Head coach Graf earns first win as Eagles triumph
Special to the Whig
It appeared Bohemia Manor would cruise to an easy victory in Joe Graf’s first game as head coach when it jumped out to 20-point halftime lead following three rushing touchdowns by Bobby McClennan against visiting Stephen Decatur High School on Friday.
The Seahawks made it close in the second half, but the Eagles re-
sponded by making enough plays down the stretch to hold on for a 20-14 non-conference win and deliver Graf his first career victory.
“It feels great,” Graf said. “I have a great group of kids. I have a tremendous coaching staff. We put the work in. It feels really good.”
Graf’s debut got off to a dubious start when Bo Manor fumbled on its opening possession, giving Stephen Decatur the ball in great field position. However, the Eagles forced a fumble at the 1-yard to get the ball back.
“That play set the tone for the whole first half,” Bo Manor’s Silas Whittington said. “Without stopping them there, we wouldn’t have such a lead in the beginning.”
The Eagles scored two plays later when McClennan took a handoff, ran off tackle to his right and raced his way down the field and into the end zone for a 95-yard touchdown to make it 6-0.
That sequence changed the complexion of the game as Bo Manor turned a possible six-point deficit into a six-point lead, allowing it to dictate the tempo of the game early.
“It was tremendous,” Graf said of the turnover that resulted in a touchdown. “It flipped the momentum in the first half right away. Being able to punch it in offense two plays later, was huge. It was a big momentum swinger. It set the tone the rest of the game.”
The score remained 6-0 until midway through the second quarter when McClennan took the handoff, ran up the middle, eluded a defender by making a jump cut to his right and scampered his way into the end zone for a 48-yard touchdown. The extra point gave Bo Manor a 13-0 lead.
The Eagles (1-0) added to their lead on the final play of the first half when McClennan, who finished the game with 215 yards rushing, ran for a 42-yard touchdown that made it 20-0. The play was set up by a running-into-the-punter penalty against the Seahawks, extending Bo Manor’s drive.
Stephen Decatur got on the board on its opening possession of the fourth quarter when Alan Means scored from three yards out to make it 20-7 following a successful extra point. The Seahawks then pulled within seven points when Eddie Zonnak found the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown run on fourth down with 57 seconds remaining in the game.
The Eagles recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock, including converting a fourth down on a John Knight 7-yard keeper with 10 seconds left to seal the victory.
“[Graf] told us earlier that it was his first win as a head coach and that he’ll remember it for the rest of his life. It is an honor to be a part of that,” McClennan said.