High school football: Connor Murdock lifts Pine View to comeback victory

By Andy Griffin

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Oct. 15 2010 12:34 a.m. MDT

ST. GEORGE — Down 10-0 at halftime, the Pine View Panthers desperately needed a lift. That's when Connor Murdock stepped up and led his team to victory.

"He came out and said 'Give me the ball. I am ready to lead us to victory,' " said Pine View assistant coach Telly Esplin, after his team pulled out a 14-10 win over the Snow Canyon Warriors. "He leads by example."

Murdock caught 11 passes for 154 yards and a crucial touchdown, as the Panthers shut out the Warriors in the second half.

Sophomore Prentiss Miller caught a swing pass and juked a defender to score the game-winning touchdown from 10 yards out with 22 seconds left in the game.

Pine View, 5-3 overall and 3-2 in Region 9, dominated the second half, doubling up Snow Canyon in yardage.

With that 10-point deficit, the Panthers needed a big drive to start the second half, and that's exactly what they got. Pine View marched 68 yards on nine plays, with Murdock finally getting his team on the board with 8:10 left in the third quarter.

It was a game marred by 26 penalties and 250 combined penalty yards. Those miscues kept both teams from getting any kind of offense moving in the second half.

The Panthers finally took over at their own 20-yard line with 1:51 to play. Seventy yards later, Pine View had a first down at the 10-yard line, but with only 30 seconds left on the clock.

With the Warriors blitzing hard, Alec Mecham found Miller on the swing pass, and the young running back made a scintillating deke move to leave the defender empty-handed.

The last five yards were unmolested for Miller, who also had 81 rushing yards in the game.

The winning TD was set up on a beautiful tiptoe catch on the sideline for Murdock on third-and-long. It was the last of his 11 catches in the game.

"He's a special kid," Pine View assistant Dale Stott said. "He wants the ball when the game is on the line. I've not seen a receiver like him since I've been at Pine View. He's a playmaker."

Austin Larsen was the star for the Warriors, who fell to 3-3 in Region 9 and 3-6 overall. Snow Canyon's playoff hopes are faint, as the Warriors need 2-6 Dixie to beat Pine View next week to create a tie situation.

Larsen had 130 rushing yards, but only 26 after the halftime break as the Panthers bottled up the Snow Canyon offense throughout the third and fourth quarters.

Meacham finished the night with 188 passing yards and also rushed for 48 yards in leading his team to the crucial win.

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