For the 82nd time in their storied histories, Sealy and Bellville will clash on the gridiron this Friday night on Mark A. Chapman Field at T.J. Mills Stadium with both teams 1-0 in district play so far this season.
Thanks to the most recent realignment of the University Interscholastic League, this year’s matchup will be the teams’ first as district foes since the 2013 contest that the Brahmas won, 43-42, to bounce the Tigers out of the postseason.
The 2020 installment could be a similarly even-matched game with both teams entering play as the top two offensive and defensive units in the district through five regular-season games.
Sealy has the second-best point per game average at 31.6 points but has allowed only 88 total points for an average of 17.6 points against per game, which is best in the group. Bellville is the only team to have scored more than 200 points overall for an average of 48.4 points per game although the defense only gives up an average of 24.4 points against per game.
The Brahmas will enter the game ranked No. 5 in “Dave Campbell’s” state rankings for Class 4A-D2 and No. 1 in the “Houston Chronicle” small school media poll but Mobley said the rivalry is only enhanced when both teams are putting together solid seasons.
“Where we’re sitting right now, and of course where Bellville’s at, being in the same county it’s always a big game. Since I’ve been here it’s always been a big rivalry game,” Mobley said at the beginning of this week. “There’s more on the line with us both being undefeated in district right now. It’s still early to tell, but this could be for the district championship. I don’t want to take anything away from the other teams or anything like that, but right now it’s a deal where it’s a big game because you’ve also gotta look to the future where it puts you in the playoffs.”
Brahma head football coach Grady Rowe agreed that the rivalry matchup with the Tigers is always a competitive game and sees much of the same for this week’s tilt with the teams playing the way they are.
“It does add a little more when the teams are playing well and I think both are,” Rowe said. “You look at Sealy and they've improved each week and gotten better and better, it's gonna be a good physical football game between two pretty good teams.”
Bellville has been to the postseason every year since Rowe took over as head coach in 2011 but the Tigers missed the playoffs last year for the first time since Mobley was made head coach ahead of the 2017 season. Also, in the last three years, Sealy has taken the rivalry matchup over the Brahmas each year but the Tigers’ head man doesn’t put too much stock into the streak.
“The big thing about that is you can’t look in the past. Both groups have different teams and I know that’s big for some people and everything else,” Mobley said. “Bellville has a great program, but we’ve got to look at it like we’re fighting for a playoff spot. That’s going to be key, that’s how we see it. A lot of these kids our first year here weren’t on varsity; they didn’t play. So as far as all that goes, I think that as far as coaches and kids you’ve got to take that stuff and throw that out the door and see what the big picture is and make sure we just try to do our best and take care of business.”
Similarly, Rowe felt the past won’t have much of an impact on this Friday’s game the same way talent gaps haven’t mattered in previous meetings.
“This is one of those rivalries that has gone in streaks, kind of up and down a lot like other rivalries depending on talent level and how the ball bounces – just like any other game – so I don't know that it brings much more to it,” Rowe said of Sealy’s recent streak. “This game is such a fun game, a lot of energy there; the two communities are really into it and like I've always said, ‘No matter how much better one team may be than the other, what records are and all that stuff, it's always been a really good game with a lot of energy and, for the most part, close games.’”
The three wins in a row for the Tigers evened the previous decade’s matchups at five apiece although the Brahmas still hold a 48-33 edge in the series all-time between the teams that have plenty of familiarity amongst each other.
“Our kids know each other. We’ve got kids competing against each other and kind of competing with each other this past week at the county fair,” Mobley said. “But when these young men step on the field, it’s going to be game time.”
“We have kids that hang out with each other and are friends,” Rowe said, “Coach Mobley and I are friends, but everybody does a pretty good job of when we walk out on the field, you get after each other and after the game you're back to that friendship and bumping each other on a regular basis. That's one of the neat things about these two communities not being very far apart.”
Although Rowe said he would have like to have packed the stands, he understands the situation the coronavirus pandemic has put the schools in and feels fortunate to be playing at all.
“For everybody, we're in unprecedented times and we're all having to deal with the pandemic and everything that it has brought,” Rowe said. “It's just nice for the two communities that are close together to play some football and get after it and represent each of their communities.”
“This is what Texas high school football is all about and we feel like when we step out onto the field, our kids just play extremely hard and represent their town well,” Mobley said.
For those who can’t make it in person to the 7 p.m. kickoff, you can listen live on the Sealy Tiger Sports Network and stay tuned to The Sealy News’ social media pages for updates.