GRAFTON—With just 22 players making the trip to Taylor County for Grafton’s Homecoming game on Friday, the Northern Garrett (MD) Huskies played like a team much bigger, mixing up their offense with a combination of runs and passes and a utilizing a stout defense to shut out the Bearcats by the score of 27-0 at McKinney Field.
“That’s by far the best football team we’ve played all season,” said Grafton head coach Rich Bord. “They had speed on the edge, they ran the ball extremely hard, and they’re an extremely athletic team. They’ll be a playoff team in Maryland this season.”
On the first series of the game, the Huskies broke off a nice 34-yard run to move the ball deep into Grafton territory, but the Bearcats would hold and force a turnover on downs.
After a three-and-out by the Bearcats, Northern would again enter Bearcat territory, only to fumble on their sixth play in the drive. After another Bearcat three-and-out, Northern would finally capitalize on their next possession, breaking off a 56-yard touchdown run with just over three minutes to go in the 1st quarter to bring the score to 6-0 after a Northern missed extra point.
After trading possessions on the next two series with neither team scoring, the quarter would come to a close with Grafton down by six points.
In the second quarter, the teams again traded possessions until a Joey Dingeldein punt was blocked by the Huskies and returned for a touchdown with 7:43 left in the second quarter.
The Huskies would convert the ensuing two-point conversion to extend their lead to two touchdowns, 14-0. On the very next series for Northern, they would use a combination of running plays to ultimately punch the ball into the endzone from the Grafton 3-yard line.
After a successful extra point, the Huskies would lead 21-0.
The Bearcats would bring in sophomore quarterback Tanner Moats to relieve senior starter Logan Beltner, and after Moats completed two passes to senior athlete Dillon Williams, the drive would end with a Moats fumble, recovered by the Huskies on the NHS 44-yard line. Northern would throw an interception on the drive, however, compliments of Grafton senior Braeden Nose.
After a couple of Moats pass completions, the Bearcats would again punt, but another interception, this time by Grafton sophomore Kaden Delaney, would keep the first half score at 21-0.
In the third quarter, the teams traded possessions and after neither team was able to put points on the scoreboard, the Bearcats would trail 21-0 to begin the fourth and final quarter.
A Northern drive to start the fourth would chew up much of the beginning of the quarter, and after getting the ball back from the Bearcats after a stalled drive, Northern would score their last touchdown of the night, a 27-yard run with 5:11 left in the contest.
After a failed extra-point attempt, the score would end at 27-0 in favor of the visiting Huskies.
When asked about his team’s inability to get much going offensively, Bord stated, “We had not seen that kind of pressure out of a front four all season. The defensive ends they had came off the edge so dang hard that is just made it difficult to get anything going.”
Bord also admitted that recent injuries his team is facing is becoming harder and harder to overcome.
“We’ve got a lot of kids banged up and that really limits what we can do,” Bord went on to say. “Tonight, we were down to running two sophomores and a freshman in the backfield. And playing a team like that, it’s pretty tough. But I told our team after the game that as frustrating as it is right now, we just aren’t going to quit. We just have to keep working and getting better.”
The Bearcats will be back in action on Friday as they head down I-79 to the town of Clay to take on the Clay County Panthers (3-2).
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.