High School Football: Graham blanks Tecumseh to stay unbeaten

Cutline2: A gang of Graham High School defenders bring down Tecumseh junior Josiah Botello during their game on Friday night at Dallas Stadium in St. Paris. The Falcons won 22-0. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER
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Cutline2: A gang of Graham High School defenders bring down Tecumseh junior Josiah Botello during their game on Friday night at Dallas Stadium in St. Paris. The Falcons won 22-0. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Credit: Name Test

Credit: Name Test

ST. PARIS — Graham High School football coach Dave Taynor has a tradition.

After each shutout, the Falcons coach gives the game ball to his defensive coordinator. Moments after their victory over Tecumseh, the Falcons mobbed assistant coach Rich Clark at midfield and cheered as Taynor handed him the football.

The Falcons caused five turnovers — four fumbles and an interception — en route to a 22-0 victory over Tecumseh in a Central Buckeye Conference crossover division matchup on Friday night at Dallas Stadium.

“(Shutouts) are extremely hard to come by,” Teynor said. “It takes a complete valiant group effort of a lot of guys working their butts off whenever you do it.”

Graham senior Zack Vanscoy rushed 22 times for 88 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 46 yards and a TD as the Falcons improved to 3-0.

Graham junior quarterback Eli Hollingsworth went 10-for-16 for 132 yards and two TDs. He also had an interception on defense and kicked a 23-yard field goal.

The Falcons recovered a fumble deep in Tecumseh territory late in the first quarter. A few plays later, Hollingsworth hit senior Jayden Sells on a 2-yard TD pass to give Graham a 6-0 lead.

In the second quarter, Vanscoy scored on a five-yard run to give the Falcons a 12-0 lead at the half.

Tecumseh drove into Falcons territory to start the third quarter, but lost another fumble that led to Hollingsworth’s field goal.

In the fourth quarter, Hollingsworth hit Vanscoy on a 16-yard TD pass to seal the victory for Graham.

“There’s three things we want to see — how fast, how hard and how efficient do we play,” Taynor said. “We played extremely fast today and we played extremely hard, we got to the football really well. We made some mistakes. We turned it over a few times ourselves and we had some unforced errors on some penalties we’ve got to get cleaned up. We probably left some points on the board today that we should’ve gotten to. There’s a lot for us to improve upon going into London this week.”

Tecumseh moved the ball into Graham territory several times, but were stifled by turnovers. The Arrows have lost back-to-back games after starting 2-0.

“I told the kids we couldn’t beat a pee wee team if we had five turnovers,” said Arrows coach Chris Cory. “You can’t turn the ball over. I give credit to Graham. They played their butts off. They had a good plan for us. They played better than us tonight. That’s just it. They played better than we did.”

The Arrows host Benjamin Logan (2-2) next week. The Raiders fell to Bellefontaine 48-14 on Friday night.

“Our main goal is getting better,” Cory said. “Obviously, we’ve got things we’ve got to fix. I just told them we’re going to start getting better tomorrow. No finger pointing — no one meant to fumble, no one meant to miss a tackle, no one meant to miss a block. We’ll get back to the drawing board tomorrow.”

The Falcons travel to London (2-2) next week. Taynor was proud of his team, especially after missing last week’s game against Johnstown-Monroe, which was cancelled due COVID-19 protocols.

“They’ve been working hard,” Taynor said. “We have a motto we live by — Want To Tempo Us. That first part is Want To. You’ve got to be a relentless lifelong learner. The guys are buying into that. The second part is Tempo, which is work ethic. They’re working their butts off and they do it for each other, which is the Us part. I’m proud of what we’re doing so far.”