GRAFTON—On a cold, crisp night at McKinney Field on Friday, the Grafton Bearcats football team looked to spoil a potential perfect season by the visiting Oak Glen Golden Bears, who brought a 9-0 record with them from Hancock County.
The Golden Bears utilized a “bend-but-don’t-break defense,” coupled with a controlled offense and dynamic special teams’ play, to defeat the Bearcats by the score of 57-10 on Senior Night for the Bearcats.
Oak Glen won the coin toss and opted to receive the ball to begin the contest. GHS senior Joey Dingeldein kicked off to the Golden Bears, who would return the ball to their own 22-yard line. After a 19-yard pass on their first play from scrimmage, the Golden Bears would run the ball seven times in a row, capped off by a Paxton Shuman 14-yard TD run to put the visitors up 7-0 after a successful PAT.
On the next series, Grafton would use a steady 13-play drive to move the ball from their own 26–yard line to the Oak Glen 11. Grafton would have to settle for a Dingeldein field goal to bring the Bearcats to within four, 7-3.
On the ensuing kickoff, Oak Glen’s Gage Patterson would hit pay dirt, breaking off a 90-yard return for a TD to put the Golden Bears up 14-3 after a successful PAT.
The Golden Bears would then reel off 32 straight points, all on runs, before Grafton would find the end zone again with 9:32 left in the 4th quarter. Sophomore quarterback Tanner Moats would hit senior WR Hunter Simmons on a 7-yard pass play to make the score 45-10 before Oak Glen would tack on two more scores, bringing the final score to 57-10 in favor of the visitors.
Moats would finish the contest by completing 17 of his 31 pass attempts for 178 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions, while Simmons would lead all Bearcat receivers with 54 yards and a touchdown on six receptions. Also adding to the receiving yardage was Kaden Delaney (5-49), Justin Spiker (3-48), and Braeden Nose (4-27). On the ground, the Grafton rushing attack had a hard time getting going for much of the contest, gaining less than 40 total yards in the game.
“There were times tonight when we kind of shot ourselves in the foot with plays that we either made or we didn’t make,” said a frustrated GHS head coach Rich Bord. “But it’s been the same thing it’s been for the last couple of weeks. A lot of our older kids are hurt or banged up and that’s forcing us to play some younger kids that just don’t have enough experience to be playing on Friday nights. I will say this though, our kids have continued to play hard. They have not quit, and I am proud of them for that.”
The Bearcats (1-8) will conclude their regular season next Friday when they travel to Weston to take on the Lewis County Minutemen (6-3). The Bearcats again have a chance to play the spoiler role as Lewis County currently sits at #16 in the AA rankings and a Grafton win would more than likely keep the Minutemen from making the postseason.
“We’re in a position where we could ruin their season,” stated Bord. “If we can get back and get healthy enough that we can make some positive things happen, then we’ll see. It’s just tough when you’re as banged up and hurt as we are.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00pm from Minutemen Field in South Weston.