Posted: 3:14 pm Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

Dwyer’s semifinal could mark Murray’s return 

By Post Staff

Dwyer’s Class 4A state semifinal game on Friday in Tampa could mark the earlier-than-expected return of Plant quarterback Aaron Murray, who broke his leg and dislocated his ankle during a game on Oct. 16.

Murray was expected to be out for six months, but according to reports out of Tampa, he was cleared to practice by his doctor and physical therapist. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Georgia commit set the state record for touchdowns in a season last year with 51. In the four complete games and the one in which he was injured in the second quarter this season, Murray threw 28 touchdowns, 1,722 yards and four interceptions.

Plant coach Robert Weiner told the Tampa Tribune following Monday’s practice: “There was much more precision than I could ever have imagined. We had a tremendous day of practice. It took him about 10 throws. He was a little rusty on the first couple of throws and afraid to put pressure on the first couple of throws. It took him about 10 throws, then he got back in rhythm.”

After Murray’s injury, 5-foot-10, 150-pound sophomore Phillip Ely went 7-0 as Plant’s starting quarterback, throwing for 16 touchdowns, 1,444 yards and eight interceptions. He also led the Panthers past Seffner Armwood in last week’s region final, a feat Plant could not accomplish under Murray in its season opener.

Weiner told the St. Petersburg Times that they were still far from deciding whether Murray could see any playing time Friday, let alone start.