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Sandies open season Friday

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081822 Grapeland open seasonGrapeland's offense tries to punch the ball across the goal line inside the red zone during last week's scrimmage against Cushing in Sandie Stadium. Photo by Larry Lamb

Grapeland Sandies traveled to Bullard on Friday for their second scrimmage against the Brook Hill Guard after a productive outing last week with Cushing.

Grapeland opens the season Aug. 26 on the road against Frankston and then closes out non-district play with three straight home games against county rival Lovelady on Sept. 2, Bremond on Sept. 9 and Groveton on Sept. 16.

The Sandies travel to Timpson on Sept. 23 for their District 11-2A DI opener.

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Bulldogs 'focused' in first scrimmage

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081822 crockett preseaon

By Larry Lamb
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A 120-mile bus ride to Elysian Fields didn't negatively affect the Crockett Bulldogs in their first preseason outing last Friday,
"Once we got there and got the kids settled into the locker room, we walked through our offensive and defensive preparation. The main thing was they were focused really good and when we took the field there was a lot of energy," said Bulldogs head coach Alton Dixon. "It was great to see the offensive and defensive coaches supporting each other.”

Dixon said the biggest takeaway from the scrimmage was the Bulldogs' ability to run the football between the tackles.
"We didn't go out with a big bunch of things we wanted to do on offense. We ran some downhill stuff but we didn't run our quarterback," said Dixon.

Dixon cited several "explosive" offensive plays on carries by running backs Corey Simon, Tywoin Delane and freshman Peanut McKnight. Simon had a 30-yard run and Delane caught a 25-yard pass in the end zone from senior flinger Jadyn Collins. "That was a beautiful pass by Jadyn and our pass protection was excellent," said the coach.

Collins, a first team all-district honoree, was 3 of 9 but had several dropped passes. "Four of the passes were dropped and two other times he was flushed out of the pocket and still managed to throw a catchable ball. He did a great job leading," pointed out Dixon.

On the Bulldogs' first play of the scrimmage, Collins threw to a wide-open receiver for a sure touchdown but the ball was dropped. Another pass on a bootleg to a wide-open receiver was dropped.

"We had several plays like that, so the focus right now is catching the ball. We're catching 100 balls a day to get better," said Dixon. "Jadyn did a really good job of leading and encouraging the receivers when they didn't make the catch. The remarkable aspect for me was seeing him take ownership and still have a positive outlook. He played amazing."

Sophomore running back Damian Griffin didn't play football last year but has worked hard in offseason and summer conditioning. "He's busted his tail and I'm very happy to see his pass protection and his blocking," said Dixon. "There's some finer things he's got to learn to get better. I loved the way he approached the game and the way that he ran."

Rating the Bulldogs' defensive performance, Dixon said, "We had 11 hats to the ball. Our safeties Corey Simon, Kalan Kalra and Dylan Porter were all amazing making plays but there's a lot of room for us to grow and get better.”

Crockett's defense got off to a rousing start on Elysian Field's first offensive play when cornerback Peanut McKnight picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown.

Elysian Fields' only score was a touchdown pass late in the scrimmage during the red zone segment.

Dixon had high praise for the defensive line comprised of defensive end Jim Carruthers, nose guard Blake Jones and defensive tackle/offensive guard Karmond Robinson.

"Jim played like a man. He set the edge and they had to cut back on their stretch because of the way he played. Blake annihilated their center several times," said Dixon.

Jonathan Lockhart played “very fast” and graded the highest in the scrimmage, Dixon added.

Mike linebacker Zandrick Anderson played a solid game getting the defense settled and lined up. Bryson Burton played well at his new position of outside linebacker.

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Alto ruled ineligible for postseason football

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081122 no alto postseason football

Alto High School was declared ineligible for the 2022 Texas high school football playoffs after the UIL executive committee ruled that the school turned in an incorrect enrollment number, according to a report by Texas Football.

The UIL executive committee met Tuesday, Aug. 2 via teleconference to determine whether Alto violated Section 351 of the UIL constitution, which covers enrollment as it relates to conference realignment. In October, Alto turned in an enrollment of 163 students to the UIL, which caused the school to move from 2A Division I to 2A Division II, where the

Yellowjackets were placed in District 11-2A Division II.

The UIL executive committee ruled that Alto's true enrollment number was 166 — just three more than its submitted number, but enough that it would move Alto above the 164.5-student threshold for 2A Division I. The UIL ruled that because Alto was placed an incorrect alignment due to its inaccurate enrollment number, it would therefore be ruled ineligible for the 2022 football playoffs.

The controversy centers around three students who attended classes prior to Oct. 30 — Snapshot Day, the date upon which schools calculate their enrollment for submission to the UIL — but backdated their enrollment dates to Nov. 2, when they would not factor into the school's enrollment number.

The ruling also puts Alto's 2023 postseason status in jeopardy. The Yellowjackets would be eligible for the postseason in 2A Division I next season, but they would need unanimous consent of both their current district (11-2A Division II, with Tenaha, Price Carlisle, Mount Enterprise, Overton and Cushing) and the Division I district they wish to join.

First-year coach Brock Grisgby, most recently the offensive coordinator at Center, took over the Yellowjackets on Feb. 22 after Lance Gamble resigned after just one season. He is Alto's third coach in three seasons. As a result of the postseason ban, Alto will miss the playoffs for just the second time since 2003 and just the third time since 1991.

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'Meet the Lions' slated at Lovelady

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081122 meet the lions

"Meet the Lions" will be held Monday, Aug. 15 at Lovelady High School starting at 6:15 p.m.
A cake auction is planned and spirit shirts will be available for purchase.

Sack meals consisting of a barbecue sandwich, chips and a drink will be sold during the event.

Everyone is invited to come meet the athletes and kick off the new school year.

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Sandies host Cushing Friday

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081122 Sandies ScrimmageA defender strips the ball during Grapeland's intersquad scrimmage Saturday morning in Sandie Stadium. The Sandies are hosting Cushing on Friday for their first preseason tune-up. Photo by Larry Lamb

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