WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Star News saw something The Fayetteville Observer missed: the spectacular season that East Bladen running back Farrell Murchison put together on the gridiron.
Murchison’s last Christmas gift was being named to the Star News’ All-Area Football First Team.
The Eagles’ junior joined a backfield that included running back Marcellias Sutton from James Kenan, a N.C. State recruit and MVP from the Class 1-AA state finals; running back Terrin Manning of Whiteville; along with quarterback Randy Clark of North Brunswick.
Murchison led the region in rushing with 2,039 yards and 21 touchdowns on 226 carries. He also caught 14 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns.
“Farrell is a workhorse on the field and in the weight room who is an even better person off the field,” said East Bladen football coach Robby Priest. “He comes from two hardworking parents who have done an outstanding job raising him to be a pleasure to coach.”
Murchison opened the season with a bang, rushing for 207 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries in a 58-56 shootout loss at Fairmont. His next huge game came in 46-6 win over Pender County on homecoming, when he ran for 196 yards and two scores on 13 carries.
After a mediocre game against Heidi Trask, Murchison exploded for three straight 200-yard rushing games — the first against then-undefeated Wallace-Rose Hill, when he ran for 203 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries in a 36-28 win; then rushed for his best total of the season, 240 yards and four scores on 17 carries in a 36-6 win over Union; and finally a 206-yard, two-touchdown night on 23 carries during a 28-7 win over West Bladen.
In the Class 2-A state playoffs, Murchison rushed for 172 yards on 22 carries in a 14-7 win over Clinton, then 173 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries in a 27-24 loss to Southwest Onslow.
East Bladen’s Jaylan Herring was listed as an offensive honorable mention to the all-area team. Herring rushed for 1,283 yards and 14 touchdowns on 228 carries for the Eagles.
Also, East Bladen offensive lineman Larrell Murchison was named to the all-area’s honorable mention team, as was defensive lineman Alex Stephens.
West Bladen linebacker Ed Owens was named to the all-area’s honorable mention team.
Other Four County Conference players named to the Star News’ all-area team were:
— Wallace-Rose Hill offensive lineman Walker Imwalle, first team
— Wallace-Rose Hill offensive lineman Bryan McAlister, second team
— Wallace-Rose Hill running back Alex Lisane, honorable mention
— Heidi Trask running back Cameron Carr, honorable mention
— Pender County offensive lineman Jordan Rowell, honorable mention
— Heidi Trask offensive lineman Andrew Zachman, honorable mention.
— Wallace-Rose Hill defensive lineman Dijon Kenan, first team
— Wallace-Rose Hill defensive back Johnnie Glaspie, first team
— Wallace-Rose Hill lineback Roddric Newton, honorable mention
— Wallace-Rose Hill kicker/punter Yahir Cano, honorable mention
Other area players named to the Star News’ all area team:
— Whiteville kicker Gerardo Maggioli, first team
— East Columbus running back Nick McClure, second team
— South Columbus Dashaun Daniels, second team
— North Brunswick offensive lineman Joe Johnson, second team
— Whiteville athlete Tyquan McDougald, second team
— West Brunswick quarterback Dylan Darguzus, honorable mention
— Harrells running back Sammy Davis, honorable mention
— North Brunswick running back Shak Graham, honorable mention
— West Brunswick tight end/receiver Quinlyn Moore, honorable mention
— East Columbus tight end/receiver Elijah Gresham, honorable mention
— South Brunswick offensive lineman Corbin Bruton, honorable mention
— West Brunswick offensive lineman Josh Dispirito, honorable mention
— South Columbus offensive lineman Gage McPherson, honorable lineman
— North Brunswick defensive lineman Jabril Robinson, first team
— South Columbus defensive back Reggie Frink, first team
— West Brunswick kick returner Sean Hewett, first team
— South Brunswick punter Nicklaus Beecroft, first team
— South Brunswick defensive lineman Malik Douglas, second team
— North Brunswick defensive lineman Evin Bellamy, second team
— Whiteville linebacker Garrett Wilson, second team
— South Columbus defensive back Sammy Dixon, second team
— Harrells defensive back Kelly Nelms, second team
— North Brunswick Kevon Perkins, second team
— West Brunswick linebacker Zarie Hankins, honorable mention
— North Brunswick linebacker Dominique Blanks, honorable mention
— Whiteville defensive back Aljere Adama, honorable mentio.