District-opening win

Tigers score four in first quarter, shutout Falcons until final minutes

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Coming off a bye week, the Sealy Tigers came out firing and scored four first-quarter touchdowns en route to a 43-8 victory on the road over the Royal Falcons to open play within District 12-4A-D2 in the win column.

Sealy sophomore quarterback D’vonne Hmielewski led four different receivers (Draper Parker – who also ran in a two-point conversion – Graham Samonte, Tyler Hennessey and Jakobe Davis) to the end zone to give the visitors a 29-0 lead with only a minute remaining in the first frame and senior running back Alvin Nunn added 7- and 46-yard rushing scores in the third quarter.

On the other side of the ball, the Tiger defense barred the Royal offense from crossing midfield until only 6:45 remained in the game. The Falcons finished the drive with their lone score of the game, a 14-yard pass from Andre Prophet to Derrick Gates, which was followed by a two-point conversion from Prophet to tight end Jeremiah Venson.

Hmielewski, who finished with 206 yards on 12-of-15 passing and 50 yards rushing on six carries, said Sealy’s offensive performance was a direct result of a great week of practice on the bye.

“Brookshire is a good team, but we just had the best week of practice we’ve had all year, a really good week of practice and we all knew we were going to connect,” Hmielewski said of the variety of receivers he found. “It was long overdue. We need to get the ball in their hands and into the end zone more and hopefully during these district games and playoffs that will happen.”

Davis led the receiving corps with three catches for 48 yards and Parker (47 yards), Haden Wernecke (35 yards), Samonte (33 yards) and Connor Krenek (4 yards) each hauled in a pair of receptions.

Tiger head coach Shane Mobley said the defense took advantage of the extra practices on the open week to get back to square one and drill home the basics of tackling.

“We were able to go back and reflect on the previous week on our open week where we tried to get back to basics, coaches did a great job going in and working the fundaments of tackling,” Mobley said. “We did a much better job this week tackling and securing the quarterback.”

Jonathan Monterroza led the unit with eight tackles, Ricky Avila added four and a host of Sealy defenders registered three tackles including Thomas Clark, Rhys Reichardt, Mason Klotz and Anthony Moreno.

The Royal offense totaled 127 yards with 84 of them coming on the ground. Derrick Gates led with 46 yards on nine carries, Matthew Green had 40 yards on 15 carries but Elbert Adams finished with one yard rushing on six carries and the quarterback Prophet registered negative three yards rushing on seven carries.

The Tigers’ passing offense was balanced by 170 yards rushing behind Nunn’s 76 yards on nine carries in addition to 16 yards from Mark Arriaga, 15 yards from A’vonte Nunn and 13 yards from Stevie Alvarez after offensive coordinator Chris Carruthers said they were able to simplify some things to produce better.

“In the last game we played, we felt like we found out some things in the second half against Bay City where we got rolling,” Carruthers said. “You’re not always able to dive into the numbers as deep as you want so during the bye week, we were able to take a breath and we saw some things we weren’t doing well and were able to make them a focus in practice.”

Sealy was able to execute in all facets of the game – having never had to punt while Royal’s Venson punted seven times for an average of 33.6 yards – to secure its first district win in its first try where many of the starters were able to rest in the second half.

“The great thing about all of it is that the starters are coming off refreshed and the guys who needed some work are coming off tired,” Mobley said. “First district win, a lot of things are going to happen, but we got through tonight, we’ll learn from this, turn around and get ready for Bellville.”

The next contest on the Tigers’ schedule is the Battle of Mill Creek rivalry game against the Brahmas who opened district with a 62-7 win over Wharton last Friday night. Bellville entered this week as the fifth-ranked Class 4A team in “Dave Campbell’s” state rankings and No. 1 in the Houston Chronicle’s media poll.

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