Since last year’s defeat to Liberty Hill in the regional semifinal, Sealy head football coach Shane Mobley preached to the group of rising seniors that from here on out, every second will count.
Every homework assignment, film study or decision they make outside of school and sports will play a role in how this season goes, and coming out of training camp this year, he thinks they’re right on track.
“It’s what we’ve been working for and the kids put in the time and it’s just starting now,” Mobley said. “We told them back in the spring that every second counts, everything that they do from here until the very last snap, whether it’s in December or October or whenever it is, everything they do from now until then counts. It’s gotta be important to them and they bought into that and it’s the same for the coaches.”
Speaking of the coaching staff, Mobley also brought up how grateful he is to only have been forced to replace two coaches on his sideline since making the transition to Sealy three years ago.
“It’s an easier transition going into our third year for the kids and the coaches,” he said. “I’ve been blessed; I’ve only had to replace two football coaches in basically two and a half years so that’s been really good.”
Although there have been minor adjustments such as those, some lineup changes on the field will look drastic with a few three-year varsity lettermen receiving their diplomas at the end of last year, although they don’t leave as many holes as one might think.
On the defensive side of the ball, AP all-state first-team linebacker Garrett Redden returns for his final campaign in Sealy along with Hunter Clark (AP all-state honorable mention linebacker) and Matthew Lord (first-team all-district defensive back).
Lord has also been taking a majority of the reps at running back and could serve as one of the options to help shoulder the load under center before Carter Cryan returns to the field. Reece Novicke and Draper Parker, who both played wide receiver and defensive back last year, have been working with offensive coordinator Chris Carruthers and look to factor into the quarterbacking decision to start the season.
On the offensive line, Jacob Evanicky earned AP all-state honorable mentions for his contributions at the center position and looks to take the next step in leading the battle in the trenches alongside Luke Thielemann and Cory Barrett, among others.
The rest of the positions will find owners soon as Mobley and his staff evaluates further through a couple of scrimmages before the Aug. 30 season opener.
Columbus and Edna’s squads made the trip to Sealy Aug. 16 and the Tigers went to the Royal Falcon’s place for another tune-up that will go a ways to finding out who it will be getting reps under the real Friday night lights.
“The scrimmages this year will be based more on evaluating some more of the younger ones and seeing where they’re at,” the coach said. “We know what the older ones can do, we can let them go and take 15 snaps and they’re going to be done, we’re not going in trying to win a scrimmage, we’re going in to evaluate.”
What they are here to do is not only win football games but reinforce the relationships cultivated on the small-town football field and that is something Mobley and his staff have certainly achieved in his short time here.
“To see all the faces, some of the kids who are returning, some of the kids who we haven’t seen a lot of this summer whether they were working or what have you, it’s just great to see them and get back into the swing of things,” Mobley said. “It’s fun to see them hug each other, see each other, see how their summer’s been going, all that little stuff.”
The coaches get to have some fun too, of course.
“For us (coaches) it’s another day in paradise to do what we’re blessed to be able to do,” Mobley said. “I was telling the seniors when we pulled up after practice and I said, ‘Congratulations, that’s the last time you’ll run 16 100 (yard sprints) as a Sealy Tiger; this is your last first day of two-a-days.’ Everything that they do from here on out is their last time and that goes back to the spring and you can see it, you can tell that they’ve done their deal I’m just proud of them, I really am.”