 4th quarter, but ran out of gas and time. Texas Tech commit Hudson Graham threw 3 touchdowns passes in his final game as Tiger. Cole Lemon caught 2 touchdown passes and had a spectacular touchdown catch that was called back because of an illegal motion. Ethan Sloan had 128 all-purpose yard and 2 touchdowns (rushing/receiving).