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.
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.