By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
NARROWS, Va. —
The Graham G-Men will go into the postseason with a three-game win streak after churning away for a 41-12 win over Narrows in the regular-season finale on Friday night at Ragsdale Field.
Graham (6-4) gained 523 yards on offense, 375 on the ground. Dylan Cook broke the thousand-yard mark by amassing 167 yards on 15 carries, while Charlie Benfield also carried 15 times for 142 yards and three touchdowns.
A large group of Green Wave seniors gave the Narrows (3-7) fans some final highlights on a frigid night, closing to within 21-12 with half a minute left in the first half.
“Coach (Kelly) Lowe did a great job of getting his kids ready,” said Graham coach Mike Williams. “We jumped on them early, and then I think we let up a little bit. Hats off, their kids played hard, I thought they were coached well, and they snuck back on us.”
“Where we had a little bit more depth than they do, we were able to pull away in the second half.”
Cook said, “It was a big game. We didn’t play our best, I didn’t feel. We have some practice to do. We’ll be practicing.”
Freshman quarterback Ben Meade said, “Narrows came out tough, like we expected. We came out strong, but in the middle of the game, we started slacking off, and had to get re-focused in the second half and get ready, and we did.”
Narrows coach Kelly Lowe said, “Our kids played hard. They stepped up to a big challenge and I thought they really hung in there and battled. A couple of turnovers here and there, and a couple of breaks, and it could have been a different ballgame.”
“I’m proud of these seniors and the effort they gave. Just a great effort all the way around tonight.”
The G-Men took a 21-0 lead in the first half on Cook’s five-yard score on the first series of the game, followed by Benfield tallying touchdowns on runs of 20 and 25 yards.
Quarterback Colby Hill returned to the field for Graham after missing two games with a shoulder injury.
Williams said, “We just kind of wanted to work him in a little bit to try to get some of the rust off. His shoulder’s still a little bit sore.”
Three touchdowns were scored in the final 108 seconds of the first half.
Narrows seniors Joe Hall and Gavin Givens connected for a 76-yard pass completion with 1:16 on the clock. On Graham’s next play, Narrows senior Rodney Perdue picked off Hill’s first pass — Perdue’s second of the game — and returned it 36 yards.
Hall tossed a look-in pass to senior Terrance Martin, who scored to bring Narrows within nine points of the G-Men.
Graham’s Ahmad Wilson grabbed a pass from Hill and ran down the left sideline 65 yards for a score, thumping across the goal line while being tackled to put Graham up 27-12 at the break.
Williams said that at halftime, “I reminded (our players) that they were serious about beating us.”
“We told them we need to go out in the second half and play Graham football, and reminded them, because of the tradition of the school, we’ve got a big target on our chest.”
Benfield got the only touchdown of the second half, and Cook’s 9-yard score with 6:44 left, followed by Samuel Stowers’ point-after kick, wrapped up the scoring.
Williams said about Cook, “He ran the ball hard. He’s a load to bring down. He lowers that shoulder and he’s tough to tackle.”
Williams said, “Our offense was a little sloppy. We had two interceptions and a fumble there at the finish.”
Narrows got 68 of its 99 rushing yards from Martin, on six carries.
Martin said, “I wanted to win, but we didn’t. But it was a great experience being out here all season with all my team. It’s just awesome being out here.”
Lowe said, “He had a good night running the ball. The offensive line was doing a good job of opening up some holes, and he was hitting them.”
He added, “Rodney had some big plays for us there in the first half that really changed the momentum for us. ... I thought the defense played pretty well for the most part, tonight.”
Hall concluded his football career by throwing for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
This Sunday, the G-Men will eagerly look forward to tweeting each other about who they will play in next weekend’s opening round of the VHSL playoffs.
Williams said, “We’re always excited to get in (to the playoffs). We feel like, after the Fort Chiswell win, we can compete with anybody at the 2-A level. So, we’ll line up and play who they tell us, when they tell us and where they tell us.”
The Green Wave will put their pads on the shelves and start thinking basketball.
Lowe said, “It hurts to lose these kids. Anytime you lose quality seniors like we’ve got, it hurts. But we’ve got a good young group coming up. I think these seniors have set some good groundwork for these guys, as far as their work ethic and how they practice. They did a great job of bringing these younger kids along. I’m proud of them.”
Lowe concluded, “Give Coach Williams and Graham a lot of credit, too. They’ve got a good football team and he does a good job with them. It was a good high school football game tonight.”
— Contact Tom Bone at
At Ragsdale Field
Graham.................14 13 7 7 — 41
Narrows..................0 12 0 0 — 12
GHS - Dylan Cook 25 run (Samuel Stowers kick), 8:36
GHS - Charlie Benfield 20 run (Stowers kick), 0:30
GHS - Benfield 25 run (Stowers kick), 8:48
NHS - Gavin Givens 76 pass from Joe Hall (run failed), 1:16
NHS - Terrance Martin 13 pass from Hall (pass failed), 0:30
GHS - Ahmad Wilson 65 pass from Colby Hill (kick failed), 0:05.4
GHS - Benfield 5 run (Stowers kick), 4:48
GHS - Cook 9 run (Stowers kick), 6:44
RUSHING — GHS, Dylan Cook 15-167, Charlie Benfield 15-142, Ben Meade 5-61, De’Quan Booker 1-2, Colby Hill 3-7, team 2-(–4). NHS, Terrance Martin 6-68, Drew Stowers 8-31, Bailey Snidow 5-24, Brandon Stowers 2-0, Rodney Perdue 2-(–10), team 1-(–2).
PASSING — GHS, Ben Meade 5-9-83-0 TD-1 int; Colby Hill 12-65-1-1. NHS, Joe Hall 9-17-170-2 TD-1 int.
RECEIVING — GHS, Bryce Harris 2-38, Cook 1-16, Ahmad Wilson 2-76, Mark Large 1-18. NHS, Perdue 2-37, Martin 3-35, D. Stowers 1-(–6), Austin Wall 1-17, Gavin Givens 1-76, B. Stowers 1-11.
Rushes-Yards: G 41-375, N 29-99. Passing Yards: G 148, N 170. Comp-Att-Intc: G 6-11-2, N 9-17-1. Penalties-Yards: G 5-40, N 4-31. Fumbles-Lost: G 2-0, N 2-1.