ST. PARIS – Despite playing in a driving rain on a muddy field, eighth-seeded Graham cruised to a 37-7 win over No. 9 Taylor Friday night in the first round of the Division IV, Region 16 football playoffs.
The Falcons (7-3) advance to play at No. 1 Cincinnati Wyoming (11-0) this Friday night. Wyoming defeated the Falcons in the playoffs last year, 34-14.
The contest with Taylor (5-6) didn’t start well for Graham, which fumbled the ball away on the second play of the game at its own 23.
Four plays later, Taylor turned the ball over on downs on an incomplete pass at the 17.
An inability to pick up first downs would be a common theme for Taylor’s offense the rest of the game.
At the 4:06 mark of the first quarter, Graham quarterback Eli Hollingsworth connected with Zack Vanscoy on a 21-yard touchdown pass that came on third and 14.
The score remained 6-0 until 6:56 of the second quarter when Hollingsworth completed a 19-yard TD pass to Jayden Sells, and Hollingsworth added a two-point conversion run to make it 14-0.
The first half ended with Graham on top, 14-0, after holding Taylor to one first down and 26 total yards.
At the 6:55 mark of the third quarter, Hollingsworth connected with Ben Sells on a 39-yard touchdown pass, then completed a two-point conversion pass to Jayden Sells to give the Falcons a 22-0 lead.
Late in the third quarter, Hollingsworth tossed a nine-yard TD to Eli Jacks and a two-point conversion pass to Sam Wright to make it 30-0.
In the fourth quarter, Graham’s Zack Burroughs scored on a run and Taylor finally found paydirt on Seth Keith’s 86-yard kickoff return.