A picture-perfect Saturday at T.J. Mills Stadium was capped off by a pair of Sealy wins to send the Tigers back to another Super Bowl in the Colorado River Youth Football Coalition.
The junior varsity (third and fourth grade) and varsity (fifth and sixth grade) teams entered play on Saturday needing a win to move onto the championship game and both squads were able to achieve that.
Columbus #1 was standing in the way of the junior varsity Tigers and although the Cardinals drew first blood, the point-after try failed and DJ Hamilton’s short-yardage run with a complementing PAT gave Sealy a 7-6 lead it would not surrender.
Dylan Hamilton hit pay dirt on a long run in the third quarter to inflate the hosts’ lead to 13-6 and the defense continued to shut down the Columbus offense to secure a second trip to the Super Bowl in as many years.
Interim head coach Brad Burttschell cited the defensive line’s penetration as being the key to victory down the stretch. He also added an individual standout performer normally receives a championship belt after every game but the entire team hoisted the belt with their sights set on one more win.
La Grange, the same team that took the Tigers to four overtimes in the regular season, beat Columbus #2, 39-13, to set up a rematch with the championship on the line Saturday in Smithville.
On the varsity stage, Sealy showed why it’s been one of the best teams in the league by scoring on its first play from scrimmage twice in the first quarter to claim a 13-0 lead early.
Ivan Cadena broke through the line and left Leopards in the dust en route to the end zone although the two-point try failed. Then, Kane Killough lofted up a pass for Will Baber who high-pointed it and came down with the reception and crossed the goal line before Killough provided the PAT rush to put the Tigers in front less than two minutes into the game.
In the second quarter, Killough connected with Ryland Ponce in the red zone, Isaiah Dukes-Self pounded one in from a yard out (with a Killough pass to Javien Grant serving as the PAT) and Killough ran one in from one yard away to take a 33-0 lead into the halftime break.
La Grange got on the board in the third quarter thanks to a Casen Perez 9-yard rush although the PAT failed. With time running down in the fourth, Weston Cryan found the end zone on a short run to put the Tigers in the lead, 36-6, and send that group to its fifth consecutive Super Bowl.
Head coach Glen Killough applauded the defensive effort by Jadon Hernandez, Cooper Osborne, Eric Sanchez, Hunter Sodolak and Javien Grant who pulled down a pair of interceptions.
Wharton took down Columbus #2, 27-13, in the other semifinal showdown to deny a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl. In the regular season, Sealy shutout the Wolves, 32-0, to start the season.
The Super Bowls will be played this Saturday in Smithville at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. with the two Columbus teams battling it out in the freshman division after Columbus #2 ended Sealy’s season with a 6-0 win in the first round.