FAIRMONT, W.Va. — A pair of touchdown connections from Dom Postlethwait to Aiden Slusser lifted East Fairmont to their first Big 10 Conference win in three seasons, 20-14 over Grafton at East-West Stadium.

The win is the first for new head coach and EFHS graduate Shane Eakle. “Hopefully this gives us some traction,” Eakle said. “I think the kids believe but until you get that first taste, they are still unsure. It wasn’t easy. We had to trial and battle test it in the second half but they kept digging.”

Postlethwait put the Bees on the board midway through the first quarter, scoring on a 73-yard touchdown run. In the second quarter, Postlethwait scrambled and found Slusser on a 57-yard scoring strike to give East a 14-0 halftime lead.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Bearcats got on the board with 9:11 to play when James Hodges capped a long drive with a 5-yard touchdown run. The GHS defense forced a three-and-out but Postlethwait took the ball right back for East, intercepting a pass at the Grafton 32-yard line.

On the very next play, Postlethwait found Slusser for their second touchdown hookup of the night, giving the Bees a 20-7 lead.

The Bearcats answered with 2:38 left when Logan Beltner tossed a 32-yard touchdown pass to Braden Nose. But the Bees recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt and ran out the clock.

The fourteen points allowed by the Bees were the fewest since a 10-9 loss to Grafton in 2017. Last season, East allowed the second-most points in Class AA (433).

Eakle spent the past decade as the defensive coordinator at Tucker County. “The smile should tell you something,” Eakle said. “Our defense is where we have to hang our hats. It kept us in the game last week for a while before we broke down a couple times. Our kids didn’t quit. Inside the red zone they kept battling and that is tough. That is a mental check.”

The Bees went 1-19 over the last two seasons prior to Eakle’s arrival. “Grafton was bigger than us but most people are,” Eakle said. “We were trying to be pesky and stay on guys and give our guys a chance. We want maximum effort all the time. We tell the kids that your actions speak so loud we can’t hear what you are saying.”