Sealy Tiger athletes were able to start practices for the fall sports season Monday morning for the first official activity since the basketball state championships were canceled last spring.
Sealy Athletic Director Shane Mobley finally got to put on his coaching whistle and lead the football squad through their workout on the high school practice field.
“These last two weeks, it hasn’t been a whole lot about the football aspect,” Mobley said Monday morning. “It’s been more about rules and guidelines and regulations and getting a system and then going in and telling the coaches ‘OK, let’s do this, this and this,’ and getting feedback from them. Got some great ideas, I bet we talked two and a half hours just about water.”
Each athlete still went through the screening for COVID-19 symptoms and had to arrive with a mask and their own water bottle to be filled up by the water technicians on the field. All coaches and non-participants had to wear their mask per University Interscholastic League ruling but Mobley said all the stress of planning for the day flew out the window when he switched to coaching.
“When you get outside, you get away from it all. You see the kids and there’s a lot of these kids we haven’t seen all summer long,” he said. “We’ve got to get all the paperwork in, but the good thing is that we’re at least able to start now building up toward the season.”
For a while, the 2020 season seemed like it was clouded in doubt with Sealy’s summer strength and conditioning and sport-specific instructional camps going through the ebb and flow of cancelations and resumptions, but Mobley thinks that will help the Tigers in the long run.
“The summer workouts were great for us because we had a coach and a couple of kids that had tested positive for COVID-19,” Mobley said. “That taught us how to handle stuff, our guidelines switched two or three times throughout the summertime.”
The time has come for this brand of Sealy football to get to work and this year’s motto was printed on the coaching staff’s shirts: OT2: one team, our time.
“After everything that’s gone on with the pandemic and this group of guys last year not getting to play baseball, it comes down to two things,” Mobley explained. “It’s one team. We’re going to play together as one team; we’re going to live together and die together. And then it’s our time. We’ve got to make the most out of everything that we possibly can. If we get three games and they cancel the season on us, we’ve got to have it.”
Mobley said the athletic department was nearing the finalization of what home games will look like with 50% capacity inside T.J. Mills Stadium per UIL rules, adding that the parents of student groups involved in the game will have the priority before a possible lottery takes place for the rest of the tickets.
The Tigers will finish this first week of practice with Midnight Madness at the stadium Friday night although Mobley said no fans will be allowed in the stadium at that time.
“We’re going to do it, but we’re just not going to open it up to everybody,” Mobley said. “Now, I’m not going to say you can’t bring your lawn chairs and sit outside of the fence, but we’re not going to (have fans in the stands).”
The first and only scrimmage of Sealy’s preseason will be in Columbus on Aug. 20 before the season-opening contest in Brazosport on Aug. 28. The Tigers’ first home game will be Sept. 4 against Navasota.