Graves relies on faith to pull him through

By: Matt Long
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Dano Graves has faith in himself, his teammates and the Lord. Graves hurt his right knee in the third quarter of the Division II semifinal win over Buhach Colony on Nov. 26 and as he sat on the bench he was in tears. The tears weren’t a result from any knee pain he was experiencing, but because he thought he wouldn’t be able to play for the section championship. “I hurt my left knee when I was a freshman,” Graves explained. “That injury hurt less than this one and I missed four weeks.” After an MRI on Nov. 29 revealed no structural damage to his knee, Graves knew he would be able to play against Grant in a game that determined the section champion. It was only the biggest game of his life. “I knew the Lord would heal my knee,” Graves said. “I wasn’t worried about it during the game. It was almost 100 percent. I was only wearing a knee brace as a precaution. If anything, it slowed me down.” Folsom coach Kris Richardson was also confident Graves would be fine, but as early as Wednesday he wasn’t sure how he would play because Graves’ only day of practice last week was Thursday. “He wanted to practice Wednesday, but I said no,” Richardson said. “After watching him at practice on Thursday and seeing him run and smile and knew that he felt good about it, I wasn’t concerned. I sort of thought if it was bothering him he would try to avoid me, but every time I asked him about his knee, he’d jump up and down and say it’s good. That was without the adrenaline of the game so I knew he’d be all right on Friday.” As it turned out, Graves played as well as ever; completing 23-of-38 passes for 289 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed 24 times for 129 yards and two scores in leading the Bulldogs to a decisive 41-20 victory.