The Sealy Tigers once again raced out to an early lead but this time around their opponent did not go away so easily.
The host Tigers won the coin flip and deferred to the second half, giving the ball to the Boerne Greyhounds first.
A negative-one yard run and two incompletions led to a punt from Cole Boyd who served as quarterback, defensive back and punter throughout the afternoon.
Sealy started at its own 32-yard line to start and meticulously worked down the field, concocting an 18-play drive that ended with a 10-yard hookup from Garret Zaskoda to A.J. McGee.
The Tiger defense again only trotted onto the field for a short run gain and a pair of incompletions, forcing another punt from Boyd.
Starting with similar field position, Sealy again landed in the end zone courtesy of an Ivan Bolden run from only a couple yards out in which he still drove defenders back over the goal line to make the score 14-0 not even 10 minutes into the game.
The Greyhounds formulated an answer and needed only eight plays to travel 87 yards to pay dirt, mainly helped out by Boyd’s first four completions of the game, all to Paul Amick who also caught the score from 25 yards out.
On the Tigers’ first play of scrimmage following that touchdown, Bolden broke tackles near the line of scrimmage and the rest was history as he burned 60 yards of turf behind him to put the score up to 21-7 in favor of Sealy after the first quarter.
It wouldn’t take long for him to secure the hat trick, registering a 14-yard run where he would not be denied the end zone.
But Boerne did not go quietly into the night and rotated in Rashawn Galloway at quarterback to supplement Boyd and the freshman Galloway completed his first two throws of the game, the second of which found Julio Riggs for a 20-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 28-14 heading into the halftime break.
Coming out of intermission, the Tigers started the second half with the ball and Offensive Coordinator Chris Carruthers wanted to open things with a bang and called a double-reverse where Zaskoda ended with the ball and heaved one downfield for Bolden.
In triple-coverage the ball bounced off one Greyhound defender and into the hands of another, setting Boerne up in Sealy territory. Six plays later they were in the end zone courtesy of another Pool rush, making it a one-possession game.
“I was being aggressive, maybe it was a bad call but I was trying to be aggressive and that put them within a score,” Carruthers said after it was all said and done.
“We haven’t played a lot of close games but there have been a lot of games where it’s been a seven or 14-point game and our kids, they don’t get rattled they just come out and answer,” Carruthers finished.
Zaskoda personified that never-bothered mentality, saying simply; “I wasn’t worried about it. I knew the defense was going to step up and then we’d go back out there and it’s just another drive but we knew we wanted to take a shot out of the gate and we did, it just didn’t work in our favor,” he said with a shrug.
Soon enough he led another scoring drive, taking 12 plays to find the end zone after handing it off to Bolden to plow through the one yard he needed to put the Tigers ahead 35-21 with time running out in the third.
Zaskoda poured it on after that, connecting with Draper Parker on a beautifully-placed ball that led #15 right under the pass and right into the end zone to further widen the gap.
The defense provided another stop, this time thanks to an interception from Matthew Lord who had been sidelined the last few weeks with a lower-body injury. Before the game his status was, “Dependent on the flow of the game,” but he made sure to make an impact on the game, finishing with a trio of tackles as well.
However, Sealy was unable to get out of its own territory and faced a fourth down when time ran out in the third frame.
On the first play of the final quarter, kicker David Ponce-Gomez was on waiting for the snap but it was angled too high and rolled all the way back near the Tiger goal line before he picked it up and was quickly met by a group of Greyhounds.
Not long after, Pool found the end zone again from only a yard out to again cut into the deficit to make the scoreboard operators show 42-28 with 11:23 to play.
Time was running out for a Boerne comeback and Zaskoda wanted to make it even tougher so he decided to find Clay Roberts from 27 yards out to convert on fourth down and further push away the visiting Greyhounds with just over seven minutes left.
But before it was over, the defense had to get in on the fun and Brendan Luff supplied his second score of the season, intercepting a pass and returning it all the way over the goal line making for quite a special moment for one family member in the stands.
“This was the first game my Dad was able to see me play football so it meant a lot for me,” Luff said.
His score was an important one as well since it bookended the attack and counter-attack, as the scoreboard read 56-28 with time ticking under six minutes to play.
Not long after the reserves made their way off the bench to preserve the game and advance Sealy to the Regional Semifinals to await the winner of Liberty Hill and Gonzalez.
Before that though, another trophy was hoisted and the Tigers were sure to show their appreciation to the fans who came out and there were certainly plenty of them.
After that, Head Coach Shane Mobley was quick to praise his players once again for prevailing through hardship.
“Our kids, the way they played today … they saw some adversity we saw some new plays and they handled it,” he said simply.
When asked how it feels to still be undefeated, he said; “Right now we don’t have any options, we have to stay undefeated. It’s no longer about the 12-0 or whatever, right now it’s about going out and executing the ballgame and trying to get the win.”
They were able to do just that after Mobley said his defenders executed the plan to the highest of their abilities.
“It’s the kids executing the game plan and our defensive coaches did a great job for what we did this week,” Mobley said. “We knew we had to take #5 [Douglas Hodo] out of the game and Carter Cryan stepped in even though he hasn’t started since the first couple of games and that’s not to say he doesn’t deserve to start, that’s just the game plan, different kids fit different game plans.”
Mobley was able to put together a winning one from the defensive side while the offense under Coach Carruthers put up similar numbers to last week.
Coming off the 55-0 win over Taylor, Carruthers told his players they were looking for another high output like that saying; “Last week we had 55 [points] and over 500 yards so during the week we told them, ‘Hey we want 50 and 500.’”
Sealy was able to live up to what they were asking, putting up 56 and 512 yards this week, formally putting the Liberty Hill-Gonzalez matchup in their sights.
The winner of that game will meet the Tigers in the Regional Semifinals next week at a time and location to be determined still.