GROESBECK – The state-ranked Grapeland Sandies (9-2) used long pass plays to build an early lead and went on to defeat the Frost Polar Bears (4-8) Thursday night in a Class 2A DII Bi-District playoff game at Groesbeck Stadium 63-14.
The Sandies, District 12-2A champions and ranked No. 7 in the latest Associated Press state poll, used the arm of QB BJ Lamb primarily in the first half. Lamb completed 11 of 16 passes for 376 yards and four touchdowns (45, 86, 75, 36).
Then they turned to RB Cadarian Wiley primarily in the second half. Wiley ran for 212 yards on 12 carries for two touchdowns.
On the fifth play of the game, Lamb connected with receiver Da Corian Bryant on a go-route up the left sideline for a 45-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Though Frost was forced to punt on its initial offensive series, the Polar Bears stopped the Sandies’ second drive. On second-and-five at midfield, Lamb hit Bryant along the right sideline for 15 yards. As Bryant churned for more yardage while defenders circled, Frost defensive back Ramon Manrrquez pried the ball away and cornerback David Alvarado recovered it.
As Grapeland built a 31-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, Frost was forced to punt three times and committed a turnover. Even the footballs seemingly bounced in the Sandies' favor. On Grapeland’s second touchdown, with 5:18 left in the first quarter, WR Keizion Ashford pulled in a reception on a deep post route. Pursuing from behind, Frost cornerback Korben Bowling punched the ball out of Ashford’s hands. The ball bounced off the artificial surface back to Ashford running in stride for an 86-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead.
“We say, ‘Believe’. Part of that is to keep competing even when you are down. We did that tonight,” said Frost coach Randy Fulton.
To begin the second quarter, the Polar Bears used runs by Manrriquez and passes by quarterback Tony Alvarado to move 63-yards in eight plays for a touchdown. On second-and goal from the 2-yard line, Alvarado ran behind blocks from LT Michael McLean and LG Christian Bryant for the score, cutting Grapeland’s lead to 31-7.
On the night Alvarado threw for 214 yards and a touchdown while facing blitzes throughout the evening. Meanwhile, Manrriquez rushed for 53 yards on 15 carries while catching six passes for 57 yards.
Later in the second quarter, Frost drove 83 yards on 11 plays for a touchdown. Facing fourth down and five at the Grapeland 16-yard line, Alvarado eyed twin receivers flanked right and pumped, but then he surveyed the field and found Preston Rasco running an outside curl down the left sideline. Alvarado threw the ball to Rasco’s outside shoulder for touchdown to close the gap to 37-14.
Frost, which was down to only 16 players because of injuries, ends a successful season under first-year coach Fulton, who led the Bears to the postseason for the fourth consecutive year.
Grapeland will play the winner of Cumby and Simms – James Bowie in an Area round playoff game.