CHATSWORTH -- Before its victory last Friday night, the Murray County High School football program went 680 days without a win.
They weren't willing to wait even another week for their next one.
In a special edition of Thursday night high school football, Murray County rolled past the Southeast Whitfield Raiders 28-14 on the legs of junior running back Cade Petty, who had three touchdowns and 244 yards of total offense, for the Indians' first 2-0 start since 2016.
The win had extra meaning for Murray County coach Chad Brewer, a Southeast graduate who also coached at his alma mater. He's friends with many of the Southeast coaches and wished them nothing but the best for the rest of the season, saying, "I love Southeast, and I hope they win the rest of them, but I'm definitely glad we won this one."
But his focus was on the Indians and their undefeated start to 2019.
"It feels ...," Brewer said before pausing for a moment. "All right, these guys have worked so hard since November and it's showing. They play so hard, they never give up. I've been coaching for 19 years, almost 20 years, and I've never had a team play so hard the whole game. I mean it's every play."
The teams went back and forth for a scoreless first half. On the first play of the second half, Petty took a pitch from quarterback Kaleb Jones and raced untouched for an 81-yard touchdown run. The scoring didn't continue until Southeast responded with a touchdown with 1:38 left in the third quarter as running back AJ Miller ran in from two yards out. The teams were tied 7-7 going into the fourth quarter.
That's when the scoring picked up.
On fourth and goal from Southeast's 11-yard line early in the fourth quarter, Brewer made the gutsy call to go for it. And instead of relying on a running play from his wishbone offense, the Indians went to the air. Jones found Petty in the back of the end zone on an expertly thrown fade pass. The extra point extended the Indians' lead to 14-7. The Indians led 20-7 after another Jones touchdown pass, this time a 42-yarder to tight end Brannon Nuckolls.
Southeast didn't quit. Raiders running back Henry Vassel ran around right end for an 11-yard touchdown, and the extra point pulled Southeast to within six, 20-14, with 2:57 left in the fourth quarter.
But the Petty show continued. As Murray looked to run out the clock, Petty got loose around the right end for a 42-yard touchdown. After the two-point conversion Murray led 28-14 for good.
"It's a great feeling, man," said Petty, who had 177 yards rushing. "It's a great team win and I love sharing it with my guys. A lot of hard work we put in over the summer, it's just a great feeling."
Southeast coach Sean Gray was disappointed in the loss, which dropped his team to 0-2, but he did see some bright spots.
"The kids played hard, they fought until the very end," Gray said. "We responded, we didn't lay down and got another score to make it 20-14, the onside kick looked like it would go either way for a while. I loved our fight."
The Raiders travel to Coahulla Creek (0-1) next Friday night, while the Indians have a bye before playing at Lakeview Fort-Oglethorpe.