Home News Local News Grapeland Sandies Bounce Back from Heartbreaking Loss 

Grapeland Sandies Bounce Back from Heartbreaking Loss 

Grapeland Athletic Director Jordan Wood

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND –  No player or coach ever wants to lose. However, sometimes it seems the deck is just stacked against you. 

The Sandies took on Frankston Friday, Aug. 26 with a final score of 22-24. The Sandies played hard, but some questionable calls late in the fourth quarter were enough to give Frankston the victory. 

Sandies Head Coach and Grapeland ISD Athletic Director Jordan Wood understood the calls ruined the Sandies chances. The Frankston coach realized that too. 

“He came over to us after the game and said, ‘Hey, we wanted to win but we didn’t want to win like that,’” Wood said. “He was heartbroken for us. He told us that.”

Wood knows coaches must take the good calls with the bad. It was the first game for the officials too, which might have led to some missed calls. 

“They missed some calls throughout the game,” Wood explained. “One was our touchdown. It was definitely in. Everyone has film now so we all saw that, with three different angles. It is game one of the year. I think they just got caught up watching the game.”

In spite of the officiating, Wood recognized that no game comes down to only questionable calls. 

“It hurts when those calls all come back to back at the very end of the game,” Wood said. “With that being said, we shouldn’t have put ourselves in that situation. We should have made a couple of plays earlier in the game so we didn’t end up in that situation. We have to do a better job of executing so the officials can’t play that big of a role in the outcome of the game.”

Wood nevertheless was proud of his team. Despite the loss and some of the referee calls, morale stayed high. 

“I was very proud of the kids. We fought the whole game,” Wood noted. “There were so many times they could have laid down. After struggling on offense, we went down and scored in the last couple of minutes of the game to take the lead back. We got a two-point conversion. They battled all night and they represented us really well. It was the best I have seen us compete and carry ourselves since I have been here.”

“Even when we got back to the locker room after that tough night, I had kids coming up to me saying they had more fun in that game. That they felt more like a team than they ever have,” Coach Wood said. “That’s what we worked on doing here. Our culture is right. I think that’s the biggest difference we are making as a coaching staff – fixing the culture. It’s fun to see.”

This Friday night, Sept. 2 will pit the Sandies against Houston County rival Lovelady Lions. It should be standing room only on the Grapeland field and Wood knows this is an important game. Wood noted the schools are similar in size and well matched. 

“You can’t make predictions when it’s a bunch of teenagers playing a football game,” Wood laughed. “It’s going to be a great matchup. These two schools are right across from each other. Lovelady is a physical team that plays whistle to whistle. Watching the films I have been very impressed with their physicality. They just play really hard – we do too and I am really excited. This game has been circled on my calendar for a long time. This is a game I am really looking forward to. It’s a game that needs to be played.”

Wood’s philosophy is to make sports a learning experience for the kids – an experience he hopes will translate into other areas of their lives and futures. 

“I want them to be successful in life. I don’t want their best years to be their high school years. I want to set them up to be successful. If they can apply the lessons we teach here – and apply that to their work life or to their family life – they can do things right all the way without cutting corners. And they can be successful.”

Wood is committed to his staff and to his kids. For him, the mission is greater than the job. 

“It can be stressful at times. There are no set hours. You work until the job is done. I am in a position now where I could go and do other things and maybe even make more money,” Wood concluded. “I feel like what we do here in public education makes a difference. I don’t think I could make the impact or the difference in any other profession. I am very proud of what we have done here as a staff.”

Greg Ritchie can be reached at greg@messenger-news.com

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