Graham holds off WL-S, 27-24, in opener


ST. PARIS – Graham scored 27 points in the first half and then held on to defeat West Liberty-Salem, 27-24, in non-league football Friday night.

The Falcons jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead on a touchdown run by Tucker Nave and a TD pass by Eli Hollingsworth to Ben Sells.

WL-S responded with a touchdown pass from Miles Hostetler to Andre Jones and a Josh Wilcoxin seven-yard scoring run.

Nave had a touchdown run and reception in the second quarter and WL-S’s Gabe McGill scored on a run as the Falcons owned a 27-21 lead at the half.

Early in the third quarter, Graham faced a fourth and two at the WL-S 32, but turned it over on downs.

WL-S then drove to the Graham 6, but McGill was stopped short on fourth down.

Two plays later, WL-S’s Andre Jones intercepted Hollingsworth at the GHS 18.

The Tigers faced fourth and seven at the Graham 15, and a pass into the end zone was broken up.

After forcing a punt, WL-S took possession at the Falcon 28.

The third quarter ended with the Tigers driving and trailing 27-21.

WL-S was forced to settle for three points when D.J. Yoder booted a 25-yard field goal.

With 10:26 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Falcons led 27-24.

On Graham’s ensuing possession, Hollimgsworth converted a fourth and two at the WL-S 32.

Moments later, the Falcons fumbled the ball away to WL-S with 5:32 to play.

The Tigers took over at their own 25 trailing by three points.

Five plays later, Hollingsworth intercepted Hostetler with 2:56 remaining to preserve the victory.

“It was the story of two halves on the day,” said Graham Coach Dave Taynor. “The second half was owned by the defenses.”

The Falcons had 303 total yards compared to 240 for WL-S.

Hollingsworth completed 12 of 24 pass attempts for 204 yards and Hostetler completed 4 of 14 pass attempts for 54 yards with two interceptions.

This Friday night, WL-S hosts Ben Logan while Graham plays at Minster.

WL-S’s Gabe McGill (21) tips a pass away from Graham’s Jeff Honeycutt during Friday night’s game at GHS.’s Gabe McGill (21) tips a pass away from Graham’s Jeff Honeycutt during Friday night’s game at GHS. Photo by John Coffman Photography

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