GRAFTON—The Grafton High School football team hosted the Lincoln Cougars last Friday night at McKinney Field. The Bearcats found themselves down late in the fourth quarter during their Homecoming game, but the boys would not give up. The Bearcats used their last drive of the contest to defeat the Cougars 10 to7.
The first half was back and forth as both team moved the ball at will until they crossed the fifty yard line. The defenses and penalties would stop any momentum that either team could gain.
The first score of the contest came late in the second quarter when senior Gabe Wolverton connected on a 36 yard field goal to put the Bearcats up 3 to 0 going into the locker room at halftime.
After the half time festivities were over and senior soccer standout Morgan Griffith was crowned homecoming queen both team returned to the field.
When the Cats returned to the field they had a different look as starting quarterback Garrett Wellman was not leading from his usual position. Wellman was actually injured late in the first half as he was hit out of bounds by a Cougar defender. With Wellman out for the second half the quarterback job was handed to sophomore Blake Moore. Moore had actually run the last series for GHS during the second quarter when Wellman had to be taken out.
Both offenses continued to drive the ball as they did in the first half but neither team could punch it in the end zone. At the end of three quarters it was still 3 to 0 in favor of the home standing Bearcats.
Early in the fourth quarter the Cougars finally put together a sustained drive and score on a five yard touchdown run.
Now it was up to the Bearcats to answer the call. The Cats took possession of the ball on their side of the field and calmly drove the ball down the field. The Cats used some brilliant running from senior Caleb Bish and some pinpoint passes from Blake Moore to take the ball well into Lincoln territory. The majority of Moore’s passes were connecting over the middle to senior wide-out Justin Whitehair.
The Cats were setting where they wanted to be as they had first down on the Lincoln side of the field. Once again the offense sputtered and on third down Coach Rich Bord was forced to take a timeout.
On the very next play Moore faked the handoff to Bish and kept the ball and headed to the right for a 17 yard gain and a first down. Moore wasted no time as on the very next play he once again hit Whitehair over the middle, but this time it was for a 13 yard touchdown strike with less than 1:20 to play.
“I was a little nervous coming in the game at quarterback,” said sophomore Blake Moore. “I had seen that the counter was open a few times when I handed the ball to Caleb and no one stayed with me. So I told Coach Bord during the timeout that the counter was open and I could get the first down,” Moore added.
“You have to trust a kid like Blake,” said offensive coordinator Mickey Foley. “We know these kids are going to make plays for us and we need them to trust that we as coaches are doing the right things to help us win ball games.”
Wolverton then came on to make the point after to give the Bearcats a 10 to 7 lead and eventually the win.
The Cougars had one last attempt at the Bearcat end zone, but Braeden Nose intercepted the Hail Mary pass to seal the deal for GHS.
“Blake stepped in tonight and did a tremendous job as if he had been the starter the entire ballgame,” said head coach Rich Bord. “He never lost his cool during the game, in fact, he was the one who called the counter down near the goal line that gave us the first down we needed,” Bord added.
Moore led the Cats through the air as he was 5 of 10 for 67 yards and one touchdown. Wellman was 3 for 9 for 22 yards before he left the game with an injury.
The leading receiver for GHS was Whitehair was he caught five passes for 59 yards and a game winning score. The remaining receivers were Bish (1-2), Nose (1-23) and Noah Hodges (1-14).
Bish was once again the leading rusher for GHS as he had 30 carries for 134 yards. The rest of the rushing yards came from Moore (4-12), Devin Vanscoy (6-33), Wellman (3-28) and Hodges (1-(-2)).
The Bearcat defense was led by junior Hunter Simmons as he recorded a team high 13 tackles against the Cougars. Other players to record multiple tackles were Whitehair, Blake Moore, Trevor Cayton, John Luke Massey, Bish, Nose, Blaine Moore, Kasey Knotts, Hodges and Nick Starcher.
“The character of a good football team is a good defense,” said Bord. “I thought our defense did just that tonight. We could have given up at anytime and tonight we played to the end.”
The Bearcats will be back in action this Friday night as they head down I-79 to face the Braxton County Eagles. The game will kick off at 7:00 p.m.