Although mountainous passing numbers weren't produced, Murphy and his Green Wave teammates did more than enough to down the Bulldogs on Friday night, 28-6.
"He's a cool customer," Portageville head coach Ronnie Jones said about Murphy. "He got rattled a couple of times, because we got a few good licks on him, but it didn't affect his performance whatsoever. He's a good athlete, he's young and he's going to be a force to be reckoned with the next couple of years.
"I'm not looking forward to it to be honest."
Murphy finished with 149 passing yards on 10-of-19 passing and three touchdowns. The majority of his yards came in the first half when the Green Wave quickly put themselves in the driver's seat.
Malden stormed out of the gate with two quick touchdowns in the first five minutes of play. Murphy's first touchdown pass was a 59-yarder to a wide open Quentin Jackson on a third-and-12 situation after just 1:27 had ticked off the clock.
"That was something we worked on during the week," Malden head coach Joel Wyatt said. "I kind of thought it would be there and sure enough we got the look that we thought we'd get and Murphy threw a beautiful ball, got Quentin right in stride and it was pretty."
After Portageville's first possession ended with a punt, Jackson scooted past the Bulldogs coverage on the punt return and was finally brought down at Portageville's 11-yard line where Murphy found Jackson again for Malden's second touchdown.
With 7:23 left in the first quarter, Portageville found themselves in an early hole, 13-0.
Although quickly down by two scores, the Bulldogs (2-2) drove the field in three minutes time to push through for their only score of the night. A 2-yard run by Fred Treadwell cut the Green Wave lead to 13-8 after back-up quarterback Mason Kellams found Treadwell for the 2-point conversion.
Beginning the second quarter and down by five, Portageville gained possession of the ball with 11:05 left until the break. After 14-plays and seven minutes ticked away, the Bulldogs' drive suddenly stalled at the Malden 24-yard line. Portageville was as close as the 9-yard line, but a false start penalty and a 5-yard loss pushed the home team back. An incomplete pass to Isaac Ray from quarterback Caden Robbins ended Portageville's promising drive before the half.
"I think the turning point was pretty obvious," said Jones. "We got the ball down in the red zone just before half and we just didn't put it away. I'll take responsibility for that. A lot of times you get to thinking about what number to call and we were kind of out of sync."
Portageville went into the half down by five points. Murphy passed for 119 of his 149 yards in the first two quarters.
"At halftime, they had two yards rushing and I think about 112 passing," said Jones. "So, it wasn't a secret on what they were having success with. We had some people that were out of position and burned us."
The score would remain the same until the third quarter when a Portageville fumble was immediately capitalized on with Murphy's third touchdown pass of the night to Jordan McMunn from 15-yards out.
Portageville's only turnover came just a play after quarterback Caden Robbins went down with an ankle injury and was helped off the field. Two plays later, Malden went up 20-8.
"All fairness to (Kellams), he takes as many snaps as Caleb every day," Jones said. "Everybody thinks it was our quarterback where it could have been our center. It's not a given what exactly happened there.
"It was pretty obvious when Caden wasn't in there, regardless of what the circumstances were, we fell off a little bit. I think some of our kids lost some of their momentum because they were afraid they were going to get behind.
"Eventually, that's what happened."
Malden (3-1) soon closed the book on the Bulldogs in the third quarter when Ray Wilson took to the end zone on a 39-yard touchdown run. Wilson's scamper was the most damage done to the Bulldogs' rush defense as they held the Green Wave to 58 yards on the ground.
Murphy's consistent and effective passing is what did the Bulldogs in.
"It's been a little bit of a surprise," Wyatt said about his team's passing being more effective than their run. "But you got to play to your strengths and right now we're not very effective running the ball in between the tackles and when you got a guy like Murphy back there, you gotta play to his strengths."
Portageville, however, dominated the ground game. Treadwell led the Bulldogs' attack with 137 yards on 20 carries. As a team, they ran for 189 total yards and finished with 209 yards. Robbins ended his night as quarterback on 2-of-5 passing for 17 yards. Kellams went 4-of-6 for three yards.
M -- Quentin Jackson 59 pass from Tanner Murphy (Kyle Lemarr kick), 10:33.
M -- Jackson 11 pass from Murphy (kick blocked), 7:23.
P -- Fred Treadwell 2 run (Treadwell pass from Mason Kellams), 4:22.
M -- Jordan McMunn 15 pass from Murphy (Lemarr kick), 9:36.
M -- Ray Wilson 39 run (Lemarr kick), 0:58.
Malden -- Percy Johnson 4-13, Ray Wilson 3-52, Kyle Lemarr 3-1, Patrick Wilson 3-(-2), Tanner Murphy 3-(-8), Justen Rowe 2-1. Portageville -- Fred Treadwell 20-137, Caden Robbins 5-11, Jeremy Jones 11-41, Tevin Walker 2-1, Dominique Walker 1-4, Daniel Allen 1-(-5).
Malden -- Tanner Murphy 10-19-0 149. Portageville -- Caden Robbins 2-5-0 17, Mason Kellams -- 4-6-0 3.
Malden -- Patrick Wilson 4-27, Quentin Jackson 3-77, Jordan McMunn 2-42, Percy Johnson 1-3. Portageville -- Tevin Walker 2-9, Isaac Ray 4-11.