Led by two of the premier rushers, Jamie Jordan and Darold Turner, the Grapeland Sandies sat at the top of Class 1A in 1974 after defeating Aledo 19-18 in the state championship.
A decade highlighted by five district titles – three under Head Coach Jim Payne – was fulfilled in 1974 on the field of Wildcat Stadium in Temple. The Sandies led 19-6 through three-quarters thanks to a 46-yard touchdown pass from Preston Dunn to Howard Brown in the second quarter, a four-yard touchdown pass from Dunn to Chock Holcomb and a two-yard touchdown run from Jordan in the third quarter.
Grapeland survived an attempted fourth-quarter comeback from Aledo who had scored 12 unanswered points on a 14-yard touchdown run and a 29-yard touchdown pass. On their final scoring drive, Aledo elected to go for the two-point conversion, which would have put them in front 20-19 with 51 seconds left.
Instead, Jordan stuffed Aledo’s running back on a toss play right side. A failed onside kick from Aledo on the ensuing kickoff stamped Grapeland’s first state title in program history. Jordan finished as the team’s leading rusher with 83 yards on 16 carries.
Jordan capped off his senior season as Class 1A’s leading rusher at 2,237 yards and 32 touchdowns. Darold Turner rushed for another 1,789 yards and 17 touchdowns. Turner also led the state in interceptions with 15.
Grapeland’s route to the state championship included a 27-0 bi-district win over Blooming Grove, a 27-6 regional finals win over New Diana, a 9-0 state quarterfinals victory against Groveton and a 23-21 state semifinals win over Falls City who had reached the state semifinals the year prior.
The Sandies finished the season with an undefeated record of 14-0-1. Junior standouts Terry Herod and Darold Turner led Grapeland to a third straight district title in 1975 and another state tournament appearance. Grapeland was defeated 23-19 by Groveton.
In 1975, Turner finished fourth h in the state in rushing yards with over 4,000 on the season.
He was named an All-State defensive back and upon his graduation from Grapeland signed to play football with the Southern Methodist University Mustangs as a linebacker.
While at SMU he lettered both in 1978 and 1979.
Coach Payne finished his coaching career in 1975 before then beginning his career in Education Administration. Payne moved to Bruceville-Eddy ISD in 1976 serving as the Superintendent of Schools there until retiring in 2002.
Players on Grapeland’s 1974 state championship football team include Terry Steadman, Jack Roberson, Charles Ray Walker, Charles Walker, Jeff Brown, Wayne Duhon, Scott Yates, Terry Herod, Chock Holcomb, Mark Huff, Tim Brown, Darold Turner, Ronnie Murphy, John Lewis, Preston Dunn, Henry Wagner, Gary Herod, Stanley Pennington, Richard Kleckley, Ralph Browm, Ricky Stutts, Doug Murray, Bill Matthews, Jamie Jordan, Ferron Howard, Willie Walker, Alvin Harvey, Milton Scoggins and Howard Brown.
Coaches were Jim Payne, Ivy Evans, Mike Jacobs, Carl Saxon and Charles Frizzell.