• 52°

Friday Night Hero: Salisbury's O'Bryan Graham

By Nick Bowton
nbowton@salisburypost.com
Rowan County schools didn’t have classes Monday, so Salisbury senior O’Bryan Graham spent the day at home. Thinking.
The more Graham sat there, the more he thought about his Aunt Cheryl. He found out Saturday she had passed away, but the reality of the situation didn’t hit him until Monday. And by the time Graham got to school to prepare for the Hornets’ game that night at Ledford, coaches could tell his mind was elsewhere.
Graham explained the situation to head coach Joe Pinyan, and Pinyan told Graham the decision was his as to whether he would play. Graham not only played but shined in a 24-7 victory.
“I figured if I go out there and play and give it all I got, it would be a good thing for her,” said Graham, who plays the outside linebacker/safety position that Pinyan’s staff calls the hornet. “She always liked to see me in sports and playing football. I’ve been playing football since third grade, so I figured if I go out there and we win the game for her, that’s the best I could do.”
Graham had as much to do with the victory as any of his defensive teammates.
A senior who transferred from North Rowan before this season, Graham made 14 total tackles, two of them for loss, forced a fumble that led to Salisbury’s first TD and also broke up a pass.
Not a bad game for a guy who came to Salisbury intent on playing quarterback.
Graham went into his junior season at North expecting to be the starting quarterback but ended up as a running back. When he got to Salisbury, he found John Knox at quarterback and an overflowing stable of running backs.
“We kind of coaxed him into playing defense,” said David Johnson, who coaches the Hornets. “Then he started to gain interest in playing, and from there it just took off.”
Pinyan said Graham would tell you today he’d still rather play quarterback, but Graham seems to like his new home.
He even said he’s “stuck on defense now.” Not as in the coaches stuck him there but, rather, that they couldn’t get him back on offense if they tried.
Since the switch to defense, Graham has slowly turned into one of Salisbury’s most solid tacklers and has also developed a knack for forcing fumbles. He even returned an interception for a touchdown against Central Davidson.
Against Ledford, Graham read a play correctly, knew who was getting the ball, made the hit in the backfield and jarred the ball loose.
Teammate Pierre Jimenez recovered, and Salisbury tied the game at 7-all on the ensuing drive.
“His effort against Ledford was just phenomenal,” Pinyan said. “He controlled the edge. He took away a lot of their offense just by being a heads-up, gutsy player out there.”
Pinyan and the Hornets have gotten used to gutsy efforts from Graham, whether it be playing the second half against West Davidson despite a sprained ankle he suffered two days earlier or playing against Ledford two days after the death of his aunt.
“I was actually pretty happy,” Graham said of his decision to play Monday. “I knew I gave it my all for my aunt.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event

Local

Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race

Crime

Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children

Coronavirus

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Nation/World

Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting

News

Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?

Local

Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina

BREAKING NEWS

Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County

College

Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park

Lifestyle

History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County

Business

‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove

Coronavirus

Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations

Education

‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year

Columns

Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

Nation/World

The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone

Nation/World

Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million

Nation/World

US, China agree to cooperate on climate crisis with urgency

Nation/World

Sikh community calls for gun reforms after FedEx shooting

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs

Nation/World

FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight