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2019 Tigers hit the gridiron against first opponents

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Sealy got its first taste of the Tiger football season last Friday with the Columbus Cardinals and Edna Cowboys in town for a three-team scrimmage under the lights of T.J. Mills Stadium.

It was the first chance to line up against someone wearing a different colored helmet and although there may have been some angst, the first crack of the pads served as the best medicine the doctor could order.

Draper Parker said, “It was exciting but (I was a little) nervous,” and Matthew Lord added that “one hit and the nervousness went away.”

The first three times the Sealy offense got its paws on the ball it found itself in the end zone, first on a meticulous drive staring with Reece Novicke at quarterback and ending with Parker taking the snaps and ultimately handing it off for a short touchdown run.

Then it was the freshman D’vonne Hmielewski who took over for the black and gold and led two more scoring drives, finishing one off with a 10-yard pass and handing one off for a long run which was later duplicated when the varsity starters returned for the next possession, three rotations later.

Parker took the snap and ran a speed option to the right boundary and shuffled the ball off to Lord who turned up the field and greeted two would-be Edna tacklers with a truck stick that you could hear from the opposite end of the stadium before the rest of his teammates and coaches met him in the end zone to celebrate.

The key to getting him there? Of course, the big guys in front.

“Our offensive line was stellar, one of the best parts of our team,” Lord said. “The line did great (on the option,) they made the space, the pitch (was there), good blocking down the field and just gotta make a couple people miss,” he said.

It was a happy sight to the offensive coordinator’s eyes although touchdowns aren’t always what they’re set on.

“I tell the kids in scrimmages we’re trying to see certain things, not necessarily if we can score but it is nice when you see (a run like Lord’s) and see linemen doing what they’re supposed to do and running backs running well,” said Chris Carruthers. “It’s just different when you see a live defense … any time you can get a pop and get in the end zone that’s a good thing.”

Another good thing, according to Sealy head coach Shane Mobley, is the fact that all three teams walked away without any serious injuries.

“Came out healthy, that’s the biggest,” he said. “We saw a lot of good things tonight, stayed very vanilla, didn’t want to get caught in a bad situation defensively, offensively we moved the ball down the field, tempo looked good for the first time.”

What wasn’t happening while the Tigers were on defense were a lot of touchdowns and in the eyes of senior linebacker Hunter Clark, “Hopefully that’s the story of the year.”

Columbus and Edna ran contrasting styles of offense with the Cardinals in a spread formation while the Cowboys from Edna operated out of the wing-t and other members of the defense agreed it was beneficial to see both out of the gates.

“It was a lot to practice for, they’ve both got two completely different schemes,” Cody Manna said before Garrett Redden added, “It’s a lot to take in at once.”

Clark included that although the defense didn’t dive deep into their playbook, they still got plenty of work in.

“The good thing is that we already know a lot of stuff so we can run base and then they work with us at practice with the stuff we’re already learning,” he said.

“It’s just always adapting to what they do,” Manna said with Redden finishing that “you can’t show too much of what you got but it’s also to show what the younger guys who step up have; put them in base and see what they can do.”

If they can indeed all mesh together and click on every cylinder, Sealy fans may just want to hold onto their hats.

“(We want to) show people why we’re ranked No. 6,” Novicke said. “Last year we were trying to prove something and this year we’re trying to prove that we are good now that we’ve got the attention.”

“We’re missing a few guys and people are saying we’re not going to be out there; just gotta prove them wrong,” Lord closed with a shrug.

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