The Wildcats kept the Eagles off the scoreboard in the second half and had the ball near the red zone with five minutes to go in the game and a chance to take the lead. However, the offense failed to move the ball much in its final two drives.
“We simplified what we wanted to do defensively,” Trigg head coach Shannon Burcham said of adjustments before the second half with Graves leading 10-0. “Offensively, we tried to go under a little bit, but we came back to what we did in the first half. We got in the red zone a few times in the first half and didn’t get anything out of it. We got there in the second half and did get something. The effort was there. They didn’t quit on us, and we’re proud of that. We’ve just got to get in the end zone more and play defense for a whole game like we played the second half tonight.”
Graves utilized a Wing-T offense similar to what Trigg saw in its 45-6 season-opening loss at Union City, but the Eagles relied more on speed and less on size.
“Union City will just run over you, and [Graves] tries to get it from one back to the other coming left to right,” Burcham said. “We adjusted, and our guys did a good job of stopping that.”
For the second straight week, Trigg quarterback Andrew Stewart was victimized by several dropped passes that kept the offense from finding a rhythm. However, on the lone Wildcat scoring drive of the night, Stewart went 3-for-5 for 53 yards, including a pair of 20-plus-yard catches by Nick Watkins.
“People have got to remember that we’ve got seven new guys on offense,” Burcham said. “We’re trying to figure things out, but we’ve got a lot of faith in them. We’ll keep throwing to them and they’ll catch them.”
The scoring drive ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by Akeem Wilson, who gained 77 yards on 14 carries. Stewart connected with freshman wide receiver Jermya Love on a two-point conversion pass to trim Graves’ lead to 10-8.
Trigg will face its third consecutive run-happy opponent of the season when the Wildcats host Calloway County in the second game of Friday’s Wildcat Chevrolet Bowl at Perdue Field.
Burcham said he expects the Lakers to run offensive formations similar to Graves County, with the main difference being senior running back Tyrelle Willis, who will see his first action of the season after missing Calloway’s first two games due to suspension.
“Willis will be back there for the first time this year, and I imagine he’ll be mad and ready to run,” Burcham said. “We better hit him first.”
Also seeing his first action of the season will be Trigg senior wide receiver Mitch Rogers, who missed the first two games due to a back injury. Tuesday, Burcham said Rogers had been cleared by doctors to play Friday.
The Trigg/Calloway contest will begin approximately 30 minutes after the end of the Hopkinsville/Greenwood game.
Tickets: Trigg athletic director Jim Perrin said tickets for the bowl went on sale Monday. Fans may buy them at a $2 discount through Thursday at the high school office. Tickets bought Friday will cost $10. T-shirts are also available for $10, as are reserve seats for all other home games for $20.
Graves County 10, Trigg County 8
Saturday @ Mayfield
Trigg 0 0 0 8
Graves 7 3 0 0
First downs 13 12
Rushing 27-92 43-275
Passing 15-38-1 1-6-0
Pass. yards 161 33
Total yards 253 308
Fumbles-lost 1-0 5-4
Penalties 1-15 6-50
TC: Wilson 14-77; Cionko 6-12; Stewart 7-3
TC: Stewart 15-38-1 161
TC: Watkins 7-94; Gilbert 3-43; Barksdale 3-17; Adams 2-7