It was rainy and cold under the lights at Watkins High School Sunday night as the Granville White 5th/6th grade football team took on Licking Heights Maroon for the Licking County Youth Football League Varner Division Championship. Both Granville and Licking Heights entered the game at 8-0 on the season and both boasted powerful offenses. However, the game quickly turned to a battle in the trenches as the field became a mud bath. Granville’s defense shut down Licking Heights on their first possession then used running back Tommy Wolfe to pound the ball down the field to set up a 38 yard touchdown run by quarterback Cameron Crouch. Licking Heights answered on the next drive with a 58 yard run by running back William Chatman III. Late in the second quarter, Granville’s Nate Stone chased down Licking Height’s quarterback Jacob Righter causing a fumble that was advanced to the goal line by lineman Colin Freeman. Crouch took it in for the score and Granville went into halftime leading 13-7.
As the rain continued in the second half, the deteriorating conditions caused 8 fumbles between the teams. Wolfe stripped the ball from Chatman early in the half. Then Crouch again escaped the grasp of the Licking Height defenders to put his team up by two touchdowns but Chatman was not done yet. He scampered 65 yards with more than five minutes remaining in the game to cut the deficit to 6. Granville’s defense, however, proved to be too strong and Crouch added an insurance score with 38 seconds to go to seal the victory. Crouch ended the game with 144 yards on 24 carries and Wolfe had 109 yards on 21 carries.
“Great defense got us to this point. We put a huge emphasis on blocking and tackling from day one and it paid off,” said Coach Trevor Wolfe after the game. Granville’s defense combined for 5 fumble recoveries including 3 by Trent Compton and 1 each from Nate Large and Colin Freeman. “The thing that makes me happiest is that we played as a team and everyone contributed to the win” said Coach Wolfe. “Our center Parker Hilaman did a fantastic job snapping the ball, especially considering the weather conditions. The weather kept us from using half of our offensive plays, including a pretty darn good passing attack. It was a true joy coaching this special group of boys, they made my job easy.”
Granville produced 3 of the top 8 teams in this year’s Varner division A-flight playoffs. The championship was the first for Wolfe and the second in a row for Granville teams.