Earlier this week, Graham High School senior running back Camron VanHoose was named a team captain for the Falcons – despite not playing last season.
VanHoose proved he’s ready to the lead his teammates under the Friday night lights this season. He rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries as the Falcons beat Southeastern 27–14 on Friday at Urbana University Stadium.
The Falcons (1-1) snapped a nine-game losing streak, earning its first victory since a 54-20 win over Catholic Central in Week 2 last season.
“It’s a good thing to get a win,” VanHoose said. “It’s been awhile. Coming back off of not playing last year, it means a lot to me.”
VanHoose had touchdown runs of 33 and 44 yards for the Falcons (1-1). The second TD came midway through the third quarter, giving Graham a 13-point lead it would never relinquish.
The credit belongs to his offensive line, VanHoose said.
“It starts with the men up front,” he said. “I give all credit to my line.”
The Falcons were committed to running the football against the Trojans’ three-man front, second-year coach Shane Cahill said.
“We thought we could get some movement up front,” he said. “(VanHoose) has been our leader up to this point. He’s been an overall phenomenal kid for us. He’s bringing these kids along where we want to get to.”
Graham scored three straight touchdowns in the first half – a 6-yard run by QB Brady King, a 63-yard TD pass from King to Caleb Horner and a 33-yard run by VanHoose – to take a 20-0 lead.
However, Southeastern scored on an 8-yard run by freshman QB Wade Eriksen and then quickly recovered a muff by the Falcons’ kickoff return team. A few plays later, Eriksen scored from 3 yards out to pull the Trojans (0-2) within six points at 20-14.
Southeastern drove the ball into Falcons territory multiple times in the second half, but were unable to put points on the board.
“The kids responded well,” Cahill said. “In the past, that would not have happened. They would’ve kind of rolled over and they didn’t. We regrouped at halftime and we really stepped up in the second half.”
The Trojans had four turnovers, including two interceptions in the second half.
“We’re just making some youthful mistakes,” Trojans coach Payton Printz said. “I think we have to go back and pull ourselves up by our boot straps and start taking care of us, fix us and not worry too much about the opponent.”
Printz was pleased with the way his team responded after trailing by 20 points in the first half.
“These kids don’t quit,” he said. “My understanding is they notorious for that prior to me getting here and I’ve not seen it with this bunch. They were fighting to the end. That was definitely a positive.”
King went 18-for-28 for 205 yards and touchdowns for the Falcons, while teammate Logan Thompson had two interceptions.