By Will Johnson Messenger Reporter
GRAPELAND – It was the renewal of an old rivalry on Friday night as the Grapeland Sandies welcomed the Groveton Indians to town for a matchup of two high powered offenses. Both teams were coming off impressive wins in week one. The Sandies had defeated the Kountze Lions 31-16 while the Indians had overpowered the New Waverly Bulldogs 53-9.
Both teams started fast, but as the second quarter got underway, it was the Indians who pulled away for the 64-42 win.
The game opened with the Sandies taking possession of the ball at their own 28 yard line. On first down, Grapeland QB Rick Frauenberger dropped back to pass and saw WR Rodney Davis streaking down the home sideline. Frauenberger launched a perfect strike that Davis caught in stride and took it to the house with barely 10 seconds gone in the game. Riley Chipman converted the try for two and before the fans even had a chance to settle into their seats, Grapeland led 8-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Coach Wayne Mahaffey called for an onside kick and the Sandies managed to catch the Indians off-guard. Grapeland recovered the loose ball and set up on offense just inside the home side of the 50.
Frauenberger picked up six on the ground and then connected with Josh Ackley for another half dozen yards. Ackley had his number called on the next play and picked up an additional seven yards on a reverse. After Grapeland picked up the first down, Chipman hauled in Frauenberger’s next pass for 14 yards to move inside the 10. After a sack by Groveton’s Ethan Cathey, Grapeland’s sophomore quarterback seemed nonplussed and on the next play, he found Davis on a slant route for his second TD of the period. The try for two was unsuccessful, but with only two and half minutes gone on the game clock, the Sandies led 14-0.
The second score seemed to shake Groveton out of its funk. The Indians recovered a second onside attempt from the Sandies and Indian QB Glenn Thornton made quick work of the Sandies “D.” Thornton gained 33 yards on two carries and then connected with wide-out Dawson Chumley for 16 more to move inside the Grapeland 20. Thornton picked up nine additional yards on a designed run but after a penalty moved the Indians back to the 13, Thornton was able to find the edge of Grapeland’s defense and scampered 13 yards to pay dirt. He also converted the two point attempt and with more than half of the first quarter left, the Indians had cut the lead to 14-8.
Groveton gave Grapeland a taste of its own medicine on the kickoff as they attempted an onside kick of their own. It appeared as if the referees made a questionable call on the play, but regardless, Groveton was given possession of the ball. A rash of penalties followed as Grapeland jumped offside and Groveton was hit with back to back yellow flags. Thornton found Chumley for six but was still faced with a fourth and eight from the Grapeland 43.
Thornton decided he better call Saul (Chavez) and unfortunately for the home team, Chavez did the rest of the work as he took Thornton’s flare 43 yards to the end zone. Cathey pounded the ball across the goal line for two to make the score 16-14 and with 5:25 still remaining in the first quarter, Groveton captured a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
On the Sandies next possession, Grapeland moved across the midfield stripe and appeared to be headed for their third TD of the quarter, but could not convert on a fourth and five and turned the ball over on downs.
The Indians moved quickly down the field as Chumley caught a pass from Thornton and raced to the end zone from 23 yards out to make the score 22-14.
As the second quarter got underway, the Grapeland offense went ice cold. Following a three and out by the Sandies to end the first 12 minutes of play, the Indians were able to mount a drive – aided by an iffy pass interference call – and increased their lead to 30-14 with 8:56 left in the half.
The Indians added two more score before the second quarter ended and led 44-14 as the two teams headed to the locker rooms for halftime.
After the break, the Indians were held in check by the Sandies on their first series. Unfortunately for Grapeland, on their first possession of the third quarter, Chavez picked off a Frauenberger pass and took it 40 yards for a pick six.
The Sandies finally found the offensive spark which had gone away in the first half. Frauenberger hit Chipman on a screen and the junior was able to elude would be tacklers for a 54 yard pitch and catch TD that cut the lead to 50-20.
The Indians tacked on another score before the quarter ended and led 56-20 as the fourth quarter got underway.
With many of the Groveton starters on the bench, the Sandies took full advantage of the situation. Davis hauled in his second long touchdown of the night and Chipman added two more TDs to his total, but it was too little, too late as the Indians won by a final score of 64-42.
After the teams had left the field, Coach Mahaffey was asked for his thoughts on the game. “We showed some character and stayed with it. We told them at halftime, the game is 48 minutes long. If you play hard in the second half, you never know what could happen. In the second half, we executed a little better. Of course they made some substitutions, too. They were pretty kind to us to take some people out, but they’re pretty good.”
He added, “Our kids kept fighting and kept running and kept trying to get better. Hopefully we accomplished that.”
As to the game’s start, the coach said, “I told the kids all week, we’re going to score the first play of the game. I knew we were going to because of the way they (Groveton) play. We got the onside kick and then went down and scored again. It looked like we had everything going our way.”
Mahaffey went on to say, “We knew this game would be a measuring stick and I suspect next week will be another test.
The Sandies are now 1-1 on the season and will hit the road next Friday to take on the Buffalo Bison in Buffalo. The kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.