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Efaw leads Bearcats past Colts

by Charlie Casey

CORRESPONDENT

PHILIPPI -- Sometimes quality overcomes lack of quantity.

Grafton coach Mike Skinner, whose team lacks its usual number of players and physical size, found that out Friday night.

The Bearcats used several individual efforts to take a 27-6 victory over Big 10 Conference rival Philip Barbour in the opening game for both teams Friday night.

"I am very happy for all these young players with their performance," Skinner said. "We still have a good ways to go, but this gives us something to build on."

Grafton (1-0) scored on its first possession of the game, driving 71 yards in 12 plays. Junior fullback Kevin Efaw did most of the damage on the drive, carrying eight times for 48 yards. His final carry from two yards out gave the Bearcats their first score.

James Willis booted the first of three successful point-after kicks to give Grafton a 7-0 lead with 11:56 left in the second quarter.

After Grafton's defense held on downs, the Bearcats struck quickly for their next touchdown. Sophomore quarterback Andy Leach connected with senior split end Ryan McKinney for a 79-yard touchdown pass. Willis' PAT gave Grafton a 14-0 lead with 6:35 left in the half.

The Bearcats extended their 14-point halftime lead on the first drive of the third quarter, marching 65 yards in 11 plays. Leach connected for his second TD pass, this time to Chase Morris for 17 yards.

"I was very impressed with some of our individual efforts tonight," Skinner said. "I was also happy with the way Tim Hussion and Brandon Riffle helped the offensive line dominate the game."

Efaw was just one of many stars for the Bearcats, rushing for 155 yards on 26 carries and one touchdown. Leach was just as impressive, completing 5-of-5 passes for 124 yards and two TDs. He also rushed 12 times for 25 yards, which included a 13-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.

McKinney also had a dominating defensive effort, recovering one fumble and intercepting a pass.

Philip Barbour's one bright spot came in the third quarter when Tony Skidmore, who rushed for 77 yards on 16 carries, scored the Colts' only touchdown on a 14-yard run.

Grafton's defense was very impressive, holding Philip Barbour to 120 yards of total offense while forcing four turnovers.