Third Quarter Explosion Keys Win
By Will Johnson
EVADALE – If you listened closely, you could hear the whispers of how the Grapeland Sandies were probably going to have trouble against the Evadale Rebels on Friday night. The Rebels had a preseason All-State running back and the game was in Evadale. The Rebels also had only one loss and that was to a Class 4A team.
Sure, the Sandies were ranked #5 in Class 2A. They had beaten Evadale 41-6 in 2018 and ended the Rebels season with a 28-27 playoff win in 2017. But this was going to be Evadale’s year, right? Wrong.
The Sandies made the two plus hour journey to Evadale on Sept. 27 and left no doubt who the better team was as they whipped the Rebels for the third year in a row, this time by a final score of 49-12.
Evadale started the game with the ball and chewed up more than half of the first quarter as they kept the ball on the ground. The Rebels managed to make it across midfield, but that was as far as they could go.
After an Evadale punt, the Sandies took over possession at their own 40-yard line. On their first play from scrimmage, Head Coach Terry Ward dialed up a jet sweep. Wide-out Keizion Ashford took the handoff from QB BJ Lamb and saw nothing but green grass ahead of him as he scampered 60 yards for the game’s first score.
The two-point conversion was good and with 4:57 left in the first quarter, the Sandies took an early 8-0 lead.
On the Rebels’ next possession, Evadale launched a drive deep into Grapeland territory. The Sandies’ defense stiffened, however, when the Rebels moved into the Grapeland red zone and forced a turnover on downs.
Starting at their own 10-yard line, the Sandies began an 18-play drive. The drive featured a third and 11 situation where Cadarian Wiley picked up 29 yards, a fourth and 19 where Lamb connected with Cooper Ward for 22 yards and a fourth and two where Lamb got just enough yardage to keep the drive alive.
Two plays after Lamb picked up the first down, Wiley barreled his way across the goal line for six. The try for two was good and with 2:44 left in the half, Grapeland led 16-0.
With time becoming a factor in the first half, a fumble by the Rebels gave the ball back to the Sandies at the Evadale 44 with 45 seconds left to play. Lamb connected with Cooper Sheridan for 29 yards on first down and then Wiley took the rock the rest of the way as he scored form 15 yards out to put Grapeland ahead 22-0 at the end of the half.
After the break, the Grapeland offense exploded in the third quarter. On the second play from scrimmage, Lamb kept the ball, made one man miss and took off on a 41-yard TD run at the 10:58 mark of the third quarter.
Dameion Smith bulled his way into the end zone for the two point conversion which pushed the Grapeland lead to 30-0.
The Rebels finally got on the board as running back Will Farr got untracked with a 45-yard scamper for an Evadale TD to cut the lead to 30-6 at the 8:36 mark of the third quarter.
The Sandies answered back as they drove the length of the field with Wiley picking up the last five yards to make the score 36-6. Five minutes later, Wiley was back in the end zone to extend the lead to 42-6.
To their credit, Evadale never stopped fighting as they scored to start the fourth quarter when Klay Sylvester connected with Bryce Tousha on an 11-yard scoring strike.
Deco Bryant closed out the scoring for Grapeland as he came in at QB and scored from four yards out to make the final score 49-12, after Ashford’s PAT.
The Sandies return home this Friday as they take on the Burkeville Mustangs at Sandie Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 pm.
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.