For only the third time this year, the Sealy Tigers did not hold a lead after the first frame.
But at each of those halftimes, the opposing team has never retained their lead at the break.
Although Bellville took nearly the entirety of the opening quarter to kick their field goal and the offense took a little extra to get going in Freeport, the black and gold battled back to take leads into intermission.
That wasn’t entirely the case in Bay City as a pair of Ivan Bolden touchdown runs of 49 and 9 yards were answered with a passing connection from Dylan Davidson to R.J. Mitchell with only 16 seconds showing on the clock to make the halftime score 14-all.
It was a brand new game with an even score and two full quarters in front of them and Head Coach Shane Mobley took somewhat of an unconventional approach to firing his guys up.
Offensive assistant Ray Dabney noted that Mobley didn’t get in anyone’s face or had to rely on swear words or anything of that nature.
The calm message was instead focused on the love and hard work the coaches had been putting in with the players; “No matter if they go out and score all the points and win 50-14, or we win 50-14, you will still have all these coaches coaching their tails off to make you successful next week,” Dabney paraphrased.
That clearly did the trick as the defense pitched a shutout in the second half while the offense continued to churn the ball out and chew up yards and clock while finding the end zone again to make it out of reach.
Despite some kicking falters, it was the defense that stood tall, adjusting their points-against-average to only 13 on the season in the third straight week of capping opponents at only 14 points all game.
Going into the game, there was a heavy focus on caging the true dual-threat quarterback of the Blackcats in Davidson. Mobley mentioned a trio of game plans residing in his back pocket, waiting for the right moments to arise.
The first had an emphasis on taking away the running ability of the signal-caller but Mobley brought up a vulnerability to the running back (Mitchell) who instead took the majority of those carries and wound up gashing the defense for 127 yards on 12 carries, one of which serving as the only other touchdown the hosts scored.
Mobley was able to adjust, however, preaching to his defenders to just stay their lane and do their job and it was that buy-in and ability to adapt under pressure that was able to seal the deal while the offense put three more drives into the end zone with one of them finding a player who had yet to see those final 10 yards of the field this year.
Hunter Clark caught each of the three passes aimed at him for 32 yards including the 7-yard score that took back the lead for Sealy in the third quarter. A.J. McGee was on the receiving end of a successful two-point conversion which proved to be an important extra point.
When McGee found the end zone for a full six points at the end of a 31-yard scoring connection, David Ponce-Gomez missed the first of two extra points in this second half.
All was forgiven when Bolden added another score on the ground, this one from 25 yards out to boost his total to 156 over 23 carries and the score to its final resting place at 34-14.
It was a little bit of finishing some business from last year, a nine-point defeat on the same Blackcat Memorial Stadium last year, and a further widening of the gap in the district standings with only Columbia and Needville left on the schedule.
The final home game of the regular season will close out this week with the 5-3 (2-2) Roughnecks coming to town for the 7:30 p.m. kickoff.