2019 was one heck of a way to close out a decade in Austin County’s sports history. From the top of Bellville to the southern-most point in Wallis, it was The Sealy News’ honor to bring you the sports news for the county and there was certainly no shortage of tremendous accomplishments.
This past calendar year had numerous achievements not only on the district and regional levels but also at the state- and nation-wide levels with another border-breaking performance to boot.
The staff compiled the top 10 stories of the year on both the news and sports side and we hope you enjoy this recap to find out what the top sports story was this year.
Until then, we pick up with #2 and a couple of Sealy legends who earned their calls to the halls.
The late T.J. Mills joined the greats on the gridiron from the lone star state earlier this year and took his place in the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame in Waco.
Mills, who won four consecutive state championships in football with the Sealy Tigers, was one of two recipients of the Eddie Joseph Coaches Awards alongside Scott Phillips.
The run from 1994 to 1997 that all ended with the Sealy Tigers hoisting the state championship trophy produced 20 first-team All-State players while re-writing the record books.
The Texas Sports Writers Association named him Coach of the Year four times and Mills was enshrined in the Texas High School Coaches Association’s Hall of Honor in 2014.
Not long after that, however, he passed away, so his wife Becky stepped up in his place and has been accepting honors like this since April of 2015.
“This is probably the highlight of his career,” she said. “He would be so honored to be here; this would mean so very much to him as well as our family.”
Becky came away with the thought that anyone out there reading this right now, can get to the level that coach Mills got of his players.
“I think it makes everyone realize that with hard work and dedication you can be a Sealy Tiger state champion, we have many more of those and we’re going to put them on the Wall of Honor,” she said. “I know coach Mobley will do a great job taking them there and we’re ready for another state championship.”
At the end of the day, Becky wished that T.J. could have been there but reiterated in her speech that she knew her husband was “looking down on us with tears falling and a huge grin on his face.”
Later in the year, it was announced that Sealy High School running back and safety Eric Dickerson was chosen to represent the 1970s decade in the 2020 installment of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame.
Dickerson was part of the 1978 Sealy team that earned the town its first football state championship after its first undefeated regular season where the Tigers outscored district opponents, 375-110.
In the first round of the playoffs, he suffered a sprained ankle and his production was dialed back a bit over the next couple of games before exploding in the state championship game for 292 yards and four touchdowns to lead Sealy over Wylie, 42-20.
Dickerson ended the year with 2,342 yards rushing and 118 receiving yards while accounting for 31 touchdowns, making him one of the most sought-after college prospects as a high school All-American.
He landed at Southern Methodist where, even after sharing carries with Craig James, broke Earl Campbell’s all-time Southwest Conference rushing record although he finished third in the Heisman Trophy race.
The Los Angeles Rams made him the second athlete taken in the 1983 draft and the rest is history; He retired as the third-leading rusher in NFL history with 13,259 on 2,996 carries after six Pro Bowl nominations, five All-Pro teams and leading the league in rushing four times over, earning a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility.