By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Max Rodgers passed for two touchdowns and ran for one to help lead the Grayson County Blue Devils to a 36-17 win over the Graham G-Men, Saturday afternoon at a damp, cloudy Mitchell Stadium.
Graham coach Mike Williams following the game said, “We got out-played, we got out-coached. I don’t know what else to say. You get beat like that at home, it’s going to hurt. We’ve got a lot to learn from this and we’ve got another tough one next week in Galax.”
Grayson County got off the bus running as they took the opening kickoff and drove 67 yards in 11 plays for the game’s first score, a 5-yard pass from Rodgers to Spencer Roberts. Mario Ruiz’s kick made it 7-0.
Graham’s first play from scrimmage saw Cody Hatfield ramble 14 yards down field, but the G-Men could not move the chains and punted after three additional plays.
The Blue Devils , on their first play after the punt went to the air and Charlie Benfield stepped in front of a Rodgers pass at the Grayson 37 and carried it all the way to the 13. Hatfield wasted little time scoring as he took the ball and ran off right tackle 13 yards for the score. The G-Men went for two and Spencer Sheets connected with Benfield for the conversion that gave Graham an 8-7 lead.
The visitors again embarked on a long drive, 10 plays, going 52 yards. Rodgers finished it off with a quarterback keeper from the one. The snap was bad on the kick and the conversion failed, but Grayson County was ahead 13-8.
The two teams exchanged punts before Graham took over at ts own 31 with 9:35 to go in the second quarter. Sheets hooked up with Mark Large on a 14 yard pass play and a personal foul penalty carried the ball to the Grayson County 38. But the G-Men’s drive stalled and the men in maroon failed to convert on fourth down, giving the Blue Devils the ball at it’s own 34.
After an incomplete pass John Bilbrey rambled 66 yards for the score. He then ran for the two point conversion and Grayson County led 21-8.
The G-Men took the kick and embarked on their longest drive of the half, aided by a fake punt in which Hatfield took the snap and gained first down yardage. Graham drove to the Blue Devils 16 before the drive stalled after 11 plays. Sam Stowers then booted a 32-yard field goal with 41 seconds remaining before halftime to bring Graham to within 10 points at 21-11.
Graham’s first play of the second half was a 40-yard pitch-and-catch between Sheets and Hatfield that took the ball to the Grayson County 25 yard line. However three consecutive tackles for loss by Grayson forced the G-Men to punt.
Later in the third Rogers connected with Roberts on a 53 yard pass-run. Bilbrey ran for the conversion to make it 29-11.
Grayson County’s final score came early in the fourth when the Blue Devils marched 59 yards in 12 plays and took 5:27 off the clock. The drive was capped on Roberts’ 10-yard run. Ruiz’s kick was good to make it 36-11.
Bilbrey had a game-high 155 yards rushing on 21 carries and Roberts carried 16 times for 97 yards. Rodgers completed 5-of-15 passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
Hatfield led Graham with 41 yards on 15 carries. Sheets was 5-of-8 passing for 119 yards and one touchdown and one interception. Hill completed 2-of-3 passes for -7 yards and a pick.
“We didn’t have a good answer on defense for what they were doing on offense,” Williams said. “We didn’t stop their run game very well, then they hit the back out of the backfield a few times. They pretty much scored at will.”
The G-Men did not give up. Getting the ball on downs with half a minute to play, Sheets connected with Colby Hill on a 30-yard strike. The conversion run failed and Grayson County left town with a 36-17 Mountain Empire District win.
At Mitchell Stadium
Grayson County.................13 8 0 15 — 36
Graham.................................8 3 0 6 — 17
GC-Max Rodgers 5 pass to Spencer Roberts (Mario Ruiz kick), 7:39
G-Cody Hatfield 13 run (Spencer Sheets pass to Charlie Benfield), 5:30
GC-Rodgers 1 run (kick failed), :24
GC-John Bilbrey 66 run (Bilbrey run), 6:00
G-Sam Stowers 32 field goal, :41
GC-Rodgers 53 pass to Roberts (Bilbrey run), 11:44
GC-Roberts 10 run (Ruiz kick), 5:30
G-Sheets 30 pass to Colby Hill (run failed), :31
Grayson County - Bilbrey 21-155, Roberts 16-97, Rodgers 9-21. Graham - Hatfield 15-41, Sheets 9-16, Wheeler 4-(-7), Compton 1-1, Thompson 5-29.
Grayson County - Rodgers 5-15-2 87 yards. Graham - Sheets 5-8-1 119 yards, Hill 2-3-0 (-7) yards.