LEWIS COUNTY—Although the 2019 football season had quickly spiraled out of control for the Grafton Bearcats, they still had the opportunity to finish out the year on a high note, traveling to Weston on Friday for a Big 10 matchup against the Lewis County Minutemen.
Grafton came into the game having dropped eight in a row after a Week 1 defeat of rival Philip-Barbour. Lewis County came into the contest having dropped two of their last three and needing a win to secure an AA playoff spot.
The game was close throughout, but a big play by Minutemen quarterback Jaycob Smith with approximately two minutes to go gave the home team just enough of a lead to hang on and secure the victory by the score of 26-13.
Smith almost scored on the previous drive but a penalty negated the touchdown and brought the ball back. This time he again broke left and raced down the sideline for a 42-yard score, putting the Minutemen up by 12 with just a few minutes left in the contest.
Lewis County struck first blood in the game, as Smith hit junior RB Isaac Probst on a 62-yard pass play on just their second play from scrimmage. Smith would run in the two-point conversion to put the Minutemen up by the score of 8-0. Grafton would also score in the first quarter, putting together a 13-play drive that was capped off by a Dillon Williams three-yard TD run. After an unsuccessful two-point conversion, the Bearcats would find themselves down 8-6.
That score would hold true heading into the locker room at halftime and the Bearcats feeling pretty good about themselves.
In the third quarter, Lewis County was able to keep Grafton off the board while adding a 33-yard field goal by senior kicker Jared Griffith to extend their lead to five, 11-6.
In the fourth, Lewis County would score on a Dylan Wright 12-yard run to make it a 12-point game, 18-6, before Grafton would get on the board with a Dillon Williams’ two-yard TD run to bring the Bearcats to within five, 18-13, with 3:48 left in the fourth quarter.
The Minutemen would score twice in the final two minutes to preserve the victory and secure their playoff spot.
Williams would finish his last game as a Bearcat with 114 yards on 23 carries and a pair of touchdowns. Sophomore running back James Hoskins would have an excellent game on the ground as well for Grafton, accounting for 91 yards.
Lewis County (7-3) finishes as the #15 team in AA and would draw #2 Bridgeport (9-1) in the 1st Round of the WV AA playoffs. That game will be held this Friday at Wayne Jamison Field in Bridgeport.
Grafton finishes the year (1-9) and has now missed the postseason for an eighth consecutive season. Their last playoff win was the state championship victory over Magnolia in the 2008 AA title game at Wheeling Island Stadium.