Sitting on the sidelines of the football field Tuesday night at Woodbury Sports Complex, 9-year-old Connor Murphy was in pain in more ways than one.
Though his left arm was in a sling, the real agony he was going through was in not being able to finish what he had started.
But, he couldn’t really complain about the result.
Murphy’s team, the Vikings, won the third- and fourth-grade Doak Walker championship, beating the Packers, 18-6.
Quarterback Murphy started the charge early, scoring the Vikings’ first touchdown in the first quarter. He then kicked off for the team and the other Vikings did the rest, swarming the ball quickly enough that they were able to regain possession.
Murphy — who completed his uniform with purple socks, and purple and yellow braces — said playing against the Packers for a third time was a good feeling, because it enabled his team to get revenge for their only loss of the season.
“It felt really good,” he said.
The Packers looked promising in the late second quarter, but numerous penalties prevented them from them gaining any momentum, particularly a holding call that nullified an 80-yard rush by 10-year-old quarterback Cale Scranton that would have been a touchdown.
The Vikings led, 12-0, at the half, but disaster struck when Murphy hurt his arm early in the third quarter, resulting in him being taken out for the rest of the game.
Minutes later, backup quarterback Chris Scherbarth, of Meeker, solidified the team’s lead by scoring a touchdown off a fake handoff, rushing 20 yards.
Scranton struck back in the fourth quarter, running in a touchdown and pulling in an interception that threatened another Packers score.
“For a second there, when they started making touchdowns, I thought we weren’t going to get it, but we did,” Scherbarth, 9, said. “We started playing a lot better.”
Joining the rest of the Vikings in a victory celebration at the end of the game, Murphy was on his feet, though still wincing from the pain in his arm.
“I feel okay now, not bad, but it still hurts,” he said. “I kind of wanted to play the third and fourth quarter since this was the last game.”
On the other side of the field, the Packers were disappointed, though coach Bo Lyons insisted they keep their heads up.
“I’m proud of you guys,” Lyons said. “You played your butts off.”
Packers tailback Riggen Myers, 8, said he had been hoping for the win, but wasn’t taking the loss too hard.
“At least we got second,” Myers said.
Murphy’s father, Calvin, was the head coach for the Vikings.
“The Packers played tough, like I knew they would. It was a good game,” he said. “All the kids played good. It was good offense and defense, and we had to work a lot to score. This is a good program, and I hope they keep it up.”