There’s no bigger rivalry in Austin County than the Battle of Mill Creek which pits the Sealy Tigers against the Bellville Brahmas.
When Bellville High School graduate Kamm Coker became a teacher and coach in Sealy three years ago, words like “traitor” were bandied about, albeit in good nature. Coker, however, takes it seriously. Without hesitation, he traded in his Brahma colors for Tiger stripes and hasn’t looked back since.
“I’m black and gold all the way now,” he said with a smile. “I never wear red, even when I go out; it’s not even in my closet no more.”
Unlike many of his former Bellville teammates, Coker didn’t grow up with the rivalry. He arrived in Bellville his sophomore year.
“My dad, he became the superintendent and he’s been the superintendent up until this past year,” Kamm explained of his father Mike. “So that’s how I ended up there from my sophomore year to senior year and graduated from there.”
“My sophomore year we were not very good,” Coker admitted. “We went 2-8, Coach (Grady) Rowe (the current Brahma head coach) came in my junior year and got us going, we ended up going 10-2, had a great year. Then the next year we had some big expectations but we didn't know how far we could go.
“We started out a little slow,” Coker remembered of his senior season in 2012. “I think we were maybe 1-2, 1-3 something like that then things just started clicking; we got hot, had a bunch of great teammates and we just came out and kept it rolling, went on a big win streak but unfortunately, lost to Navasota in the semifinals, but got real close.”
For being just one of a handful of teams to make it to the doorstep of the state championship, Coker and his teammates were inducted into the school’s Hall of Honor for their efforts this past year, confirming a thought that had been swirling around the heads of former players.
“It was something I know me and some teammates and coaches had talked about. At some point, it was probably going to happen,” Coker said. “You know, Bellville's only had four teams make the semifinals and we were the fourth one so we figured that at some point it was going to happen, but we didn't think it'd be that fast. I mean, shoot it was just seven years ago.”
In that time, however, Coker went off to college at Sam Houston State where although he didn’t play, he took the opportunity to get his feet wet in the coaching profession at College Station High School.
His graduation from Sam Houston, a semester early with a major in kinesiology and minor in history, timed up perfectly with one of his former coaches taking the head coaching job in Sealy.
“I did some student teaching that spring after I graduated and then luckily, Coach (Shane) Mobley found out he was coming down here and I knew Coach Mob because he was at Prosper for a couple years,” Coker said. “When I was in eighth and ninth grade, he was there and he was our defensive coordinator up there and then it all came together.”
As a student at Bellville, Coker was a Brahma all the way and still feels the sting of losing to Sealy two of his three years there.
“Yeah, I was not a fan (of Sealy),” Coker said of his high school mindset. “My sophomore and junior year, unfortunately, we lost to Sealy, except my senior year we were able to get the win so I was glad I got one win. It's been different switching colors, at first all I heard was everybody talking trash. They still do. But you know, it's all fun and games and it’s bragging rights for the year.”
Those bragging rights added a little extra fuel to his fire the first time Coker looked across the field at his former colors and he added it was up there in the highlights from the 2017 season.
“I was a little extra pumped up, that was probably my favorite week of the year besides the playoffs but it was definitely weird sitting on that side,” Coker explained. “I had never been on the visitor's side. I didn't even know where the visitor's locker room was.
“Luckily, we came out and got a big win but it was a ton of fun,” he continued. “I’ve still got a lot of friends that live there, Coach Rowe you know, still a lot of respect for him and some of my position coaches … I still love them guys. But one day out of the week, we're rivals so it's a fun week, it really is.”
What may make this year’s rivalry week a little more fun is Coker being able to have both of his parents in his team’s colors for a change.
“I'm excited about it, both him and mom my recently retired so for both of them to be able to be on the black and gold side, I'm really excited about it,” Coker said cheerfully. “Hopefully we get the win but now it's exciting to be able to have them on the same side because we've been on opposite sides the last couple of years. Really excited to get him down there with us and get him in the Tiger shirt.”
At the end of the day, Coker went on to elaborate from his unique perspective from both sides of Mill Creek, it’s not all that different on the other side.
“People don't realize that it's not that much different on each side. When you're in Bellville, you're thinking the same way about Sealy as Sealy people think about Bellville,” he said. “I'm kind of the middle guy because I've been on both. Both sides want to win just as bad as the other one. Everybody knows the guys that we got, and the same goes for them. Their dads have played in this game, brothers and sisters, uncles, aunts, grandpas, whatever. We've all played in this game and everybody just knows that it’s bragging rights for a full year until next year when we do it again.
“It's just my favorite game,” Coker continued. “I know everybody gets amped up for that game. It's gonna be a huge crowd, always hope that they haven't lost a game yet and that we haven't lost a game yet to get as much hype as we can. It was super fun when I played in it and it's super fun when I coach in it and I look forward to it every year. I didn't think in high school that I'd ever be able to be a part of it again but now I’m back part of the rivalry.”