Archbishop Murphy High School in Washington doesn’t just have a good football team, it has a terrifying one. The small private school is fielding such a dominant roster in its high school 2A conference that opposing teams are forfeiting, rather than see them on the field. It’s not because they’re afraid to lose, it’s because they don’t want their players being sent to the hospital.
Archbishop Murphy’s return to prominence is relatively new. The school finished third with a 7-3 record in 2014-15, then caught fire. A 12-1 season last year has now given way to a 3-0 start to the season, in which Archbishop Murphy has outscored opponents 170-0.
The reason for Archbishop Murphy’s recent success isn’t wholly known. They hired a new coach in 2013 which helped propel them, but also the school has the benefit of a mammoth recruiting area that is vastly larger than its opponents’. Their players are vastly larger too, and that’s the concern. Granite Falls were set to play Archbishop Murphy this week, and forfeited. A parent of a Granite Falls player supported the decision.
"We can't put our 5-foot-8, 125-pound quarterback up against their nose tackle who happens to be 6 feet 5 inches and weighs over 330 pounds. He's going to put that kid in the hospital."
It was a sentiment echoed by Granite Falls head coach Tim Dennis.
"It's not that we're afraid to play the game, it's an injury issue. Because of the size disparity between the linemen. They have 300-pound linemen. And we have sophomores that are weight 210, 220 pounds and starting on varsity. So that's the issue, is the size disparity."
This is the problem of the 2A division in Washington. Archbishop Murphy is able to steamroll through smaller schools in their conference before eventually running into much tougher competition in the state championships. Last year the school made it to the semifinals before being knocked out by Tumwater High School. It’s unclear how this year’s roster will fare given it’s littered with players who are already being recruited by major college football programs.
Archbishop Murphy isn’t happy with these forfeits either. On Friday head coach Jerry Jensen appeared on ESPN’s Outside the Lines to explain his team’s predicament, and hopes the Washington Interscholastic Athletics Association (WIAA) will change things.
Teams are forfeiting games rather than play against Archbishop Murphy High School. Their head coach's thoughts on the forfeits: pic.twitter.com/qXV98AUVZR— Outside The Lines (@OTLonESPN) October 7, 2016
The WIAA hasn’t said much about Archbishop Murphy’s situation, other than saying they will examine the 2017 football schedule.