Grapeland Falls to Hearne, 59-14
By Will Johnson
TRINITY – The Grapeland Sandies opened their postseason last Friday as they traveled to Trinity to take on the Hearne Eagles. The Sandies had opened the season 6-1 and appeared to be in good shape after taking down Groveton and Alto in the first two weeks of District 11-2A DI.
Unfortunately, the Sandies were hit hard by the injury bug and limped into the playoffs as the number four seed out their district.
The Hearne Eagles, on the other hand, came into the Bi-District contest with a 10-0 record and a #8 ranking in Class 2A.
With a bye in the last week of the regular season, the Sandies were able to heal up somewhat and many people believed they just might be able to pull an upset. Initially, it looked as if the Sandies just may be able to pull off the surprise win but as the game progressed, the injuries began to take their toll and the Sandies fell by a final score of 59-14.
Grapeland opened the game with possession of the ball at their own 24-line and on first down, Cadarian Wiley reversed his field and picked up 12 yards. Returning from injury, Sandie QB BJ Lamb connected with WR Riley Murchison on back-to-back plays to set up a third-and-four.
Murchison moved under center while Lamb moved into the slot on the next play as the Sandies ran an end around to Lamb who picked up 15 yards to move into Hearne territory at the 48. An offsides call against the Eagles was followed by a seven-yard pick up from Lamb. A completion to Michael Dancer moved the ball to the Eagles’ 29 and on the next play from scrimmage, Wiley broke free for a twisting, turning run that ended in the end zone. The try for two was unsuccessful, but the Sandies had drawn first blood with a 6-0 lead.
The Eagles first possession began on their own 43. On first down, QB Micah Smith threw incomplete but on second down Jecory McGrew rushed for 11 yards. After that, the Sandies defense stiffened and forced the Eagles to punt.
Grapeland took over at their own eight but could only get out to the 25 where they were forced to kick.
Hearne took over at their own 29 and got to midfield on three straight carries from McGrew. Milton Redmon powered his way for 21 yards and then Smith added 12 to move inside the Grapeland red zone.
Redmon picked up seven to move the ball inside the 10 and then Smith took it the rest of the way to tie the game at six.
The Sandies responded on their next possession. Starting at their own 29, Lamb connected with Dancer for 31 yards down to the Hearne 40. On the next play, Wiley picked up 10 but as he tried to pick up extra yardage, the ball popped loose and Hearne pounced on it.
Jeremy Seymore moved the Eagles out to midfield and then Smith gained 20 to move the ball to the Grapeland 34. After McGrew gained five a controversial call seemed to give Hearne the momentum. Smith kept the ball on second down and worked his way down to the one where he was blasted and appeared to fumble the ball.
The Sandies appeared to recover but unlike the Wiley fumble, the officials ruled Smith was down and gave the ball back to the Eagles. On the next play, Seymore plowed across the goal line to make the score 12-6 with 9:57 remaining in the half.
The Sandies went three-and-out on their next possession but on the punt, Davon Castilleja returned the ball to the Grapeland 21. On the next play, Smith kept it and raced 21 yards for a touchdown. Smith connected with Jeremiah Gurode on the try for two and with 7:54 left in the first half, Hearne now led 20-6.
As the first half began to wind down, the two teams exchanged turnovers with Grapeland taking over at the Hearne 39 with less than two minutes left in the second quarter. Lekerian Smith gained five yards on first down and then Wiley added 10. An offsides call against Hearne moved the ball inside the Eagles’ red zone, but Grapeland was stymied on fourth down when a hook-and-ladder play came up just shy of the first down as time ran out in the half.
The Eagles opened the second half with possession of the ball at the Grapeland 49. On first down, Smith completed a 44-yard pass to Jabari Dunn and on the next play from scrimmage, Seymore scored from five yards out. Smith converted the two-point attempt and the Eagles extended their lead to 28-6.
A three-and-out was followed by a 21-yard field goal from Omar Leon to make the score 31-6 with 9:51 left in the third.
Following an exchange of possessions, the Sandies turned the ball over at their own 31. Smith picked up six on first down and on third-and-four he connected with Castilleja on a 25-yard TD. The extra point was good and with 3:48 left in the quarter, the Eagles now led 38-6.
Grapeland’s next possession ended in disaster when a fumble was picked up by Redmon and returned for a TD.
Hearne added two more scores before the Sandies managed to find the end zone with 31 seconds left in the contest when Smith busted up the middle for a nine-yard TD. Wiley completed a pass to Cooper Sheridan for the two point conversion, but that was as close as the Sandies would get as they fell by a final score of 59-14.
The loss ends the season for Grapeland with an n overall record of 6-5. This season did mark the sixth consecutive time Grapeland has made the playoffs which is a school record.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.