WASHINGTON,PA—It is said that stronger athletes are made in the off season, and here, locally the Grafton High School (GHS) football team has been continuously working to build a better, stronger program.
Grafton’s head coach Rich Bord shared that last week his team took a major preseason step forward when they gave an outstanding team performance in the highly regarded Washington and Jefferson seven-on-seven tournament.
The tournament was held in Washington, Pennsylvania and boasted 56 teams from dozens of schools throughout not only West Virginia, but Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well.
The Bearcats entered the tournament and were placed in a pool with 31 other schools, according to Bord, and through great drive and team work finished the morning session with a 3-0 record.
Their morning performance earned the Bearcats the number one seed ranking, as they entered the afternoon single elimination tournament.
Despite being faced with several challenges, including fatigue from the brutal mid-day heat, the Cats rallied together to advance to the semi-finals.
Grafton ultimately ended the tournament with a respectable third-place finish, with an overall record of 6-1.
Leading the Bearcats to this accomplishment was Grafton Quarter Back Tanner Moats, who displayed a great amount of selflessness in his passing game, leading the Cats on a scoring drive every possession until the semi-final game.
In additional to Moats’ stellar passing performance, Bearcats Kaden Delaney and Justin Spiker were also outstanding for the team, as the duo combined for nearly 20 touchdown catches alone.
Grafton dominated the endzone with Bearcats Aden Hartley, Daniel Bord and Cyrus Hake receiving and putting points on the board for their team; Bord noted that these scoring grabs kept defensive secondaries off balance throughout the day.
On the defensive end Moats once again a standout for the Bearcats, picking off seven opponent passes alone, and with the unity shown by the Grafton program, Moats and his teammates were able to slow the passing games of a few highly regarded schools.
With it only being June, and there still being more than two months before the Cats take to the field for the first game of the 2021 season, coach Bord was elated with his team’s performance.
“We went up there to compete on every down, and in many ways, we dominated instead,” he commented.
Bord also noted that while there were several standout players of the tournament, the finish was a product of teamwork, something that Bearcat program takes great pride in.
“Tanner had a monster tournament on both sides of the ball, but honestly he had a lot of great help,” he said. “That’s the way success is built, with great efforts from a few, but even greater efforts from those who go unnoticed to the general public, but not to the coaches. I am very proud of all of our players!”
The Grafton Bearcats are slated to open their season, on Friday, August 27, on the road against Pendleton County.