Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 8, 2012

Summers County Bobcats top Grafton Bearcats 42-14

HINTON — If Summers County were looking to make a statement, consider it done.

The Bobcats forced six turnovers, blocked a punt and returned a kickoff for a touchdown in a 42-14 win over visiting Grafton Friday at Garten Stadium.

Summers, which narrowly missed the Class AA playoffs last season, is now 3-0 for the first time since 1997.

“I remember that year,” coach Josh Houchins said. “It was my first year of college and I remember coming back to see a few games. It’s just good for the community. I saw guys here that played for us last year, that really set the tone and got us going in the right direction.”

The current Bobcats certainly looked to be reaping the benefits against the Bearcats.

After freshman Matt Ryan opened the game with a 90-yard kickoff return, Summers never let up. That was especially evident on defense, where the Bobcats gave up some yardage, but otherwise made it a miserable night for Grafton.

Summers had four interceptions, including two on consecutive Grafton series. The first, by Dustin Smith, helped set up quarterback T.J. Smith’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Brown for a 19-0 lead with 4:24 still left to play in the first quarter.

Grafton outgained the Bobcats 397-298 and ran 55 offensive plays to the Bobcats’ 40. But the Summers defense came up big in the clutch all night.

“We gave up some yardage at times, but when it came down to it, in the red zone, they swarmed after the ball,” Houchins said. “They went after the quarterback and were able to make plays and get turnovers. We preach that aggressive nature, going after the ball, and on occasion they are going to give up a play going after the ball.”

Case in point: Grafton got on the board on Joe Christopher’s 40-yard touchdown catch after Erik Lindsey went after the interception. The ball got by him and Christopher easily cruised down the right sideline to make the score 27-7.

Lindsey made up for that play by intercepting a pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. He also blocked a punt that Dustin Smith picked up and returned 16 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

“I’m proud of our defense,” said Smith, who also scored on a 57-yard run in the first. “We all played strong and hard and fought to the end.”

Brown returned an interception 89 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Smith said the Bobcats were looking to make a statement against the young but perennially contending Bearcats.

“They came in here and thought we were going to be less than what we are,” Smith said. “We showed them what we really are.”

Summers will travel to Wyoming East next Friday.

— E-mail: gfauber

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