For the fourth year in a row, the Sealy Tigers came out victorious from the Battle of Mill Creek rivalry game with the No. 5 Bellville Brahmas by a 31-28 final score thanks to Sealy sophomore quarterback D’vonne Hmielewski’s 7-yard touchdown run with only 1:59 left to play.
The visiting Brahmas rallied from a 21-7 halftime deficit thanks to a 1-yard Richard Reese rush and a pair of quarterback sneaks from Jake Lischka which put Bellville in front, 28-24, with 5:12 remaining in the game.
The Tiger coaching staff knew more than 21 points were going to have to get the job done anyway and offensive coordinator Chris Carruthers talked about what went into the game-winning drive which included big connections to senior receivers Connor Krenek (10 yards) and Draper Parker (11 yards) and complementing runs from classmate Alvin Nunn (11 and 4 yards).
“We had five minutes and 70 yards to go. We ran a run play just to get them to take a deep breath then we threw the ball a little bit and then we put the ball in his hands,” Carruthers said. “For him to do that in that moment as a sophomore … for him to orchestrate that five-minute drill and to move the ball and be cool under pressure, that’s pretty special. That’s something you really can’t teach and he is really good but he’s going to be really, really good as time goes on.”
Hmielewski said he had all the confidence that the play was going to work, that’s why he suggested they run it.
“I saw the defense line up and I saw who was on the left side of the line, I’m the one who called the play I told coach to call it so I knew it was going to get in,” the quarterback said. “I wasn’t going to let them stop me from getting the touchdown right there.”
The underclassman said the significance of the win was beginning to settle in postgame but he was happy to get the job done alongside his teammates.
“I want to be on this high forever but everybody was doubting us,” Hmielewski said. “They’re ranked fifth in the state, it was 80% to 20% that we were going to win, everybody was betting against us – even our school was betting against us – and we won so it feels good.”
Although he threw an interception, Hmielewski finished with completions on 12 of his 15 passing attempts for 175 yards and added 82 rushing yards on 25 carries. Alvin Nunn supplied 65 yards on 12 carries and A’vonte Nunn chipped in 14 yards on three carries although Parker finished with -7 yards rushing.
Parker, however, caught a 51-yard touchdown pass as part of a nine-catch, 96-yard performance to lead the receiving corps. Jakobe Davis (49 yards) and Krenek (27 yards) each hauled in a pair of receptions and Graham Samonte added a three-yard catch.
For the Brahmas’ offense, Reese compiled 220 yards rushing on 23 carries with two scores to lead the unit. Robert Briggs carried three times for 62 yards and Kyle Peschel registered three yards on three carries. Although Lischka supplied a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs, he finished with -30 yards rushing on eight carries after a bad snap and a sack on the final play which sealed the game for the hosts. Lischka also completed all five of his six passing attempts to Briggs for 22 yards.
Defensively for Sealy, Lane Holley collected seven tackles and Mason Klotz recorded six to lead the Tiger defense. Clayton Prazak had five, Brooks Redden and Jackson Osborne had four each, Thomas Clark added three and Tyler Hennessey and Krenek recorded two tackles apiece.
For Bellville, Logan Cruz led the way with nine tackles, Garrett Babylon had six tackles, Brett Heintschel added four tackles, Rex Aschenbeck chipped in three and a host of Brahmas registered a pair, including Brandt Okonski – who recorded the interception – Lane Hayslip, Tyler Fishbeck, Cole Powell and Salvador Reyes.
Bellville entered the game No. 1 in the “Houston Chronicle” small school media poll and No. 5 in “Dave Campbell’s” state rankings for Class 4A-D2 but Sealy head football coach Shane Mobley told his team this matchup was only akin to David and Goliath if they see them that way.
“My pregame talk was about David and Goliath and I said, ‘I don’t know if we’re facing Goliath tonight. It depends on if you see them as Goliath then that’s what they’re going to be,’” Mobley said. “I challenged them to play the big dog and our kids responded and did really well, this is going to be one of those fun games to go back and there’s going to be so many mistakes because those guys will make you look bad defensively and we know what we’re going to be facing in the future but we’ve got to finish this off, we’ve got to at least get another win.”
The next chance for the Tigers to collect a district win comes next week on the road against the Sweeny Bulldogs who took down the Wharton Tigers, 56-13, Friday night to move to 1-1 within District 12-4A-D2.
“To see our kids tonight, that’s all the needs to be said. It’s huge I can’t tell you the feeling from seeing what the kids did all week for our school it’s big,” Mobley said of the magnitude of the win. “The next win needs to be just as big, it’s big for our kids to see and believe we can do this.”