Powhatan-Grafton game story below
By Greg Taylor
The game of football is a series of plays; orchestrated movements out on the field designed to move the ball towards a goal line. Sometimes gaining yards is easy and other times quite difficult. Grafton's Marcus Spearman found out the latter in the waning moments of his game against Powhatan.
Looking to atone for his earlier fumble in the fourth quarter Spearman and the Clippers faced a fourth and goal at Powhatan's two-yard line with 14.9 seconds left in the game. Spearman took the handoff from P.J. Jackson looking for daylight on the left side but instead found the pitch black of night as Powhatan's defense enveloped him one yard short of the go-ahead score sealing the win for the Indians.
Grafton fell behind early as Powhatan exploited the Clippers secondary on a quick out pattern by
Grafton quickly countered as an electric 79 yard run by senior Deshon Rorie on the ensuing kickoff shifted momentum back in the Clippers favor.
Despite being outgained in the first half 135 yards to 68 yards, the Clippers seized on their first half opportunities converting a fourth and 14 in Indians territory just before halftime as Jackson found a streaking Jesse Santiago at the goal line. Santiago won a jump ball with Powhatan's Dion Drew for a 30-yard touchdown reception taking the Clippers into halftime up 14-7.
Grafton had their chances to win this game in the second half but costly turnovers were the difference as the Clippers had three passes intercepted and one fumble recovered, which turned into Powhatan's final 19 points.
On the opening drive of the second half, Grafton's pass was thrown behind a receiver and into the waiting arms of Powhatan's Zach Powers at the Indians' 40-yard line. Five players later, Powhatan turned that interception into seven points as LJ Jackson scampered 38 yards through the heart of the Clippers defense for a touchdown tying the game at 14-14.
Grafton's second drive of the half also ended in interception as defensive end Chris Deleon grabbed a Clippers pass at the Indians' 44-yard line returning it to the Clippers' ten-yard line where he fumbled the ball but Drew scooped it up and took it the rest of the way for the score. Powhatan missed the extra point for a 20-14 advantage.
The Clippers righted the ship benefitting from an unsportsmanlike conduct called on Drew's touchdown assessed on the ensuing kickoff against Powhatan. With a short field and a tiring Indians defense, Grafton used Spearman as a change of pace back which paid off as he ended the drive with a hard nine-yard run up the middle putting Grafton ahead 21-20.
But the final turnover for Grafton was their undoing. Grafton had stopped Powhatan on their Clippers' 16-yard line with 6:14 left in the game. Four straight Spearman runs moved the ball 26 yards to the Indians 42 yard line. On second and eight, a poor handoff between Jackson and Spearman led to a fumble that Powhatan's Norris Goode scooped up and scored on a 38 return for a touchdown putting the Indians ahead to stay 26-21.
"It was a hard fought game between two great football teams. The sad thing is one team has to lose but I am proud of our kids. We mustered up a nice drive to getting all the way down there to a fourth and one but we fell short by a couple of inches." said Coach Van Acker after the game. "We look to regroup and we understand that this is the first game of the season going down to the wire with a good football team right out of the gate. We've got to forget about this one, learn from our mistakes and get ready for next week."
Scoring for Grafton at Powhatan
1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Grafton 7 7 0 7 21
Powhatan 7 0 13 6 26
P--56 yard TD Pass from Wes Garrett to Joe Lewis (Knapke kick)
G--79 yard kickoff return for TD by Deshon Rorie
G--30 yard TD pass from P.J. Jackson to Jesse Santiago
P--38 yard TD run by L.J. Jackson
P--10 yard fumble return for TD by Dion Drew
P--38 yard fumble return for TD by Norris Goode
First downs 7 12
Rushing 30-167 46-125
Passing 84 100
Total Yards 251 225
Turnovers 3 4
Rushing: Grafton: Spearman 19-65 TD, Bartells 12-25, Hiser 2-8, Lecthaler 2-6, Mitchell 2-5, Jackson 2-2, Johnson 3- (-12) Powhatan: Jackson 9-84 yards, Goode 16-73, Salisbury 2-12, Lewis 1-3, Garrett 1-2
Passing: Grafton: 7-for-21, 100 yards TD, 2 Int. Powhatan: Garrett 4-13 84 yards, TD, Int