After a long summer of competing against their own teammates, the Sealy Tiger football team gets to finally line up against another opponent in their scrimmage against the Columbus Cardinals Thursday night.
“It’s at that point in practice right now where the kids are ready to hit someone else and that’s the fun part,” Sealy head football coach Shane Mobley said. “As a coach right now, where we’re at, we’re able to evaluate, we were able to take this past week and go in break a lot of stuff down.”
The evaluations on the field against Columbus will hold a heavy weight heading into the regular-season opener in Brazosport on Aug. 28 but it will likely also tell how ready the team is after not having any organized activities in the spring.
“We’re still trying to get ourselves from not having a spring, whatsoever,” Mobley said in an Aug. 15 interview. “I’m not even just talking about spring football. We’re talking about spring weights, running, lifting, track, baseball, the competition; everything. So going over to Columbus on Thursday is going to be a lot about giving kids – especially the kids who are going to play varsity – an opportunity.”
The first road trip of the season will also be time to practice the procedures of traveling amid a pandemic.
“When we step off the bus we have to wipe down every helmet, every shoulder pad, every water container, every camera case from the endzone camera – everything that comes off that bus needs to be cleaned,” the coach said. “Before we get on the bus, we’ve gotta wipe everything down again, and when we get home, when kids leave, we’re going to clean the locker rooms. There are so many more things that we need to do according to UIL that we didn’t know when we were deciding who we were going to play.”
When deciding who will be playing quarterback under the lights on Friday nights, the Columbus scrimmage will allow all three potential candidates some time with the offense in a live, game-speed setting.
“D’vonne Hmielewski had a great year last year as a freshman on JV, so he’s taking a majority of the snaps right now,” Mobley said. “This is his opportunity to go in there and say, ‘Coaches, I want that. I want to be the leader of the offense,’ and that gives him an opportunity to take it.”
Also seeing snaps will be senior Draper Parker, who saw some time as the signal-caller last year and was previously an all-district wide receiver. The other is junior Thomas Clark, who has the height advantage over the other two.
“If D’vonne goes in and wins the quarterback position out, Draper Parker goes and he can play two or three positions at receiver,” Mobley said. “Then Thomas Clark, who was a top-five leading tackler on defense last year, could also go play some slot receiver.
“Those are the questions that we need answered, and will the scrimmage answer all of our questions? No, that’s what the preseason is for,” he continued. “But it’s also for when it comes
game time, who is going to take their hat, turn it around put it on backwards and say let’s go do this.”
At the end of the day, it is only a scrimmage and won’t be the determining factor to a good season.
“When you look at the scrimmage it’s not going to be a testament for us or Columbus, we’re not going to go out and show everything we can do, they’re not going to go out and show everything they can do,” Mobley said. “Defensively, I’m going to try and put our kids in some bad situations to see how they overcome. That’s more important to do it there in a scrimmage because I want to see angles, I want to see a kid that is on the backside of the play that maybe we should have him in a one technique instead of a three technique, what’s his pursuit like what’s he like down the line?”