Sandie Pride Burns Bright

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

 GRAPELAND – It has been said that Sandie Pride Never Dies (SPND) and on Wednesday night, Oct. 11, Sandie Pride was on full display as a throng of Grapeland Sandie fans gathered outside of Sandie Stadium for the homecoming bonfire.

For the first time since the late 1990s / early 2000s, the sky over the stadium was aflame with a maroon (okay – orange) glow representing a burning desire to beat the Overton Mustangs on homecoming this Friday, Oct. 14.

Hundreds of fans, band members, cheerleaders, coaches and football players assembled for the event and at approximately 8:30, GHS senior Tanner Keith stepped forward to thank the Grapeland Athletic Booster Club and Tim Howard for helping to organize the event.

“Right now, we’re 3-2. That’s not a bad start to the season but it’s time to hit the restart button against Overton. It’s our first district game and we know what we have to do,” he said.

Franco Rea was the next player to speak and he reminded the crowd that for many of the players seated on a flat-bed trailer, this was their last GHS Homecoming as a student.

“This is my second and final year at Grapeland High School,” Rea said. “I’m proud to say these have been the greatest two years of my life (so far). Like Tanner said, we’re 3-2 and everything now is re-starting. I think we can go three or four rounds in the playoffs and maybe even state!”

Cedarian Davis closed out the senior remarks and exclaimed, “Let’s get loud! It’s Homecoming! This is my last year with these boys. We can’t take an L. I told my momma we can’t lose! We gotta win!”

Following Davis’ comments, the GHS seniors wandered over to where the unlit bonfire stood waiting. While the cheerleaders cheered and the band played, the seniors placed torches at the base of the pyre and watched as the flames morphed into a 30-foot tower of fire.

As the flames began to die down, Grapeland AD/Head Football Coach Wayne Mahaffey said a victory over the Mustangs on Friday night would help set the tone for the rest of the season.

“It’s important because district play starts Friday night,” the coach told the crowd. “Overton is going to come over here – and we have a two-game winning streak. We need to continue that to get off to a great start and you can have a role in that. That’s by being there and by being loud. We look forward to seeing you there on Friday night!”

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.