GRAFTON—After having their first football game of the season taken away from them due to the current pandemic, the Grafton Bearcats were given the green light to go ahead play their next opponent, East Fairmont, at McKinney Field last night, since both schools were safely within the state’s metrics of permissible county cases for extracurricular activities.
Behind senior QB Blake Moores’s 87 yards rushing (including a touchdown) and two passing touchdowns, the Bearcats avenged last season’s loss by shutting out the Bees, 20-0.
It was Senior Night for the GHS football players, band members and cheerleaders, and in front of immediate family and essential personnel only, the Bearcats delivered, moving to 1-0 on a season that many people didn’t expect to happen.
“We came out and established the run early, and had we not made a couple of silly mistakes, I’m not sure what might have happened, we may have opened it up early,” said Grafton head coach Rich Bord. “Overall, I thought the kids played well and played hard for four quarters. What we expected was what it came down to. The offensive line did their job and we were able to make some plays.”
The Bearcats moved the ball well to start the contest, marching down the field on 14 plays of mostly runs while chewing up a large portion of the clock. The drive was capped off by 9-yard rushing touchdown by Moore with 5:24 left in the first quarter to put the Bearcats up 6-0 after a failed extra point attempt.
Grafton’s defense would hold East Fairmont on their first offensive possession, but a costly Grafton penalty would give the Bees a fresh set of downs. The next series would stall and East Fairmont would eventually turn the ball over on downs.
The Bearcats would attempt an option play on their next offensive series but the pitch would be fumbled with the Bees recovering as the first quarter winded down. Another stalled East Fairmont drive would allow Grafton to regain possession and move the ball down the field with a series of runs and passes. The drive would ultimately end with Moore finding junior Shane Moran in the end zone for a 9-yard score to put the Bearcats up 13-0 with 5:32 left in the half after a successful extra point. That score would stand heading into the locker room for halftime.
To start the third quarter, East Fairmont would make it all the way down to the Bearcats’ 14-yard line, but a snap over Bees’ quarterback Clay Hershberger’s head would be recovered by Grafton’s Arron Barker. That drive would stall however and after trading possessions once again, the Bearcats would head into the final quarter still leading 13-0.
In the fourth, the Bearcats would tack on their third and final score, a 3-yard pass from Moore to junior wide receiver Kaden Delaney to seal the Bees’ fate and send the Bearcats to a 1-0 record.
On the night, Moore finished 4-for-11 passing with 65 yards and two touchdowns, but he was most dangerous on his feet, rushing for 87 yards on 12 carries and adding another touchdown.
“Having Blake in that leadership role, he made some great decisions,” said Bord. “ I just told him to enjoy the weekend and come back next week ready to start all over again.”
In addition to Moore’s yardage on the ground, junior running backs Eli Shumaker and James Hoskins also added 38 and 28 yards, respectively, to the total, while Delaney (34/1), Moran (12/1), and Justin Spiker (19) led the receiving corps.
Next up for Grafton was supposed to be Lincoln next Friday, but due to a positive COVID-19 case within their program, that game has now been canceled.
The Bearcats are currently looking for a team to possibly fill that spot.
“We’ll go anywhere and play just about anybody, it just all depends on the COVID situation,” Bord added. “If not, we’ve got a lot of things to correct in two weeks as we get ready for South Harrison.”