Despite a wide margin of victory on the scoreboard, the Sealy Tigers’ main goal for next week remained consistent throughout coaches and players; “We’ve got to get going earlier.”
After Wharton stole the opening kickoff with a pooch kick, the visiting Tigers registered two first-quarter touchdowns but flags on the respective plays negated them, giving the Sealy defense a second and third chance, which they did not surrender again.
Following a scoreless first frame, Thomas Clark intercepted a Donovan Krushall pass to set up the Sealy offense on the doorstep of the end zone where offensive coordinator Chris Carruthers debuted a new package featuring three linebackers; Garrett Redden, Cody Manna and Hunter Clark, in an inverted wishbone formation.
“You have to take guys like that when they’re coming at you and put some meat up there when you’ve got a big offensive line,” said head coach Shane Mobley.
Redden, although not normally lining up behind the quarterback, made his way behind that big offensive line and pounded his way into the end zone from nine yards away on his second rushing attempt to open the scoring not only of the game but also for his career.
“(The package) was put in a couple weeks ago just for short-yardage purposes like 3rd-and-1 or 4th-and-2, just man up and fight for the yards,” he said. “It was pretty crazy it was my first time scoring in forever.”
The scoring play came with 7:53 remaining in the first half and the Tigers know they need to get their offense going sooner next time out.
“I’m not going to lie, the offense struggled the first three possessions but Coach Carruthers got us through it, he got on us, put a little fire under our butts and we got going and started going,” said senior running back Matthew Lord who scored the second (5 yards) and fourth (37 yards) touchdowns for Sealy and amassed 142 yards on 11 carries.
Carter Cryan, who missed parts of the preseason due to injury, was one of three quarterbacks taking snaps for the Tigers and supplied the two aerial scores of the night, connecting with Reece Novicke on a roll-out, 42-yard pitch and catch and Keen Brown from 10 yards away, both of which came within the final 3:01 of the third quarter, making Sealy’s advantage 41-0.
“It felt really good just to get back with my team, being away in the hospital and just watching them kind of sucked,” Cryan said after the game. “The defense really helped us out early on in that first half when we were kind of bogged down, I guess it was just first-game jitters but had to get that out of the way. (Moving forward) we’ve gotta start earlier because not every team is going to be like Wharton, (the competition is) going to get better and better.”
Senior lineman Cory Barrett (via a fumble in the end zone after a Dai’Kwan Brown fumble) and running back Alvin Nunn registered fourth-quarter scores to round the final score to 55-0 and provide more pieces of the puzzle that makes up Carruthers’ offense. Despite those rotating pieces, his message has been plain and simple.
“We knew there was going to be some tough times but what I always tell the kids; ‘When you’re figuring things out, good teams still find a way to win and get things accomplished,’” he recounted after the game. “That was a good sign tonight, not a great game for sure, we only got things rolling for about two and a half quarters and our defense is really, really good so that’s going to help with the growing pains.”
Mobley’s defense accomplished a task they did not do last regular season and that was to not allow a point after four quarters of play.
“I think it’s big overall I think it makes a statement, people like to talk about the defense we have a lot of returners but two or three of them play on offense, now I’m not giving them up but they’re going to go,” he said. “There were some guys who played big and stepped up, Thomas Clark got a pick he made some big plays we’ve seen it and it’s time to roll.”
Another thing the coaching staff saw a lot of was the visiting Tigers cramping up and needing medical attention, thus stopping the flow of the game. Carruthers mentioned some coaches simply talk about conditioning, but Sealy’s head ball coach takes it to another level.
“Coach Mobley does a lot of things really, really well and (conditioning is) one of the things he does better than most guys, there’s no cramping,” he said. “It’s hot, we’ve got as many guys as them going both ways, it’s not like we’ve got 11 (for offense) and 11 (for defense), Coach Mobley preaches it and harps it; we run every single day, our practices are tough and difficult so if you can make it through Monday through Wednesday, Friday’s going to be easy.”
“That’s what I told the boys is that I don’t care about the score tonight or how we played, the one thing I wanted was to make sure who was the best-conditioned team was,” Mobley said of his team. “Conditionings always big the first week or two, the way we condition I’m very proud in the pride that the boys take and hopefully it pays off.”
“Wharton’s got talent it’s just they’re not conditioned, that was their problem,” Lord confirmed. “It was terrible, we were on money 35, run up to the line and run 35 but it’s just them stopping the plays over and over, it kind of threw us off the game plan.”
Cryan agreed it was a hurdle, saying “We would get going and someone would be down with a cramp and it sort of slows you down but we kept going.”
Sealy will look to continue a regular-season unbeaten streak that extends to 12 games with Friday night’s win, leaving the Bay City Blackcats as the last team to hand the Tigers a loss in the regular season in 53-44 fashion on Nov. 3, 2017, next Friday night in Navasota where the Rattlers will be fresh off a season-opening, 28-3 loss at the hands of the Bellaire Episcopal Knights.
Q2: 7:53 Garrett Redden 9-yd rush, 2-pt no good
5:14 Matthew Lord 5-yd rush, 2-pt no good
1:10 Cody Manna 1-yd fumble recovery, Ricky Avila kick 19-0
Q3: 7:05 Avila 23-yd field goal
4:12 Lord 37-yd rush, Avila kick
3:01 Carter Cryan to Reece Novicke 42-yd pass and catch, Avila kick
52.6: Cryan to Keen Brown 10-yd pass, Avila kick 41-0
Q4: 8:16 Cory Barrett 1-yd fumble recovery, Avila kick
3:00 Nunn 1-yd rush, Avila kick 55-0