The Sealy Tigers won the turnover battle, contained an under-center offense and connected on some big offensive plays to help secure a 45-6 victory over the Somerset Bulldogs Friday night to get back in the win column.
“There was a lot of old-school football that we saw that we needed to see because we’ve got some guys in district that’ll get under center like Sweeny and Bellville,” Sealy head football coach Shane Mobley told the Sealy Tiger Sports Network in a postgame interview. “That right there was a good test for us not knowing exactly what we were going to walk into but being able to see that style of offense.”
It was the season-opening contest for a Somerset squad that experienced setbacks to its schedule in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the San Antonio area. Bulldog head coach Sonny Detmer, who celebrated his 76th birthday on Friday, has also been away from the team after battling pneumonia and bronchitis according to the San Antonio Express-News.
Somerset needed a game, as did the Tigers after their opener was canceled in preparation of Hurricane Laura, and the teams were able to come to an agreement that sent the Sealy buses traveling three hours.
“I had a couple of kids come up to me and said, ‘Coach, I got tired too fast,’” Mobley recounted. “It’s a whole different environment and atmosphere so I think it was a good testimony for our kids to come here and execute the way they do. We’ve gotta get better, there’s no doubt but there was some really good execution for coming off the bus like that.”
Before the first quarter was half over, the Tigers held a 10-0 lead after an A’vonte Nunn 10-yard rush and a 35-yard field goal from Josh Paz to cash in on a fumble forced by Lane Holley.
“That helped set the tone a little bit, loosened us up. It was still a game that we didn't know who they are or vice versa,” Mobley said in a Saturday afternoon phone interview. “We answered a lot of questions pretty quick.”
Although Somerset quarterback Koal Detmer connected with Jaxson Gutierrez on a 52-yard hookup to cut the deficit to 10-6, Sealy responded by scoring on the opening play of the second quarter after Haden Wernecke took an option pitch 25 yards to paydirt.
Tiger quarterback D’vonne Hmielewski capped the first half by supplying a pair of rushing scores, one from 8 yards out and another from 23 away to give the visitors a 31-6 lead at the halftime break. Senior Draper Parker got in on the scoring action in the third quarter and recorded touchdowns on a 1-yard rush and a 32-yard pass to push the Sealy lead to its final resting place at 45-6.
Hmielewski finished 9-of-14 passing for 180 yards with seven of them finding Parker for 139 yards and the one score. Hmielewski led the ground game with 68 rushing yards and Alvin Nunn was next with 35 yards. Parker was behind him with his 31 rushing yards and touchdown, then it was Wernecke’s 25-yard rushing score and A’vonte Nunn finished with 23 rushing yards and the score.
The head coach said he pleased with the development of the relationship and timing between Hmielewski and Parker to account for a pair of touchdowns each.
“(Hmielewski is) settling in and he's got a comfort zone. The more varsity games he plays, the more he's going to understand the speed of the game and how things operate,” Mobley said. “Draper had two big catches and he was very well covered. That was a huge catch, and for him getting in the endzone and making some big plays again, it's just getting back into that rhythm and back into that zone of becoming those playmakers.”
The Sealy defense was full of playmakers as well. Holley led the way with six tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, Tyler Hennessey was right behind him with five, Connor Krenek recorded four and a host of Tiger defenders tallied three tackles: Rhys Reichardt, Gage Grigar, Mason Klotz, Chris Price and Ricky Avila.
Also, Mobley pointed out Clayton Prazak, Brooks Redden and Callen Rabius who all chipped in a pair of tackles but added impacts beyond the stat sheet.
“Prazak and Brooks Redden had really good games; we’ve still got some pieces that we're moving around and Brooks moved to the interior and played more of a four-eye technique than he did the three techniques, so he was really aggressive that was really good seeing him get down inside,” Mobley said. “Rabius played Mike linebacker, we stayed more in a four-front when they had a lot more tight ends throughout the night, so our defensive front got a lot more work and got a lot more conditioning in.”
To add a cherry on top of a winning performance, the Sealy special teams added a blocked point-after try, a blocked punt and converted on a fake punt to extend a drive late in the game. Mobley credited Chase Janczak who took over coaching the special teams fulltime this season.
“We spend a lot of time working a lot of basics during the periods when we work so it's good to see the kids when they're coming off the edge and they're going to block a punt, they have their hands in the air and they’ve got their hands together, doing the little things,” Mobley said. “Getting down the field, securing tackles and trying to not let anything big happen. He's got all the coaching assignments and they're all working drills and the kids have bought into that aspect of it, which is huge.”
The Tigers were back to work Saturday morning, getting a stretch and a lift in before breaking down film from the previous game and taking an early look to next week’s matchup against a Stafford team that battled Bellville to a 50-29 defeat.
At the end of the day, Mobley said it’s great to bet back on the winning side of things but there’s a long season yet to be played.
“Always good to be in the win column and the main thing is, the kids played well. That’s what you've got to look at, we made some mistakes last night that we've got to correct, but they also did a lot of really good stuff,” the head coach said. “We’ve just got to keep getting better but being in that win column is always great. We’ve just got to take it one week at a time, not get too ahead of ourselves and make sure we take care of business.”