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Big Plays Key Grapeland Homecoming Win

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Sandies Defeat Overton Mustangs, 40-24

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

 GRAPELAND – It was Homecoming for the Grapeland Sandies as they opened league play in District 11-AA DII on Friday night. The Sandies were riding a two-game winning streak in which they scored over 60 points in both games. Overton, meanwhile, limped into Sandie Stadium with a record of 0-5.

With all the distractions of Homecoming and Peanut Festival, it would have been easy to overlook the Mustangs based solely on their record. Coach Wayne Mahaffey knew going into the contest this could be a trap game for Grapeland and he had his squad well prepared as they handled the task at-hand and defeated the Mustangs by a final score of 40-24.

The gridiron tussle had an earlier start time because of pregame Homecoming ceremonies. The Homecoming Court included queen contestants: Kylee Puga; Callie Richburg; Jennifer Fajardo; Jennilea Lovell; Aaliyah Sims; Madelyn Conner; Janassiah Creag; Alysha Williams; Keana McKnight; and Deana McKnight.

The king contestants were: Tanner Keith; Case Boyd; Brett Roop; Aaron Davis; Ashton Henry; Brayden Cheatham; Franco Rea; Jesse West; D’Angelo Colter; and Cedarian Davis.

The 2017 Grapeland High School Homecoming Dukes and Duchesses were: Dukes – Tyrin Wiley (Jr.); Decorian Bryant (Soph.); and Brandon Howard (Fr.). The Duchesses were: Hannah Chipman (Jr.); Keaundra Harris (Soph.); and Cheney Boyd (Fr.).

After the court had been introduced, Jennilea Lovell was named as the 2017 Homecoming Queen and Brett Roop was named as the 2017 Homecoming King.

Following the pregame festivities, the two teams got down to the business of playing football.

The Sandies won the coin toss, elected to receive and marched right down the field to score on the game’s opening possession as Sandie QB Rick Frauenberger connected with a wide-open Josh “Bear” Ackley for a 14-yard score at the 10:01 mark of the first quarter. Ackley knocked home the PAT to stake the Sandies to an early 7-0 lead they would never relinquish.

That was all the scoring in the first quarter and it wasn’t until the 9:06 mark of the second when the Mustangs’ came to life, offensively. Overton QB Jaylon Shelton connected with WR Luke Osburn for a 45 yard completion, down to the Grapeland four yard line.

The Overton QB/WR combo struck again two plays later when Shelton found Osburn in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point attempt was no good and kept the Sandies ahead, 7-6.

It didn’t take long for the Sandies to extend the precarious one-point lead. After a failed onside kick-off attempt from the Mustangs, the Sandies took over at the own 48-yard line. On the very next play from scrimmage, Brannon Bedre took a handoff from Frauenberger, found the edge of the defense and turned up field for a 52-yard rumble into the end zone. Ackley’s extra point was good and made the score 14-6 at the 8:59 mark of the second quarter.

The Mustangs followed up on the Grapeland score with one of their own. Overton stayed on the ground as Shelton and RB Hudson Rogers gobbled up big chunks of yardage to move into the Grapeland red zone.

From there, the Mustangs gave the ball to Colby Sanders who took it the rest of the way to pay dirt. The try for two was no good but with 4:57 remaining in the half, the Mustangs had cut the lead to 14-12.

Once again the Sandies responded with a scoring drive of their own. Starting at their own 39, Bedre picked up eight and Frauenberger added another 12 on the ground. Bedre added six more to his total on the next play and then Frauenberger found James Coleman for 12 yards down to the Mustangs’ 16 yard line.

Frauenberger followed that up with his second TD pass of the first half as he found Ackley once again for a 16-yard scoring strike. Ackley’s extra point was good and closed out the first half scoring with the Sandies ahead, 21-12.

Once the halftime show concluded, the Mustangs opened the second half with possession of the ball at their own 31. Overton drove to the Sandies 31 but on fourth and one, Grapeland’s Tanner Keith threw an Overton running back for a two yard loss to give possession of the ball to the Sandies.

After a holding penalty pushed the ball back 10 yards, Frauenberger connected with James Coleman on a 40 yard completion. Frauenberger lost five yards on the next snap, but turned around and hit Cheatham for 34 yards down to the Mustangs’ one yard line.

Grapeland couldn’t punch it in as penalties and an errant pass from Frauenberger gave the Mustangs new life at their own 21.

On the next play after the interception, Overton returned the favor and fumbled the ball away. Decorian Bryant pounced on the loose pigskin for Grapeland and three plays later, Bedre found the end zone for his second score of the night. Ackley’s PAT extended the Grapeland lead to 28-12 and brought the third quarter scoring to a close.

Following the Sandies score, the Mustangs roared back as they drove the length of the field and cut the lead to 10 on a five-yard run from Rogers.

The Overton TD made the score 28-18, but the Sandies were in no mood to allow a comeback. After the kickoff, Grapeland was flagged for holding and started their possession at their own 37. On first and 20, Frauenberger dropped back to pass and saw Coleman had gotten behind the Mustang defense.

The QB lofted a pass Coleman was able to run underneath and then outrace the defenders to the end zone to make the score 34-18. The extra point attempt was no good.

The Mustangs scored again the next time they touched the ball as Shelton connected with Nathan Palmer for a 23-yard TD.

The Sandies returned the favor on their first play from scrimmage after the kick. Just as in the first half, Bedre took a handoff from Frauenberger, found the left edge of the defense and sprinted 62 yards to the end zone for his third TD of the night to end the game’s scoring with Grapeland ahead by a final 40-24 margin of victory.

After the game, Coach Mahaffey commented on his team’s performance. “I thought we played very well on offense. I knew coming into tonight, they played the interior run very well, but we were able to get the outside running game going and we were able to get some big plays out of that.”

“Plus,” he continued, “We were able to get some big plays by throwing the ball the way we do. We missed B.J. (Howard), but James Coleman had a big night for us. That’s what you need in situations like this is for someone to step up.”

Defensively, Mahaffey said the Mustangs like to do what hurts the Sandies defense the most which entails pounding the ball between the tackles.

“They have a power running attack with a big offensive line, but I think we held up well for most of the night. I’m pleased with the way we played overall,” he said.

Individually, the coach singled out Tanner Keith as a player who had a big night for Grapeland.

“On the defensive line, Tanner had a big night but there were some other guys who played well. I thought Ashton Henry played well and made several plays from his defensive end spot. Aaron Davis at linebacker made some big hits and had some big stops as well. There were several guys – probably more than that – who stepped up and played hard,” he said.

Mahaffey was also asked about the performance of Brannon Bedre who had over 150 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.

“Brannon did that last week when he had over 140 yards rushing and three TDs. He just continued what he got started. He’s gotten comfortable in the offense and we’ve found how to use his skills. He had another big game tonight and that’s what we expect out of him as we go forward,” Mahaffey said.

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