SEALY – The Navasota Rattlers 33-28 win over the Sealy Tigers improves the Big Blue to its best start since 2015, a year when the Rattlers finished 12-1 and lost to Carthage in the 4A-1 Regional Round of the playoffs.
Unlike the first week where Navasota (2-0) found the endzone on its first two possessions, this week Sealy (1-1) held the Rattlers out of the endzone but not off the scoreboard. Miguel Alvarado split the uprights with field goals from 25 and 23 yards out.
“Those were big points,” said Navasota Head Coach Casey Dacus when asked about Alvarado’s field goals. “When you can count on a guy like that to get you three, that is a big-time luxury. It’s not like that in most 4A schools and below. It’s hard to find a kicker and when you get down inside the red and have a guy who is consistent from 30-yards in, that is a big deal. I was proud of Miguel for knocking those two field goals in because they were big. We won by five and if it hadn’t been for those field goals we would have been in trouble.”
The Tigers pounced on top after Navasota ended the first quarter with a 6-0 lead. Senior Alvin Nunn, the elder of the two Nunn brothers for Sealy crossed the goal line from 7-yards out. Ricky Avila converted on the point-after to give Sealy a 7-6 lead.
Sealy’s lead was short lived as the two heavyweights began exchanging blows. A little less than two-minutes after the Tigers took the lead, Navasota struck with a 57-yard pass from junior quarterback Ja’Mar Jessie to senior receiver Liam Wilson. “It was really big for me because that was actually my first touchdown ever,” explained Wilson. Later in the game Wilson added another touchdown reception. “The coaches gave me good plays and Ja’Mar gave me good balls and I just caught them.” Alvarado tacked on the point-after giving Navasota a 13-7 advantage.
Jakobe Davis hauls in a 29-yard touchdown pass from the younger Nunn brother, sophomore quarterback Avonte and Avila again converts the point-after to put the Tigers back on top 14-13.
Another big throw from the arm of Jessie secured the halftime lead, 20-13. Jessie connected with junior Xavier Steptoe for a 52-yard catch and run. Alvarado completed the score with the kick.
“The thing I love about the receiver’s group - and I don’t say enough about this - but a lot of times receivers are prima donna’s and they all want the ball,” said Dacus. “I can honestly say this has been a pleasure with these guys because they just want to win and don’t care who gets the ball. I think it’s really cool if you watch when one receiver scores, they all celebrate together. I think there is a great unity vibe with our team, and I think it is a family-like atmosphere.”
Jerald Adams came up with a big play defensively for the Rattlers with an interception in the third quarter, setting up the second connection between Jessie and Wilson, good for 24 yards, to extend Navasota’s lead 26-14. Jessie finished 18/25 passing for 295 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball 11 times for 70 yards and a score. Wilson had three reception for 138 yards and two touchdown catches,
Alvin Nunn tacked on his second of three touchdowns in the third quarter, a 3-yard run to bring Sealy within five, 26-21.
Early in the fourth Jessie tucked the ball and barreled into pay-dirt from 4-yards out. The Tigers answered with their final score of the night, another 3-yard run by Alvin Nunn. He finished with 14 carries for 94 yards to go along with his three touchdowns.
Navasota chewed a lot of clock with power running from Darius Randle and Jessie. A 10-yard, fourth-down connection between Jessie and Steptoe allowed the Rattler drive to continue and the clock to keep ticking. The Rattlers eventually turned the ball over on downs, but the Tigers were left with only enough time for one unsuccessful attempt to score, finalizing the score 33-28.
“If there was ever a game of adversity, that one right there was it,” explained Dacus. “I’m really proud of the whole team.”
Sealy (1-1) will travel to face the Somerset Bulldogs (0-0) Friday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. Navasota (2-0) hosts the Mexia Black Cats (0-2) Friday, Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m.