Grapeland, Lovelady Affected

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – With league play set to begin on Sept. 28, District 12-2A DII teams received a bit of a surprise on Wednesday, Sept. 19 when it was announced the Sabine Pass Sharks had cancelled the remaining games on their 2018 football schedule.

At this stage of the season, this means it will be unlikely the other teams in the district will be able to schedule another opponent and will have an extra bye week. The district is comprised of: the Burkeville Mustangs; the Colmesneil Bulldogs; the Evadale Rebels; the Grapeland Sandies; the Lovelady Lions; and the West Hardin Oilers.

A press release from Sabine Pass AD/Head Coach Jason Thibodeaux explained the cancellation decision.

The press release stated: “I am writing this morning to provide and share an accurate communication regarding the status of the Sabine Pass Varsity football team. On Monday, Sept. 17 the school superintendent, principals and myself met to discuss the future of the varsity football team as related to the 2018 season. When discussing the team, student safety was the utmost priority.”

“With low numbers and numerous injuries already sustained this season,” the media statement continued, “it was decided that playing at the varsity level would expose student athletes to a higher risk of injury and that participation posed a serious safety threat. Sabine Pass will continue to grow the middle school program that will directly lead into the high school program. We, as a district, have the obligation to provide each student with a safe learning environment, both in the classroom and on the competition field. This decision was based on the love and care of our students.”

Thibodeaux said the team started the season with only 15 players.

As a result of the season cancellation, the Sandies will be off for two of the final three weeks of district play.

Grapeland AD/Head Coach Wayne Mahaffey commented, “It creates a problem for us. We had a bye during week eight and now we have an open date in week 10. So, one game in three weeks is hard to deal with.”

Lovelady AD/Head Coach Jon Lowery had mentioned the possibility earlier in the year and added, “That game was scheduled for our senior night. It is very disappointing.”

With the Sabine Pass season cancellation, the Sandies will be off on Nov. 9 while the Lions will be off on Nov. 2.

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