Tigers go back to their roots, prepare for ground-bound attack

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There are plenty of offensive coaches who still employ the slot-t package by using a stable of three running backs that are able to hide behind their offensive line and provide misdirection, and before you know who has the ball, he’s running down the sideline to the end zone.

Sealy has seen a couple of these style offenses this year already and that was right in line with Head Coach Shane Mobley’s thought process that the playoffs could bring another ground-and-pound offensive attack.

Now it’s the team that has been ranked above them in this region all year, the Liberty Hill Panthers.

“It’s not what they do that’s complicated,” Mobley said, noting this offense dates far back into history. “It’s how they do it that makes it complicated.”

Their trio of runners fit the bill for all the right ingredients to run a successful slot-t attack.

Although there a minute amount of plays you can call out of a formation like this, the speed of the running backs sets them apart from the types of offenses the Tigers have seen already.

But the message will be the same as those weeks; stay true to your reads and once you find the ball, swarm to it to make a group tackle.

They can add a surprise and throw one over the top, but Garret Zaskoda can throw for the same amount the Panthers threw all year in a single game.

Like Sealy, Liberty Hill made a habit of putting the game out of hand by the latter stages of the game so Mobley mentioned the longer they can hang around, the better their chances will be at wearing them down and providing more stops than the Tigers run into.

The only game the Panthers failed to win came early in the season in the non-district portion of the schedule where Liberty Hill faced strictly 5A schools in preparation of their district campaign.

The Hutto Hippos finished their season undefeated but very nearly fell to the Panthers following a high-scoring battle.

The teams fought past the four quarters of regulation and needed an overtime period to settle things.

Hutto scored on its first possession and Liberty Hill answered and tried to send everyone home with a two-point conversion for the win.

But the try failed and the Hippos walked off with the victory instead and get set to face Foster this week.

Since that loss, the Panthers have yet to lose again, scoring at will including in a couple matchups with similar opponents to some of Sealy’s.

The Taylor Ducks met Liberty Hill the first weekend of November and the Panthers walked away with a 77-12 win before being paired with the Bay City Blackcats in the first round of the playoffs.

The Blackcats also scored 14 points against Liberty Hill but the hosts put up 62 to cruise to the Bi-District Championship there.

Now a matchup with the Sealy Tigers is the Panthers’ focus, a meet-up that was bound to happen sooner or later.

“We have full respect for them and we knew it was only a matter of time before we ran into them,” Mobley added, knowing only district champions remain in Region 4.

But the location of this game is a newly familiarized one for the Tigers, who clashed with the Ducks of Taylor in Bastrop just two weeks ago in the first round of the playoffs.

“Being in the same locker room will definitely be a good focus point for us,” Mobley said. “Being in the same stadium certainly won’t be a disadvantage.”

In whatever stadium they play in, Sealy hasn’t seen this territory of the postseason since the late-90s run and Mobley added simply; “It’s awesome. This is the reward for all of the things we’ve been telling them since the summer … This is why we do what we do.”

It will be a mix up of a pair of offenses that can put up points and it may just come down to who can put it in the end zone with as little time left on the clock as possible.

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