Grapeland’s Tanner Keith (70) battles a Frost Polar Bear during last week’s 64-6 non-district victory. (Jeff Gayle/HC Courier Photo)
By Jeff Gayle HC Courier Sports
ATHENS-- The first play of the game at Athens' own Cardinal Stadium Friday night was a long pass to Grapeland freshman BJ Howard from junior quarterback Rick Frauenberger that went in and out of Howard's hands. The crowd groaned and after a quick 6-6 start to the game it looked like a long night was in store.
But the Sandies shook off their losing dust though and went on to ice the Frost Polar Bears at a neutral field 64-6.
The Sandies won the opening toss and after the Howard drop the team quickly moved from their own 47 yard line downfield with quick passes to Howard, and runs by Frauenberger and Brayden Cheatham. Cheatham started the game right with a nice nine-yard TD run and after the failed PAT the score stood 6-0 Sandies with 9:28 in the first.
Once again, as has been their motto, the Sandies tried the onside kick and once again it failed giving the Bears great field position at the 50 yard line. After a defensive stand and a fourth-and-long the Polar Bears got a first down at the Sandie 20 on a questionable interference call. In two plays Frost QB Antonio Alverado ran the ball in for the TD. The PAT was no good and the score was knotted 6-6 with 5:00 left in the first.
On the kickoff Sandie Tyrin Wylie surprised everyone -- especially the Polar Bears -- when instead of calling a fair catch on a pooch kick, he returned the ball all the way for a 55-yard TD. Once again the 2-point PAT was no good and the score moved to 21-6 Sandies with 4:55 in the first.
Josh (Bear) Ackley kicked to the Frost 31, where the Sandie defense decided to get tough for the night. Cheatham, Ackley, Tanner Keith, Jesse West, and Chanellor Francis among others stopped the Polar Bears and forced a punt. Starting at their own 38, quick passes to Dylan Duhon, and runs by Brannon Bedre moved it to the Frost 43. Frauenberger tossed a quick-out to BJ Howard who shot through the Polar Bears for a quick TD. The PAT failed and the score was 18-6 Sandies at the end of the first quarter.
After Ackley's kick the Bears started at their own 33 but Chaneller Francis and Aaron Davis shut them down with sacks and the Sandies were in business again after a short punt at their own 46. Cheatham shot through for 15 yards and aided by an illegal horse collar tackle the ball moved to the Frost 26. Passes to Tyrin Wylie and Howard took it to the 3 where Frauenberger called his own number for the TD. Ackley scored the PAT on a quick reverse and the lead widened to 26-6 Sandies with 8:00 left in the half.
After another defensive stand the Polar Bear punter inadvertently touched his knee down giving the Sandies great field position at the Frost 42. Bedre ran for 12 and Howard caught a pass to the 21. On first down Frauenberger zipped a nice rocket to Ackley who caught it over his shoulder for the TD and after a failed PAT the gap widened to 32-6 Sandies. After Ackley, Cameron Mixon and James Coleman stopped a fourth down attempt, the Sandies started at their own 39. Ackley caught a beautiful pass of 40 yards and then on first down Bedre ran strong for the 29-yard TD. The PAT failed and the halftime score stood at 32-6.
The Sandie band did a great job at halftime entertaining both sides (Frost had no band) with their new marching moves! The Polar Bears started at their own 37 yard line after the second half kick but on first down James Coleman stepped in front of a pass for the interception. Ackley was a one man show catching a 27-yard pass and ending the drive with an 11-yard reverse for the TD. The PAT was no good and a blast of the Polar Bears in progress, 44-6 with 9:28 in the third quarter.
The Sandie defense had some new faces in the game who helped shut down the Polar Bears. Ty Hamlin, Jaylen Humphrey, Deco Bryant, Cooper Sheridan, Cameron (Camo) Navarette, Kaden Dupree, and Kezion Ashford hung tough to keep the Bears in check. After another short punt set the Sandies up at the Bear 39. Bedre was on a tear running his way through Frost and finishing the drive with a 14 yard TD. Frauenberger ran in for two and it was 52-6 with 4:30 in the third.
After two unsportsmanlike penalties and an ejection of a Frost player the Sandies kicked from the Bear 40 yard line and the team started at their own 25. The defense led by Blake Howard, Ashton Henry, Cedarian Davis, Franco Rea and Jacob Barbosa again forced a punt. BJ Howard went in at QB and combined with Humphrey to move the ball quickly. A fumble was picked up by Howard who rambled in for the 32 yard TD. The point-after failed again and the score was 58-6 to start the fourth.
Mike Dancer got into the action forcing a fumble and Jay Shepherd turned that into a nice 25-yard jaunt for the TD ending the game mercifully with the clock being run out by the Sandies with an awesome final score of Sandies 64, Frost 6.
After the game Coach Wayne Mahaffey was all smiles saying, "It was nice to get every player some quality playing time tonight". He went on to say that after some early nerves he was proud of the way his team settled down to business for a good win. "Always nice to have a big win", was Mahaffey's quote of the night.
This was a needed victory for the Sandies going into their off week with a road game against the Maud Cardinals after that and then district starting.
PLAYER AWARDS Offensive Player of the Game was Brannon Bedre with 8 carries for 76 yards and two TD's. Defensive Player of the Game was James Coleman with 13 tackles (four for a loss) and an interception. Overall Player of the Week was Bear Ackley with 3 receptions for 97 yards and 1 TD, one rushing TD, a 2 point conversion and numerous tackles on defense.
Sophomore Trayvon Sandles (14) cuts back on a defender, continuing a great season on the ground against the Madisonville Mustangs. (Barrett Steed/HC Courier Photo)
By Barrett Steed HC Courier Sports
The Crockett Bulldogs faced off against the tough-to-beat Madisonville Mustangs on Friday, September 22.
After two weeks on the road and a Saturday Showdown with Trinity in week one, the Crockett Bulldogs returned to the Monte Jack Driskell Stadium for a Friday Night Lights battle with the mighty Madisonville Mustangs in week four. The undefeated Mustangs have been rolling over opponents this season and the Bulldogs looked to level their record. At the end of four hard fought quarters, Madisonville prevailed over Crockett, taking home a 59-21 victory.
Friday's game marked the debut under center for the senior quarterback Marcus Smith. With Smith taking the snaps, senior Derrick Sherman and junior AJ Owens were able to present a pair of tremendous outside threats.
The Bulldogs would get the ball to begin the game. Madisonville's kicker booted the ball well into the endzone and Crockett set up shop on the 20 yard line to begin their first drive. Two hard runs from Sherman put the Bulldogs within 4 yards of the first down marker, but an incomplete pass in the third down set up for a Crockett punt to end their first series.
Crockett fought hard in their first defensive stance. Junior Michael Chance and sophomore Allen Horace made their presence known quickly on the defensive line. Sherman continued to be a threat on both sides of the ball making two consecutive tackles to force Madisonville to contend with a fourth down. But the Mustangs had an answer for fourth down in their kicker who would strike from 29 yards for the first points in the game, putting Madisonville over Crockett 3-0 with eight minutes remaining.
A quick drive from the Bulldogs resulting in a punt poised the Mustangs for another first quarter score, giving Madisonville a 10-0 edge to start the contest.
In the second quarter of play, the Mustangs continued to drive the ball downfield. Senior Ledarrion Jones came up with a big tackle on third down to keep Madisonville out of the red zone. Three consecutive first downs from the Mustangs would be halted by physical stops by seniors Jamorris Whitsey and Darren Hubbard on the defensive line forcing Madisonville to stare at a long third down. And a great play from Horace to disrupt a Mustang runner brought set up another fourth down halt by the boys in blue. However, Madisonville would capitalize on their first drive of the quarter, picking up three points after cashing in on another field goal to stretch the score 13-0.
Throughout the first half of play, the Mustangs would tack more points on the board, scoring 24 unanswered points in the first two quarters and forcing Crockett to have a long walk back to the locker room.
Coming out in the second half, the Bulldogs hit the field determined to put points on the board. A huge touchdown from the Mustangs to kick off the second half would not put out Crockett's second wind and the Bulldogs would begin their first scoring drive of the contest after a hard fought return by LT Tryon was called back and would set the offense up at the 10 yard line. Smith would step into his role as quarterback, finding the speedy Owens for a hefty pick up of 21 yards. Facing third down later in the drive, Smith found Sherman over his shoulder, throwing a strike behind the line of scrimmage. The senior would take the ball 69 yards to cross the goal line, capping off a one minute 90 yard drive for the Bulldogs' first points of the ball game, bringing the score 31-6.
The Mustangs wasted no time in answering Crockett on the scoreboard, but the Bulldogs offense was back at it again in their second drive of the quarter. A great kick return from sophomore Trayvon Sandles allowed Crockett to set up shop on the 27 yard line. Smith connected with Sandles on the first play of the drive for a short gain and get another pickup after finding senior Marcus Shedd downfield. Smith rotated through his receivers, picking up a first down on a pass to Horace down the sidelines. Despite the great progress through the air, a heads up play from a Mustang defender to intercept the pass would halt the drive.
With the offense firing on all cylinders the defense looked to become more of a factor in the contest. After allowing huge gains on the ground, the Bulldogs dug in their heels in the red zone. Big hits from senior Tyress Anderson and sophomore Keyshaun Decorian would allow Crockett to come up with the ball on a fumble recovered in the endzone, stopping what would be a scoring drive and taking the ball over on the 20 yard line. The Bulldogs would be unable to get anything going in their final possession of the third quarter and Madisonville capitalized once more on another big drive, moving the score 38-6 in favor of the Mustangs.
Madisonville began the fourth quarter with an explosive 51 yard touchdown, continuing their relentless momentum. And after a huge kick off recovery by the Mustangs at the 7 yard line was overturned on an onside kick penalty a collective sigh settled over the stadium and the Crockett offense would go to work in the fourth quarter.
The consistently hard-working freshman Jalyne Carruthers made a hard-running return to the 43 yard line to give the Bulldogs great field position. Smith would find his favorite receiver of the quarter junior Demarcus Richardson for a decent pick up through the air. Smith then followed up with a sideline strike to Sherman for a 22 yard gain and put his offense inside the red zone. The senior would then find Shedd again for a short pick up. Two plays later, Smith would field a snap on the ground and after a series of cutbacks, make to the opposite side of the field for a touchdown on the ground. He would find Anderson for the two point conversion and help the Bulldogs to their second touchdown of the game making it 45-14. In Crockett's final drive of the game, a huge return from Sandles across midfield, put the Bulldogs a the Mustangs' 48 yard line. After an incompletion, Smith would find Rchardson again, nearly picking up the first down. He would then connect with Shedd to near Madisonville's redzone. The next play, Smith would scramble in the backfield for close to 10 seconds before finding Richardson deep into the red zone, poising Crockett for another score. Smith would get the ball into the hands of Richardson at the 13 yard line and the hard-running senior would take the ball to the house for the third and final score of the game, capping off a 52 yard drive.
With the Crockett Bulldogs' offense coming alive at the end of the game, the damage had already been done. As the Madisonville Mustangs kneeled the ball twice and the final seconds ticked away with the boys in blue taking a 59-21 loss at home.
Quarterback Derrick Sherman (1) scoots around the left side on a two-point conversion in the season opener against Trinity on Saturday. (Photo by Barrett Steed/HC Courier)
By Barrett Steed HC Courier Sports
CROCKETT—The Crockett Bulldogs opened their regular season against the always tough to beat Trinity Tigers on Saturday, September 2.
After a grueling offseason, the Crockett Bulldogs kicked off pre-conference play against the Trinity Tigers in an exciting week one matchup and prevailed 30-22. Despite Harvey's best efforts dampening the Friday night lights, a relocation to the Monte Jack Driskell Stadium afforded both squads and fans a clear and sunny and perfect Saturday afternoon of high school football.
The Bulldogs' offense would get the first look on the field, setting up at the 32 yard line after a decent return from sophomore Trayvon Sandles. Senior Derrick Sherman stepped under center to lead Crockett in their first drive. Consecutive grinds from Sherman and a sweep from Sandles put the Bulldogs across midfield, setting up for a 27 yard scamper to the red zone by senior Victor Simon. Three tries later, a seemingly botched play would turn into six points as a cutback from Sherman and great block by senior Tyress Anderson capped off the sixty-eight yard drive with the first touchdown of the game. A two-point conversion gave Crockett an 8-0 edge over the Tigers with eight minutes remaining in the quarter.
Senior LT Tryon would make his presence known early, stifling the kick returner at the 23 yard line. The defensive line led by seniors Mario Monsivais and Darren Hubbard would not make ball movement easy for the Tigers and an excellent third down stop by Sandles forced Trinity to punt the ball away.
Crockett looked to make the most of their early second possession with junior AJ Owens in as quarterback. Despite hard-earned yardage from Owens and junior Malik Johnson, the Bulldogs would not be able to capitalize on the drive, turning the ball over on downs. With just under five minutes remaining, the Bulldog turnover would seemingly give new life to the Tigers. But a continued effort by the Crockett secondary and containment by sophomore Allen Horace and senior Reginald Lockhart would keep Trinity from crossing the midfield and turning over on downs.
Both squads would swap possession of the ball in the final two minutes of the quarter and both would have no effect on the scoreboard with Crockett able to maintain an 8-0 lead in the first. Trinity came out fierce in the second quarter of play. Great pass rushing by Horace would keep the Tigers on the ground and a Monsivais sack forced the Tigers to face a fourth and long situation. An opportune screen pass by Trinity would catch the defense off guard and result in a 53 yard touchdown play. The conversion would be no good, and Crockett kept their lead 8-6 over the Tigers.
The Tigers would recover a fumble near Crockett's red zone and begin their second scoring drive with excellent field position.
Excellent defensive efforts by Horace and junior Dae'Javon Bibbs would back Trinity up to the 42 yard line and force the Tigers to contend with fourth and long. But the Tigers would claw back with a hard strike to the end zone, taking the lead through the air, converting their fourth down into six points. This time the conversion would be good, giving Trinity a lead over the Dogs 14-8.
Crockett looked to battle back and erase the deficit, but an interception in the end zone would squash a great drive. With less than two minutes, the Big Blue defense would need to step up before the half. Pressure from Lockhart would force the Tigers to stare at third and long. A monster tackle by senior Jack Meadows would breathe wind into the fans and allow the Bulldogs to earn one more possession in the half.
With half the field between the offense and the end zone and just over a minute remaining, the Bulldogs needed to be perfect on the field. A quick but substantial gain of yards on the ground by Owens would kick start the offensive momentum. Owens would keep the ball again, this time sweeping for big yardage. Set up at the 20 yard line, Owens found Horace for the second Bulldog touchdown. The two-point conversion pass from Owens to sophomore Christian Brice would be good, and Crockett once again had the lead 16-14.
In the final play of the quarter, Trayvon Sandels would get the crowd going with an interception to lead the Bulldogs into the half.
With the two squads trading blows in the first half, the start of the third quarter would not disappoint. Trinity would convert another fourth down for big yardage, setting up in the Crockett red zone. Senior Jamorris Whitsey would make a big tackle forcing an uncomfortable third down, but the Tigers' running back found his way to the end zone to regain the lead 22-16 over Crockett.
Down but not out, the Bulldogs answered almost immediately. In a three play drive, Sherman would connect with Owens for a sixty-seven yard completion to put Crockett back on top. The two-point conversion gave the Bulldogs a little breathing room as they lead Trinity 24-22. Back on top, Crockett looked to disconnect the phone on the Tigers who have been answering the Bulldogs touchdowns for touchdowns all afternoon. A great kick from Sanchez to give Trinity unenviable field position thanks to a joint tackle from Tryon and Lockhart re-invigorated the Crockett defense. Hubbard would again make his presence known on the defensive line, but a quick completion from Trinity earned a first down. Great pursuit by Brice and Tryon proved consequential for the Tiger offense forcing a second down and very long. Another huge hit from Meadows on the quarterback, causing a fumble, helped put the nail in the drive, forcing Trinity to punt the ball as if they did not want to hold it anymore.
Both teams would trade possessions in the final minutes, and a huge fumble recovery by Horace gave Crockett another chance to tack on some insurance in the quarter. Setting up at the thirty-nine yard line, Sherman would find Owens at the end zone for a spectacular touchdown catch, stretching the Bulldogs lead 30-22.
In the final quarter of play, the Tigers would attempt to get something going, but the Crockett defense was now firing on all cylinders. After an eight-minute plus drive from the Tigers, the hard-hitting and unrelenting Bulldog defense forced a turnover on downs. In Trinity's final possession, a heads up play by Owens to recover a bobbled pass, hauling in an interception to give Crockett the ball with less than two minutes remaining. A series of kneels and the afternoon's contest would end with a Crockett Bulldogs' win over the Trinity Tigers 30-22.
Latexo’s varsity volleyball team consists of (front l-r) Madison Kelsey, Jordan Davenport, Diana Maza; (back l-r) Harli Brent, Bailey Ingle, Baylee Granberry, Alyssa Coad and Aliya Lane.
Latexo volleyball coach Katie Brown started her second season with a young squad, but she's been thrilled with the early results. In their first two matches of the season, the Lady Tigers posted hard-fought five-game decisions over Groveton and Crockett, a pair of class 3A opponents.
Hosting Crockett on Friday Aug.11, the Lady Tigers outlasted their Houston County neighbors 22-25, 25-15, 19-25, 25-21, 16-13. "We're a very young team. I only have one senior, two juniors and the rest are all sophomores," said Coach Brown, who graduated three players off last year's squad.
Three of the returning players were All-District performers last season.
Senior Jordan Davenport, a First Team All-District honoree, is playing libero this season.
Sophomore Baylee Granberry, a Second Team All-District choice, plays setter/outside hitter.
Junior Alyssa Coad, who received Honorable Mention, is an outside hitter.
Other varsity players are junior Bailey Ingle, middle; sophomore Aliya Lane, outside hitter, and sophomore Madison Kelsey, rightside hitter. Moving up from the JV are Diana Maza, setter, and Harli Brent, middle.
"The first game against Groveton we had to shake the rust off of our game play, but then the girls got into the swing of everything. It was nice to see them pull back into their normal routine of playing volleyball. I'm excited for this year," said Brown.
Latexo competes in District 22-2A, which includes No. 1 ranked and two-time defending state champion Iola. Centerville was second last year, North Zulch third and Normangee fourth.
With district play starting in just three weeks, the Lady Tigers had a Tuesday night match with Elkhart before making their first tournament appearance at Groveton on Thursday and Saturday, Aug. 17 and 19.
Preseason football drills in Texas are normally associated with scorching summer heat, but players hitting the practice field in Houston County on Monday were treated to unusually mild temperatures that remained in the high 70s to low 80s.
With seasonal temperatures forecast to return later this week, players and coaches are bracing for the inevitable dog days of summer.
After the mandatory four-days of acclimatization, players will strap on shoulder pads for the first time Friday as the intensity level is turned up a few notches.
BULLDOGS Crockett Head Coach Jimmy Thompson said 57 prospects reported for duty Monday, but he's expecting a few more late starters.
"We'll get a lot of teaching and technique work done these first four days of conditioning," said Thompson.
The Bulldogs are picked to finish second in their district, but have to fill some key positions left vacant by graduating seniors.
Two-a-days are held from 8 a.m.-10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the Bulldogs work in the weight room. An abbreviated workout Saturday starts at 9 a.m. Two scrimmages are scheduled before the season opener at Trinity on Sept. 1. The Bulldogs will host Elkhart on Aug. 18 and travel to Woodville on Aug. 25 for their final preseason tune-up.
LIONS Lovelady Head Coach Jon Lowery welcomed 40 players to the first day of workouts.
"Forty is the number we were shooting for and that's right where we're sitting," Lowery said Monday morning.
"Two years in a row we graduated not only big, but very talented senior classes," said Lowery. "We've got a lot of holes to fill, but we've got a lot of young, eager kids out here and they're ready to step up to the challenge."
The Lions' two preseason outings are scheduled Aug. 18 at Trinity and Aug. 25 at home against Normangee.
Since the Lions have an open date for Week 1, they won't kick off the season until Sept. 8 when they travel to Anderson-Shiro.
Sandies Grapeland Head Coach Wayne Mahaffey had 33 players on the practice field Monday morning.
"We're just a few under the number we had the first day last year, and maybe we'll pick up a few in the next day or two," said Mahaffey.
The Sandies are working out from 8 a.m. until noon through Friday and will report Saturday morning at 8 o'clock for a short workout
Both of Grapeland's preseason scrimmages will be home appearances. Brook Hill School (Bullard) comes to town on Aug. 18 and then Trinity visits Sandie Stadium on Aug. 25. The Sandies host Kountze for their season opener Sept. 1.