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RECAP: A final look at the 2021 Graham football season

Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 7:49 PM EST
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Salem, Va. (WVVA) - Salem Stadium -- a familiar stage for the Graham G-Men, playing for their second state title in four years. The team won it all back in 2018, freshman year the Class of 2022.

“We got one coming in, and we wanted to get one coming out,” Xayvion Bradshaw, Graham senior, said.

While the G-Men fell just short of that goal in Salem, they made a successful run to get there... going undefeated in the regular season and beating four teams by double digits in the playoffs to reach the championship game.

“Well, we accomplished two of the three goals,” Tony Palmer, Graham’s Head Coach, said. “We didn’t get that final goal, but like I said, I’m very proud of these guys.”

G-Men pride, it’s a sentiment the seniors on this team said runs very deep.

“It’s home, that is family right there,” Brody Meadows, Graham senior, said. “Since I was 15 years old, coming in as a 9th grader... we won state here, we didn’t have the ending we wanted, but I’m proud of every one of them. They’ll always be brothers to me.”

“Emotions are high. I mean especially for me and my seniors, it’s our last game. I mean it’s everything I could ever ask for,” Bradshaw said.

And the leadership this senior class brought to the locker room didn’t go unnoticed...

“All of them, all the seniors, they did an outstanding job for us this year,” Palmer said. “I can’t express enough how proud I am of our group.”

And coming up just short in Salem only fuels the fire for next year’s team.

“They’re already asking to come back and work out and lift weights and stuff,” Palmer said.

While this year’s seniors will be watching from a new locker room next year, with a few headed to play DI football -- they said they’ll always be rooting for their high school team.

“I just can’t wait to go into the locker room and tell all my young guys... better see a state championship trophy in the locker room next year,” Bradshaw said.

“I’ll never put this uniform on again, but I’ve got to tell them remember this... come back next year stronger,” Meadows said.

And as for Bradshaw’s time representing Graham High School...

“I can’t do nothing but smile,” he said. “I had a great high school career.”

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