After four lead changes over 4:36 in the second quarter, the Sealy Tiger football season-opener against the Navasota Rattlers looked like it might turn into a shootout at T.J. Mills Stadium Friday night. Two more scores for the visitors in the second half, however, provided the edge for Navasota in its 33-28 victory.
“I think I walked by Rhys Reichardt and said, ‘Hey hang on, this could get fun, could be a good time,’ but at the same time both defenses kind of settled in and that’s the good stuff,” Sealy head football coach Shane Mobley said of the rapid-change end to the first half.
Tiger running back Alvin Nunn responded from a lost fumble on his first carry of the game to score three touchdowns for the Sealy offense, two of which came in the second half. His last brought the hosts to within five points with less than seven minutes remaining but a long Rattler drive that included a fourth-down conversion to move the clock under two minutes closed things out.
Nunn led the ground attack with 120 yards but was followed closely by sophomore quarterback D’vonne Hmielewski with 115 rushing yards to go along with 135 yards on 11-of-26 passing. Hmielewski recorded his first throwing touchdown, interception and tackle in his varsity debut.
“He’s a sophomore but he’s a gamer. He’s not afraid of the moment, he was over here jumping around ready to go two-minute drill so I was ready to see him,” said offensive coordinator Chris Carruthers.
“He’s a leader,” Mobley said. “One of the things I loved was hearing the positivity on the sideline about our quarterback. They have faith in that dude and I’m not just talking a few, I’m talking about every single one of those guys.”
Jakobe Davis hauled in the passing score as part of a three-catch, 59-yard performance. Conner Krenek caught two passes for 29 yards and Draper Parker recorded three receptions for 28 yards. The Navasota offense collected 56 more total yards offensively and possessed the ball for five minutes longer than Sealy.
Tyler Hennessey led the Tiger defense with nine tackles, followed by Clayton Prazak and Thomas Clark who had eight tackles each. Lane Holley collected six tackles and Mason Klotz and Brooks Redden recorded five each.
“The biggest thing is that we saw some really good tackling, we didn’t see a whole lot of busted, missed tackles,” Mobley said of positive takeaways defensively. “We got lined up, we were able to execute but there were just a few more big plays and as we got tired it turned into long drives. Long drives and getting tired comes with conditioning and that comes with coaching, trying to substitute the kids in at the right spot, at the right time and the right position.”
Carruthers also spoke to the entire evaluation period still being in the beginning stages.
“We’re in the assessment stage; no summer, no spring, one scrimmage we’re still assessing who is who so tonight at halftime I told them I’m just excited to be back out there rolling around and making adjustments,” Carruthers said.
Sealy travels to Somerset next week to face a Bulldogs squad that will be playing its season opener in a role reversal of the Tigers’ game Friday night.
“We may just go in and play base stuff and see what we get and make adjustments throughout the game,” Mobley told the Sealy Tiger Sports Network after the game. “Maybe we’ll have an upper hand coming into the game like Navasota did tonight just knowing expectations.”