By Will Johnson
GRAPELAND – The Grapeland Sandies were coming off back-to-back losses as they welcomed the Colmesneil Bulldogs to Sandie Stadium on Friday, Sept. 16 for a gridiron matchup. The Sandies came into the game with a record of 1-2, while the Bulldogs came to town with a record of 0-3.
With the Sandies in a less than a hospitable mood after consecutive losses to Groveton and Buffalo
, the home team made quick work of their guests as they demolished the Bulldogs by a final score of 65-12.
The Sandies opened the game on defense and showed off an adjustment made last week in the second half when they changed to a more aggressive style of “D.” The defensive tweak paid dividends for Grapeland as they held Colmesneil to a three and out and forced a punt on the Bulldogs’ first possession.
After a poor Colmesneil kick, the Sandies took over on the Bulldogs’ side of the field. After a first down incompletion from Grapeland QB Rick Frauenberger, Riley Chipman found daylight a little running room and scampered inside the Colmesneil red zone. A loss of seven pushed the ball back to the 26 yard line but on third and 15, Frauenberger found Rodney Davis on a slant across the middle. Davis avoided one tackler, spun to his left and then outraced the Colmesneil defenders to the end zone. Frauenberger connected with Chipman on the try for two and with 7:51 left in the opening quarter, the Sandies led 8-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Grapeland’s Jaylen Humphrey was able to pounce on an onside kick to once again give the Sandies possession inside of Bulldog territory. On first down, Frauenberger was sacked by the Bulldogs, but on second down he found Chipman going across the middle. Chipman made the first two defenders miss and then weaved his way down the field for a 50 yard TD reception. After James Coleman hauled in a Frauenberger pass for the two point conversion, the Sandies led 16-0 and the rout was on.
The Bulldogs didn’t help their cause at all when they got the ball back. On their first play from scrimmage, Josh “Bear” Ackley broke through the line to corral Colmesneil QB Bryce Bray for a sack and forced a fumble. Teammate Tink McQuirter was closing in on Bray as he fumbled. McQuirter scooped up the ball and raced 48 yards, untouched, into the end zone. Chipman added the two point conversion to bring the first quarter scoring to a close with the Sandies up 24-0.
As the second quarter got underway, the Bulldogs began to try and run the ball right down the throat of the Sandies. Colmesneil was able to pick up good sized chunks of yardage as they moved across midfield and down to the Sandies 32.
Grapeland came up big on the defensive side of the ball once again when a pitch was fumbled by the Bulldogs’ Brodrick Jenkins and picked up by Coleman who raced 68 yards to pay dirt. Frauenberger kept the ball on the try for two and waltzed across the goal line to make the score 32-0 with 7:44 remaining in the first half.
The Grapeland “D” continued to play lights out in the first half and forced Colmesneil to punt on their next possession. The Sandies took over on their own 38 and after a two yard pick up from Humphrey, Frauenberger found McQuirter on a flare route. A devastating block from Keriun Davis on a would be Bulldog tackler sprung McQuirter as he turned up field and saw nothing but green grass between himself and the goal line. The senior wide-out raced 60 yards for his second score of the half and after the two point conversion from Frauenberger to R. Davis, the Sandies had pushed their lead out to 40-0.
McQuirter’s second score brought the first half scoring to a close and allowed AD/Head Coach Wayne Mahaffey to give some game-time experience to several of the younger players in the second half.
Grapeland opened the second half with possession of the ball and moved down the field, using their rushing attack. Frauenberger was able to add another score to Grapeland’s total when the Colmesneil line parted at the 10 yard line and the QB was able to scamper into the end zone to push the lead out to a commanding 46-0 margin.
The extra point attempt by Chipman was no good, but Chipman more than made up for the missed PAT on the Bulldogs’ next possession. Chipman picked off a pass with a one-handed, OBJ like snag and scored from 21 yards out. This time, he was able to nail the extra point to make the score 53 – 0.
Colmesneil seemed to be their own worst enemy throughout the game. On their very next possession, a fumble in the backfield was recovered at the Bulldogs’ 10 yard line by Jacob Barbosa. Two plays later, Humphrey was able to get to the edge and scored, extending the Grapeland lead to 59 points.
Colmesneil finally broke their scoring drought early in the fourth quarter as Jenkins scored a pair of touchdowns. The first was from six yards out and the second was from 54 yards out. Of note on the second TD, K. Davis ran down James from 20 yards back and tackled him just as he crossed the goal.
Javacia Shepherd added a late 53 yard touchdown run for the Sandies to make the final score 65-12.
After the game, Coach Mahaffey commented on his team’s performance. “We were able to get a lot of the younger players some playing time – some significant playing time – and they accomplished some things I feel will help us in the future,” he said.
Asked specifically about the play of the defense, the coach said, “We actually switched defenses last week. We started it in the second half (against Buffalo). We had been using it sporadically, but we went wholesale to it last week. We talked about it over the weekend and we decided we had to do something to be more aggressive. We’re playing a 3-3 defense now. We went from a reading style of defense to an attacking style. We felt we weren’t big enough or strong enough to play people head up, as we witnessed against Groveton and Buffalo. When we went to it against Buffalo, they had problems moving the ball against us. We talked about it and decided that was what we had to do.”
Mahaffey also commented on the play of Tink McQuirter during the game. “Tink had been suspended for a while, but he’s served his time and now he’s back in the fold. He had a big night with a 60 some- odd yard touchdown catch and a 50 yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. He also had some big hits on defense. He had a good night.”
Grapeland has a bye next week and will return to action on Sept. 30 when they welcome the Maud Cardinals to Sandie Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.