MIDDLETON — North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie head coach Paul Worth believes this is the biggest backfield his football team has ever had.
After Saturday’s 33-8 win over Tri-County, the Bulldogs showed the rest of Division 6 that the size of their backs may not even be their biggest strength.
Tailback Ross Murphy and sophomore fullback Mike Neurnberg both bolted for long touchdown runs and, with Dan Bailey also in the mix, the Bulldogs have three backs who are all home run threats that opposing Div. 6 teams will have to defend against.
Murphy’s game-breaking ability was to be expected coming into the season, but it was Neurnberg that really opened eyes, dropped jaws and caught opposing head coach Anthony Mazzola and his Cougars off guard.
“For a young kid, he’s a big load,” Mazzola said of Nuernberg. “I didn’t think he’d be as quick as he was. We knew he was strong, but we didn’t realize he was that quick.”
After Nuernberg rushed for a 4-yard touchdown on the Bulldogs’ opening drive, Murphy broke off a 72-yard touchdown run with a nice cutback at the second level to put his club up, 13-0. Then, on the second play of the third quarter, Nuernberg took a quick dive and broke 47 yards up the middle for his second touchdown of the afternoon.
Murphy led all rushers with 165 yards on 16 carries while Nuernberg, who dragged Tri-County tacklers all afternoon, finished with 125 yards on just seven carries.
Nuernberg was just one of a handful of sophomores that stepped up in their first game action, including linemen Bryan Raustad and Brent Campbell.
“A lot of sophomores grew up today,” explained Worth. “That shows great promise. We had three sophomores on the line who did a super job. It can go either way in the first game, but now the kids have a building block.”