UIL’s 10th football district of the big school division of 1A has been loaded since realignments went out about a year and a half ago. Dave Campbell’s group picked it out as one of the toughest districts in the conference, and thus far it has lived up to all of its high expectations. West Sabine of Pineland, Texas, has creamed everybody, and San Augustine has been a dark horse mounted by an ironclad, touchdown-wielding football knight. Alto as well has played primo football, and the rest of the district—Grapeland, Shelbyville, and Cushing—have all just gasped for breath beneath the tide of 10-1A DI.
Alto (5-3, 2-1), a team laden with playoff wins and state championships over the past decade, comes to the table ready to send a message to the naysayers that though they aren’t the Yellowjackets of 2006 or 2007, they’re still the rich historied team that has eyes set on winning big wherever they go.
They facilitated that goal well as they visited Grapeland (2-6, 1-2), routing the Sandies 57-20. In what was a very lopsided victory, Alto was able to capitalize on Grapeland’s mistakes and turn them into scoreboard lights.
Alto entered halftime with a 40-0 lead over Grapeland, which was much attributed to the passing talents of quarterback Zach Sturns and the ground pound running of Jacolby Whitaker. One of those scores, though, came from a 32-yard Alto fumble recovery when Sandie quarterback Isaac Lewis mishandled a snap that fell into the grasp of Javie’Ontae Mumphrey. The Sandies, a team with a stigma attached to their turnovers, gave the ball to Alto seven times on the night, and twice the turnovers were turned into Yellowjacket scores.
The second half proved a good deal more successful for the Sandies, who picked up a 7-yard touchdown by way of Shaun Walker’s legs with 4:26 left in the third. Alto responded with a 27-yard field goal by Nicolas Leon to push the score up to 50-7.
Mounting another drive, the Sandies managed another score by Shaun Walker from 13 yards out, but Alto wasn’t far behind with a Jyran Shaw 25-yard run. The final touchdown of the game came from a one-yard Isaac Lewis goal line over-the-pile dive to seal the score at 57-20.
One noticeable difference on the part of the Sandies was the utilization of a new defensive scheme, which often included no down linemen.
Alto Head Football Coach Paul Gould was excited about the win and what it meant for the Yellowjackets’ journey through one of the UIL’s toughest districts.
“It’s such a big deal to win these district games,” said Gould in a postgame interview. “Playing against Grapeland, as competitive as they are, it’s good to get the win. They never stopped attacking all night, so it’s good to continue with another win.”
Grapeland will next face Shelbyville (4-4, 1-2) at home on Friday. Alto will also stay home to face the San Augustine Wolves (3-6, 2-2).
Alto 57, Grapeland 20
Alto 12 28 7 10 – 0
Grapeland 0 0 7 13 – 0
A – Javie’Ontae Mumphrey 12 pass from Zach Sturns (kick failed)
A – Jacolby Whitaker 2 run (kick failed)
A – Tyarius Hackett 49 pass from Zach Sturns (Nicolas Leon kick)
A – Javie’Ontae Mumphrey 32 fumble recovery (Nicolas Leon kick)
A – Jacolby Whitaker 15 run (Nicolas Leon kick)
A – L’Darius Pope 69 pass from Zach Sturns (Nicolas Leon kick)
A – Fumble recovery in Grapeland end zone (Nicolas Leon kick)
G – Shaun Walker 7 run (Jaques Faulk kick)
A – Nicolas Leon 27 kick
G – Shaun Walker 13 run (kick failed)
A –Jyran Shaw 25 run (Nicolas Leon kick)
G – Isaac Lewis one run (Jaques Faulk kick)
First down 16 17
Rush-yards 167 147
Passing yards 214 17
C-A-I 9-15-0 8-21-1
Fumbles-Lost 7-6 5-3
Punts-avg. 1-42 4-32
Penlties-yards 7-70 2-20
Rushing — A: Jacolby Whitaker 11-51, Zach Sturns 10-60, Keenan Johnson 6-36, Willie Skinner 1-4, Jyran Shaw 1-25. G: Shaun Walker 10-51, Isaac Lewis 18-24, Trevelon Hart 6-8, Riley Chipman 6-62, Jaques Faulk 1-2.
Passing — A: Zach Sturns 9-14-0-214, Keenan Johnson 0-1-0-0. G: Isaac Lewis 7-20-1-67, Jaques Faulk 1-1-0-3.
Receiving — A: Javie’Ontae Mumphrey 2-31, Tyarius Hackett 2-60, L’Darius Pope 2-92, Jyran Shaw 2-19, Leroy Lewis 1-12. G: Shaun Walker 2-22, Jacolby Simpson 4-38, K.J. Campbell 1-0, Riley Chipman 1-10.