The Bellville Brahmas came on strong, grinding away nearly the entire first quarter with a 19-play, 98-yard drive that ended with the first points on the board.
By the final horn, those would be the only three points on the visitors’ side.
What the Brahmas took 11 and a half minutes to do, Sealy took 34.9 seconds to go about half the distance they did.
Senior Garret Zaskoda fired and completed his first three passing attempts to three different receivers to compile 50 yards before everyone switched sides to start the second quarter.
Once in the red zone, a pair of handoffs to classmate Ivan Bolden later the Tigers had six points on the board with the ball crossing the goal line on a 6-yard sweep to the outside.
The two-point attempt failed and that was about all the action from the first half, personified by the 6-3 score at intermission.
Sealy finally won a coin toss before the kickoff and deferred to the second half and put the right pieces together to end in the last ten yards of the field with a perfectly placed ball where only Clay Roberts could get to it, albeit laying out full-extension in the corner of the end zone.
Zaskoda chalked it up to the chemistry they’ve built since junior high, but more on that later.
When the Tigers got their paws back on the ball, Coach Chris Carruthers dialed up a little wrinkle, faking a screen pass and sending Roberts down the field.
Again the pair connected and again it resulted in the scoreboard operator pressing different buttons to put more points on the home side.
“In the second half we saw some things that they were doing in the secondary,” Carruthers noted. “Coach Rowe does a really, really good job of mixing things up but we saw one of the things he was doing so we were able to take advantage.”
Roberts expanded on that exploitation a little, giving it up to the guys in the white polos.
“Running the routes the coaches taught us and they’re calling them to where the defense isn’t so it worked,” he said with a smile despite not coming away with the homecoming crown.
One of the times it worked was that screen-and-go that was good enough for a 47-yard score where the ball was in the air for a while. What was going through Roberts’ head when it was up there?
“Don’t drop it,” he said simply.
From behind the line of scrimmage, Zaskoda saw it wide open and he mentioned he just didn’t want to ruin the open field.
“Just don’t miss it, don’t overthrow it don’t underthrow it,” he noted. “If you have to shut it down shut it down…wasn’t a perfect throw but as long as it wasn’t incomplete.”
The 19-3 score was the one on the scoreboard when the game entered the final frame which meant there was more work to be done.
Bellville started to put together a drive, moving down the field and completed the second pass on only the third passing attempt, an aerial pace unseen before Friday night.
The next time the ball was launched in the air, A.J. McGee camped under it and reached up for an interception and provided a return to set Sealy up at the Brahma 26-yard line.
It was just close enough to take a shot at the end zone and Zaskoda found his friend again, this time to put a three-score difference in the game with only 8:39 left to play.
Zaskoda mentioned that “junior high coming up together as a quarterback-receiver combo and just sticking with it and grinding every day,” led to the rapport that led to the hat trick of scores in the 80th meeting of these two teams.
It was more than just those two putting up points on the offensive side but it was also the defense not allowing any more points after the initial drive of the game.
That gets chalked up to the defensive strategy of Coach Shane Mobley, who mentioned that although the Brahmas threw some changeups his way, his kids were able to rally around and get on the same page in order to excel as a unit.
“They were doing a whole lot more misdirection off the bat that some of which we expected and some we did not,” he mentioned.
“We needed to make some adjustments and we did as they got closer down the field we made the adjustments we needed to in order to keep them out of the end zone…When we got in at halftime we were able to make some more adjustments that we needed to make with our front and secondary.”
He went on to talk about how in facing another ground-and-pound type offense, one little chink in the armor could lead to a lot more damage, but the Tigers were again able to corral the offense and minimize that damage.
After all, these first four games were really warmups, as the important ones that determine the playoff seeding coming next week.
Mobley mentioned that back-to-work mentality he instills in the program with tomorrow’s agenda already made up to start preparing for the Fulshear Chargers.
The district matchup is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., again in the confines of T.J. Mills Stadium.
Before the night was over, Coach Mobley met with both squads as one group and delivered a message of how proud he was of the brand of football this area boasts and that he will be a Bellville fan from here on out.
“Coach Rowe and I battled tonight, the communities got to battle and have their fun,” Mobley started. “But I promise you this: from this point, until this time again next year, anything Coach Rowe needs I’m here. We can get a lot more done as an Austin-County group as opposed to the hated rivals.”