High School Football

Graham, defense help Keller Central secure playoff berth with shutout of Timber Creek

Keller Central wide receiver/defensive back D.J. Graham scored twice on defense to help the Chargers earn a playoff berth in a 21-0 white washing of Keller Timber Creek in a District 5-6A football game Thursday night at Keller ISD Stadium.

Graham, a four-star Oklahoma commitment, scored the only points of the first half as both defenses dominated play.

Central (7-2, 4-2 in district) was forced to punt on its first series and a short kick gave Timber Creek (3-6, 2-4) the ball at the Chargers’ 45 yard line.

The Falcons went for it on fourth down from the 37, but a quarterback sneak turned out disastrous for Timber Creek.

“It was a QB sneak and we knew it was going to be that or a run up the middle.” said Graham. “Kyle McIver had him and stripped the ball out.

“Nobody saw it, I guess, and it rolled off a lineman. All I saw was green grass so I just picked up the ball and ran and didn’t look back.”

Graham’s 63-yard fumble return gave the Chargers a 7-0 lead with 8:59 left in the first quarter.

Both defenses settled in at that point.

An interception by Timber Creek’s’ D’maize Holt gave the Falcons the ball at the Central 32, but six plays later Graham picked off a Timber Creek pass at the 14 to end the threat.

Timber Creek’s defense only allowed Central 74 total yards, but the Falcons were unable to score despite racking up 245 yards of their own.

Eleven drives for the Falcons ended with four punts, two turnovers, and losing the ball on downs four times. The Falcons went 1 of 6 on fourth down.

The only bright spot for the Chargers’ offense was running back Keegan Burton.

Burton, who was in the game due to an injury to Andrew Paul, rushed for 92 yards on 18 carries and scored the only offensive TD in the game on a 20-yard run with 8:09 left in the game.

Burton’s score capped a 10-play, 68-yard drive that came when the Chargers needed it most. The senior carried seven times on the march and picked up 49 yards to give Central a 14-0 lead.

“Our starting running back got hurt and I was just waiting for an opportunity to play,” said Burton. “My line just did a crazy good job and we had two backup tackles in there because of injury. I just ran when I had my chance and I was happy to be in there today.”

Central had 10 first downs for the entire game and picked up half of them on the scoring drive.

Timber Creek quarterback Jason Akers threw the ball around the yard completing 20 of 40 passes for 246 yards. Mason McCrary hauled in six passes for 98 yards to lead Timber Creek, but the Falcons’ best drive ended with a Central touchdown.

Facing a second and goal at the Chargers’ two yard line, Graham worked more magic.

“I knew what they were going to do,” said Graham. “I knew they were going to try to sneak someone to the back of the end zone.

“My man was in the front of the end zone, but I sagged off and he over threw it a little bit. I was just there in the right place at the right time.”

Graham’s second interception came four yards deep in the end zone and he out raced the Falcons for a 104-yard TD. That made the score 21-0 with 6:12 left in the game, ending any comeback hopes for Timber Creek.

“We want to win a playoff game here at Central, we haven’t done that yet,” said Burton. “We want to make history.”

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