Although Sealy had yet to lose a game, there were many regarding the best defense in the district being played by the Columbia Roughnecks, and Friday night certainly ended the discussion.
It served as likely the last time the senior class strapped up to play at T.J. Mills Stadium, and they came out of the gate hot, needing just over 10 minutes to rack up nearly as many points as Columbia had averaged in district competition leading up to Friday’s battle.
Owning an even 2-2 district record, the Roughnecks had allowed an average of 15 points in wins over Needville and Fulshear and losses to Bay City and Brazosport.
Ivan Bolden’s 6-yard rush and a 25-yard connection from Garret Zaskoda to Clay Roberts made things 14-3 with less than two minutes left in the opening frame.
In the following quarter, Bolden surpassed the 15-point average allowance from Columbia and racked up 18 points himself, registering a hat trick of scores.
A pair of scores came through the air (19 and 26-yard touchdowns) and the third was on the ground, a 55-yard jaunt right up the middle where not a single Roughneck managed a hit on him.
Not that the senior tailback needed any further motivation entering his final game on Mark A. Chapman field, but there was something else running through his mind pregame.
“The running back I’ve been competing with from Needville, when he played them he didn’t do so well,” Bolden said. “Coach [Shane] Mobley gave me a little talk saying, ‘If you want this team [Columbia] to vote you MVP of the district, you’ve gotta show out.’”
He did just that, hitting triple digits before the halftime intermission yet again while the defenders in black and gold did their jobs as well, holding a 35-10 lead after the first two quarters.
Heading into the matchup, Offensive Coordinator Chris Carruthers noted the Roughnecks’ defense was certainly on his mind and had a specific message for his guys.
“They pride themselves on defense and that’s what I told them; ‘When you score a lot on below-average defenses it’s fun, but these guys hang their hats on defense,’” Carruthers said. “So take pride in saying, ‘You’re a good defense, we’re good offense, we’re going to win.’”
Zaskoda added on to that, noting the team took at as more of a challenge.
“If y’all wanna say that then we’ll show y’all that you haven’t played a real offense yet,” he said, adding the defense was also able to do their job.
Roberts was on both sides of the ball all night long and mentioned, “it feels good knowing that we’re one of the top offenses and also feels good knowing we did better than the best defense on paper.”
Bolden added another score in the third quarter which pushed the score to 42-10, also pushing many of the reserves off the sidelines and into the game. That was one thing Coach Mobley mentioned entering this time of year with the playoffs becoming more and more secure with each week.
The second-stringers held things down for the most part except for a fourth-quarter score from Luke Arias, which ended up bookending things with a 42-17 score on the board and a celebration from the fans watching the last game in T.J. Mills Stadium this year.
After the win, all of the members of the senior class in attendance linked arms and walked out to midfield where they all congregated; soaking in those last moments of the fall season which saw all four teams clinch a playoff berth.
“To be honest with you, it sucks,” Zaskoda mentioned when asked how it feels to be walking off the field one last time, albeit victorious … “That makes it a little better,” he added.
Bolden included that it felt like just the other day was his debut in that stadium, noting, “To everyone younger than me, don’t take anything for granted because it goes by quick. I remember it like yesterday I played my first Sealy Tiger football game in seventh grade, it goes by real fast.”
All of the sudden we’re heading into the final game of the regular season and the district title will be on the line this week, signaling another postseason for a fall sports team.