Head coach Graf earns first win as Ea­gles tri­umph

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By KEVIN PHILLIPS

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-

CH­E­SA­PEAKE CITY—

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.

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