Graham’s two TDs spark Wesson over Tigers

Published 6:00 pm Friday, August 19, 2011

WESSON – Austin Graham made a triumphantreturn to the gridiron Thursday night. The Wesson senior runningback scored two touchdowns, including a 97-yard dash that sparkedthe Cobras to a 27-7 victory against Crystal Springs in the 2011season debut for both teams.

    In last year’s season opener, Graham only participated in fiveplays before sustaining a torn ACL in his knee. He was forced towatch the rest of Wesson’s 10-2 state playoff campaign from thesidelines.

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    “It feels great to be out here playing football,” said Graham afterlast night’s game in Stone Stadium. “I tore my ACL in the firstgame last season.”

    Graham’s explosive burst gave the Cobras first quarter momentum.The long run was set up when teammate Payton Cupit picked off apass by Crystal Springs quarterback Jamario Benson.

    Describing the long run, Graham said, “All of our linemen did it.There was a big hole there.”

    Wesson coach Tommy Clopton said he was happy to see Graham bounceback from the knee injury. “That was a huge play for us. They(Tigers) kind of had us on our heels. That run took the steam outof them.”

    Graham also ran 9 yards for a third quarter TD and kicked threeextra points, putting the Cobra up 21-7. He rushed 14 times for 154yards.

    The Cobras also got a big night from senior running back SteveJones who rushed 28 times for 193 yards and a second-quartertouchdown.

    For the game, Wesson amassed 382 yards on 54 rushes and only hadone turnover. Senior quarterback Jacob Fischer tossed a 13-yard TDpass to Paxton Cupit on a fourth down rollout in the fourthquarter.

    Defensively, Derrick Lyles led the Cobras with 10 tackles. PaytonCupit provided 8 stops and pick off a pass. Zach Wilson and JavorisSmith contributed 7 tackles apiece.

    The Tigers, coached by Johnny Young, threatened to score early inthe game with Benson scrambling and passing his team down thefield. A fumble and interception derailed those chances and Wessonsteadily took control of the game against its larger opponent.

    Benson, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior, rushed 19 times for 122yards and completed 6 of 17 passes for 65 yards. His scrambling,51-yard TD run cut Wesson’s lead to 14-7 in the second quarter.

    “Number 8 (Benson) is a heckuva an athlete and he gave us problemsall night,” said Clopton. “We have a lot of mistakes we must correct before playing NorthPike.”

    Wesson linebacker Derrick Lyles said he was happy to start theseason with a victory. “Our coaches did a good job preparing us. Weplayed hard and deserved to win.”

    Young had moved Benson from wingback to quarterback and he waspleased with that decision. “Our passing game was pretty good.Overall, I’m pleased with our performance.”

    Senior wide receiver Henry Morris caught 56 passes for 65yards.

    “We made mistakes early that kept us from scoring,” Young added.”Wesson is well coached. They are a strong team.”

    Young’s Tigers play at Florence next Friday.