Former Gibbons standout is the BTC Coach of the Week

by Gary Adornato

Winning football and Lansdowne High School have not been synonymous for the last decade and maybe even longer, but early in the 2018 football season the Vikings are enjoying the view of being 3-1, coming off a 21-0 shutout of Baltimore County rival Sparrows Point last weekend.

Shaun Murphy, now in his fifth season as the team’s head coach came on board in 2014 with a task of turning around a squad which had lost 30 consecutive games. He went 3-7 that first fall, but limited numbers caused them to slip to 1-8 the following year and 0-10 in 2016. The Vikings, however, progressed last fall, going 3-7 once again and are already had three wins in 2018, earning Murphy recognition as this week’s Baltimore Touchdown Coach of the Week.

With only 22 men on his roster, Murphy is counting on guys to go both ways and several had big nights in the win over Sparrows Point.

Senior Jerald Hurt rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns, while also leading the secondary from his safety position. Hurt also was 3-for-3 on extra-point attempts as the Vikings’ place-kicker.

Senior Marcus Sessoms rushed for two scores as the team’s quarterback and then record two sacks from his defensive end slot. In addition, sophomore Nico Ares was a cog on the offensive line and had two key defensive stops.

Senior WR/DB Chris Jones had multiple receptions in the game for key first downs, while the rest of the offensive linemen, which included junior Ryan Rent, junior Brandon Nguyen, senior Anthony Brown, senior Brian Nguyen, and senior Jeremy Mercer were the game’s “biggest stars,” according to Murphy, who once starred as an offensive lineman at Cardinal Gibbons School in Baltimore.

“It has been at least over ten years or more since our varsity football program has been off to this kind of start,” said Murphy, who began coaching in 2005 with the Severn Seminoles. In 2008, he moved to high school for the first time, coaching the JV football team at Gibbons before getting the Lansdowne opportunity in 2014.

“It means the world to me, but not because I am recognized, it is for my athletes that I have coached,” said Murphy of the . “Everything I do, and I do a great deal for my program, is for my athletes. We have some of the best, most unique students in all of Baltimore County, and I am privileged to be the football coach at a high school like this.

“I have some amazing student athletes that I have coached over the past five seasons. These student athletes have gone on to college, military service, and trade school and I could not be more proud of them. That is why we, as a program, have rallied around the concept of ‘Family.’ It is this concept that all my current players buy into, and they play for each other. This is the biggest factor in why we are successful as we are as a team this season.”

Murphy’s emotion was evident as he continued.

“I have been building this program and trying to engrain this ‘Family’ concept into the program for five years. I took the program over when we were 0-30. We had not experienced a win in three years until I took the program over. My first year we went 3-7 because my athletes bought into the ‘Family’ concept. So, this does mean the world to me to be recognized, but again it is for everyone to see the amazing student athletes we have in this school and in my football program, and I could not be more proud of all the past and present athletes from my program.”

Of course, joining Murphy in this effort are his assistant coaches, with whom he shares the honor.

“My defensive coordinator, Jerald Hurt Sr., has been critical to our defensive success and to all of our athletes buying into what we are doing this season,” said Murphy. “My line coach is Brett Sanders he is the reason the line has been so successful, which in turn is why the offense has been so successful this season. My head JV coach Anthony Floyd, his assistant coach Kyle Clark, and his line coach Zak Shaw have also been critical in making sure that on JV and varsity we have been one unified program, moving foward in our success. Every coach listed is in their first year with the program.”

Murphy is also a big fan of the Baltimore Touchdown Club, which he has been touched by from his days as player through his time as a coach.

“The BTC has been critical in the success of promoting high school football and helping football athletes in our area,” stated Murphy. “From the time I was a high school athlete up to the present day as a coach, the BTC helps promote the sport so well. The Super 22 and the BIG 33 are teams that every athlete in the area aspires to play on. This organization provides coaches with a voice through their meetings and the ability to discuss important topics with other area coaches. I am extremely grateful that we have an organization like this to help our coaches and athletes in our area.”