Young Bearcats struggle in 2022 Coal Bowl, fall to Philip Barbour

The Grafton High School Bearcats prepare to battle it out with the Colts of Philip Barbour on a beautiful Friday evening in Philippi. (Photo courtesy of Nancy Bartlett)

PHILIPPI—The Grafton High School football team (0-1) opened its 2022 season last Friday night, as they traveled to Philippi to take on the Philip Barbour Colts (1-0) in the Leer Mine Coal Bowl. 

The Cats came out hot but quickly cooled off as the Colts dominated both sides of the football and came away with a 52 to 7 win over the Bearcats.

The Bearcats opened the game with an 80-yard kickoff return for their first touchdown of the season. 

Junior Isaac Lough fielded the kickoff on his own 20-yard line and ran untouched 80 yards for the score. This would be Lough’s third kickoff return for a touchdown in his career as a Bearcat. 

In just 15 seconds, the Cats found themselves with a 6-0 lead. Stratton Wooddell would add the extra point and push the Bearcat lead to 7-0.

This would be the only time the Cats would see the end zone in the lopsided contest, as the Colts would go on to score 52 straight points. 

On offense the Cats were led in rushing by senior Aaron Barker. Barker had eight carries for 22 yards, while fellow senior Cole Mooney had four carries for 10 yards. 

The remaining rushers for Grafton were Kaden Keener (4-8), Isaiah Vanscoy (1-5), Cam Foley (2-(-6)), Jarrett  Blackhurst (1-(-1)) and Lough (3-(-34)). 

The quarter back duties were shared on Friday night, as both Mooney and sophomore Cam Foley both completed one pass for the Cats. Mooney’s one completion was to sophomore Dillan America for five yards, while Foley’s one completion was caught by Tristan Floyd for a gain of 10 yards. 

In the contest the Cats were only able to manage 20 yards of total offense. 

There were very little highlights for the Bearcats on defense as they gave up over 667 total yards to the Colts, allowing the Philip Barbour offense to gather 32 total first downs in the contest. The Cats were only able to muster four first downs in the contest, with three of them coming off of Colt penalties. 

The Colts did lose two turnovers as Harrison Maier and Lough were both able to recover the Colt fumbles. 

“Football is a pretty simple game when you block and tackle,” said first year head coach Mickey Foley. “We complicated things tonight because we did not block or tackle, and this is what happens when we don’t. We get beat. The bottom line is we have to get the players on the field that are going to get the job done.” 

At the end of the Leer Mine Coal Bowl, the company selects the most valuable players for both teams and the student-athletes are presented with a plaque and a one-time $1,500 college scholarship. Earning the honor for Philip Barbour was senior DeShawn Webster and for Grafton it was junior Isaac Lough.

The starters on offense for Grafton were: Cole Mooney (QB), Aaron Barker (RB), Isaiah Vanscoy (WR), Tristan Floyd (WR), Isaac Lough (slot), Seth Horne (TE), Riley Humphries (LT), Loren Knotts (LG), Cole Lambert (C), Elijah Loffler (RG) and Kenny Humphries (RT). 

The defensive starters for Grafton were: H. Maier (E), Knotts (RT), Jeremiah Mitchell (LT), Cyrus Mayle (E), Vanscoy (OLB), Keener (LB), K. Humphries (LB), Barker (OLB), Floyd (C), Mooney (S), and Lough (C). 

The Bearcats will be back in action this Friday night as they will face the East Fairmont Bees. This will be the first home contest for Grafton and the kickoff is set to happen at 7:00 pm. Come out and support these young Cats.

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