Late field goal lifts Bearcats over East Fairmont Bees

FAIRMONT – The Grafton High School football team (1-1) headed to Fairmont last Friday night in hopes of returning to Grafton with their first win of the season. In order to get this win, the Cats had to defeat a very hungry East Fairmont team who was also looking for their first win in this young 2017 season. The Bees scored first but in many cases, it’s who scores last that determines the outcome of the game. This was the case on Friday night as the Bearcats defeated the Bees 10—9.

With 15.7 seconds left in the contest, first-year kicker, junior Gabe Wolverton, came into the game to attempt a 40-yard field goal. The stadium seemed still and motionless as the snap came back from senior Dominic Lough into the hands of holder Braeden Nose, but just seconds later the GHS crowd went crazy as Wolverton’s kick went through the uprights to give the Cats a one point lead.

“I am very proud of both of our kickers tonight as they both stepped in and did what we ask of them,” said head coach Rich Bord. “We knew Gabe had the leg from that distance but we also need to thank the guys up front for giving him the time he needed to get the ball off the tee,” he added.

The first score of the game for the Bees came in the second quarter as Dom Postlewait connected with Ross Ridgeway from 19 yards out. The kicked failed which proved to be a difference in this game. The next score for the Bees came moments later as Aiden Slussler hit a field goal as time expired in the second quarter. The Bees scores came in the last three minutes of the first half.

The second half seemed to be all Bearcats as the defense seemed to take over the game. The Bees had several negative-yard plays in the third quarter and even put the ball on the turf for the Bearcats to recover. The fumble was recovered by Lough on the East Fairmont 47 yard line.

The Bearcat offense seemed to come alive with the “sudden change” turn over and moved the ball deep into Bees territory. On fourth down from the13-yard line Garrett Wellman connected with his favorite target, Mickey Casseday, for a 13-yard strike. Ally Peters came in to add the extra point to bring her Cat’s team to within 2 points of the Bees.

The score remained the same going into the fourth quarter as the Bees had a golden opportunity to put the game in doubt with a 30-yard field goal late in the fourth. The GHS defense stepped up once again as senior Colton Moats broke through the line to block the field goal attempt giving the ball back to the Bearcats.

The Bearcats drove the ball into East Fairmont territory but then as has happened numerous times this season the offense began to sputter once they cross the 50-yard line. The Cats turned the ball over to the Bees on downs.

The defense once again held the Bees on three plays and forced the Bees to punt. Junior Caleb Bish then came up with the second big special teams play in the quarter as he came off the edge and blocked the Bees punt giving the ball to the Cats on the 35-yard line. The blocked punt was recovered by senior Dylan Pettit.

“We played very good on special teams and came up with some big plays,” said Bord.

The Cats seemed to break away from their red zone woes as Wellman keep the ball and ran for 16 yards on the first play. Then the woes took over again as the Bearcats had two false start penalties and only gained three more yards on the next three plays. This, however, set up what proved to be the game winning field goal by Wolverton from 40 yards out.

“It was a ton of pressure,” said first-year kicker Gabe Wolverton. “I just had to calm my nerves and just kick the way I have practiced all summer. I would say that this is one of my top ten most exciting moments since I started playing sports. This is something new for me as this is my first year kicking, but I love it,” he added.

The Bees had one final attempt, but it was denied when Bish intercepted a pass on the Bearcat 20 yard line.

Bish was once again the leading rusher for the Bearcats as he rushed for 65 yards followed by Pettit with 33 yards. The remaining rushing yards came from Wellman (16) and Moats (2).

Mickey Casseday was the leading receiver with two catches for 59 yards followed by Pettit with two catches for 12 yards. Bish recorded one catch for two yards and Moats had two catches for negative eight yards.

In the air for the Cats, Wellman was eight of thirteen for 65 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“Our kids stepped up when they had to and I believe that this win will go a long way down the road to build confidence for these young players,” said Bord. “We blocked better and tackled better tonight and I’m just so proud of them. We told them at halftime that we believed in them and if they started believing in themselves good things will happen. I believe that what happened here tonight,” he added.

The Bearcats will be back in action this Friday night as they will host Petersburg at 7:00 PM at McKinney Field.

© 2018-Mountain Statesman

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