Even before Graham realized who its opponent for the Region I-3A finals was it knew one thing, the competition was going to get tougher.
While the Steers (12-1) were celebrating an 18-point win over Midland Greenwood, Gatesville saw its undefeated season in the process of a crash landing against Monahans.
But the Hornets (13-0) rallied from a 13-point deficit to win in overtime to earn a date with Graham at 7:30 tonight at Tarleton State University's Memorial Stadium.
"Each week the teams get tougher and tougher," Graham coach Kenny Davidson said. "They are 13-0 and 13-0 for a reason."
The familiar theme of this postseason is the quarterback and the Steers defense will face another good one in Gatesville's Cole Edmiston, who has rushed for about 1,000 yards and thrown for around 2,400.
He threw two late touchdown passes to force overtime last week.
"He's dangerous with his feet," Davidson said. "And they run more formations than any team we've played. They'll move around in formations to get the matchup they want and the guy can throw."
Graham's defense pitched a second-half shutout last week after trailing 14-0 and 23-14 in the first half. And the Steers scored two touchdowns on returns, bringing the defensive TD total to nine.
"Our defense has been playing well but it's another challenge this week," Davidson said.
Offensively, the Steers are led by quarterback Ben Davis with 2,790 yards and 22 touchdowns. Aside from a two interceptions a week ago, he's been nearly spotless in the playoffs. His numbers for the last three games are 57 completions, 74 attempts, 740 yards and six touchdowns.
Graham running back Dillon Gonzales (1,268 yards, 22 touchdowns) has 322 yards and seven TDs over the past two weeks.
"We've done that all year with the ability to run and pass," Davidson said. "I'm proud of our offense. That was key when we scored with the opening kickoff of the second half (last week)."
There were five turnovers, some random, some preventable last week. That's something Davidson doesn't expect he'll see again.
"To beat a good team they'll need to execute and not make a bunch of mistakes," he said. "You can't beat a 13-0 team like that."
The winner will take on the Division II Region II-3A champion, which will either be Gilmer or Henderson.
def. Mineral Wells, 53-7
def. Brownwood, 28-7
lost to Abilene Wylie, 31-7
def. Breckenridge, 44-0
def. Springtown, 32-28
de. Bridgeport, 54-0
def. Vernon, 34-24
def. Iowa Park, 38-0
def. Hirschi, 47-18
def. Burkburentt, 48-0
def. Lake Worth, 44-7
def. Glen Rose, 42-28
def. Midland Greenwood, 41-23
def. Reicher Cathloic, 41-9
def. Waco University, 33-21
def. Waco Connally, 24-8
def. Taylor, 35-14
def. Waco La Vega, 49-48
def. Lampasas, 33-13
def. Burnet, 44-19
def. Llano, 41-7
def. Brownwood, 35-14
def. Liberty Hill, 48-25
def. Alvardo, 48-28
def. Vernon, 40-28
def. Monahans, 37-34
Pigskin Prep says: Gatesville by 3