Although these two teams have not met on the field yet this year, there will be plenty of familiarity between of pair of coaches on opposite sidelines Thursday night.
Despite owning a sub-.500 record, the Ducks from Taylor benefitted from some other losses around them and earned a No. 4 seed in district 14 with a 4-6 overall record going 2-3 in district play.
The new opponent runs a similar offense to the Tigers’ and Head Coach Shane Mobley knows they have plenty of talent even with some key players suffering from injuries.
Their quarterback, Cole Harms, went down and wide receiver Ja’Von Carver took over signal-calling duties and led Taylor to victory by a 42-28 margin over Burnett last week.
Coach Mobley mentioned he has a good relationship with the head coach of the Ducks, Rusty Purser, because of a connection that started when the pair of now-coaches were sharing the same field over 20 years ago.
Mobley’s Reagan County Owls and Purser’s Greenwood Mustangs squared off a couple times when they were in the same district before Mobley’s graduation in 1993. Purser walked across his graduation stage a year later and in one of their first phone calls, he thought the coach on the other end was a familiar name.
“Hey, I think I remember you,” Mobley recounted of one of Purser’s initial comments.
Mobley added it will be a cool moment to rekindle the rivalry again although he knows it’ll come down to the players making the plays that will decide who moves on to the next round.
"Offensively, they’re similar to what we do and what Needville did,” he included, knowing the same messages will ring true for another week.
However, with some of those injuries that have plagued Taylor, a rotation at running back has provided a few looks that the Tigers have not seen before and Mobley will have to prepare them for everything when the lights turn on a little brighter on the playoff stage.
He added that it is certainly something special to be in this position after accomplishing one of their main goals before the season, but there are more things on their list that they want to get done.
But before then, it will be a matchup with a totally new opponent on a bigger stage than they’ve seen before.
“It will be different because they’re playing kids they don’t know but you have to enjoy these moments,” he said, knowing they will be gone in a snap. “But they’ve got to stay focused on the task at hand,” and that all starts at 7 p.m. at Bastrop Memorial Stadium.
Mobley also added that it will be a completely new environment as Sealy had yet to play a neutral-site game at all.
He knows this is what they play for; a chance to play in the nicer stadiums around en route to one of the biggest, not only in the state but in the world, in AT&T Stadium.
Coach mentioned, “It won’t be easy,” to make it all the way to Arlington but the hard work has gotten them this far, why not a few more weeks into December?