PREP FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: Ravenswood at Grafton

Grafton’s Damon Waters (right) looks for running room as Ravenswood’s Chad Small (60) tries to get in position for a tackle during the Bearcats’ Class AA playoff win over the Red Devils Friday.

For all its big plays, all its blowout victories, something else has been as much a constant for Grafton football this season.

These Bearcats, cliché be damned, have a one-track mind.

One play at a time, one game at a time, all the while never losing sight of that one common goal — a trip the state finals.

“One thing we’ve been good at is (playing) one week at a time,” Grafton coach Mark Yoho said. “That’s what we’ve got to keep doing.”

Friday night, the Bearcats showed that poise once again, shaking off a slow start with a furious second half in a 41-7 Class AA quarterfinal victory over visiting Ravenswood.

Grafton (11-1) hosts Wayne, a 41-35 winner over Bluefield, next weekend at a date and time yet to be determined.

The No. 2 Bearcats, however, now have an undoubtedly clearer path to Wheeling and a possible state title date as top-ranked Keyser was upset by Magnolia Friday. Magnolia handed Grafton its lone loss, 29-24, in the regular-season finale.

“You don’t want to think about the state championship yet — we’re not there,” Yoho said.

But the Bearcats made sure the door didn’t completely shut with a solid second half.

They drove 68 yards in five plays to open the third quarter, and hit paydirt when quarterback Cameron Gallaher juked several defenders on his way to a 25-yard scoring run to make it 20-7 just two minutes into the period.

Gallaher had a 23-yard completion to Asa Coplin and Damon Waters ripped off a 22-yard run on consecutive plays to begin the drive.

“Getting that extra score was huge,” Yoho said. “When you’re in this kind of weather and you get up two or three touchdowns, I think the other team starts to feel the cold.”

The teams traded turnovers — three fumbles and two interceptions — on the next five drives before Grafton broke things open late.

In the fourth, Waters and Jonathan Gower scored on 10-yard runs, and backup quarterback Markus Griffin outraced the defense from 66 yards out.

The Bearcats finished with 302 yards (245 rushing, 57 passing) of total offense.

Arguably the game’s most pivotal play took place late in the second quarter. Up 7-6, Ravenswood was driving and threatening to make it a two score-contest.

It marched 58 yards in 12 plays — all but one on the ground — and faced a fourth-and-goal from the Grafton two-yard line.

The drive, however, stalled from there as running back Jacob Young lost the ball trying to stretch over the goal line. The Bearcats recovered the fumble and, with that, grabbed the momentum for good.

Young carried 32 times for 111 yards, 92 of which came in the first half. He had the team’s lone touchdown on a five-yard run in the first half.

“It was huge,” Yoho said,” They had a chance to go up 14-13 at half, and that would’ve put a lot more pressure on us to start the second half.

“Would we have been OK? I don’t know. You hope so. You hope we would’ve come out and been OK. But, yeah, that was one of the turning points in the game.”

Gallaher passed for 57 yards and added 80 yards and two scores on 14 attempts. Waters had 86 yards on 18 carries, while James Pancoast brought back a second-quarter kickoff 80 yards for a score.

E-mail Nick Cammuso at ncammuso@timeswv.com.

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