When looking to upset a top-10 state ranked team, execution must be near perfect and mistakes must be limited. Although within striking distance numerous times the Sealy Tigers escaped Navasota unscathed with a 40-30 win.
After trading scores to start the first quarter, Sealy built a 14-point lead. Navasota put together a drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Ja’mar Jessie to Kadden Hubbard. Juan Vargas booted in the point-after to pull the Rattlers within seven, 21-14, with 17 seconds before halftime.
Navasota looked like they were going to tie the game in the third but settled for a 28-yard field goal from Vargas.
Sealy junior quarterback D’vonne Hmielewski continued his great game scoring on a 7-yard run and connecting with Haden Wernecke for a 25-yard score to extend the Tiger lead 34-17. Hmielewski tossed his fourth touchdown pass in the final quarter to give Sealy a 40- 17 advantage.
Hmielewski was 18-of- 29 passing for 285 yards and four touchdowns. He also had a rushing touchdown.
Sophomore Jamal Thomas found the endzone twice in the final quarter, once on a 1-yard run and the other on a 23-yard touchdown reception. A failed two point-conversion on the final score and unable to recover an onside kick finalized the score 40- 30.
Jessie finished the game with 227 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He completed 16 of his 26 passes. He also rushed for a score. Thomas and Hubbard both had touchdown receptions. John Lee caught three passes for 103 yards.
“Credit to Sealy, they deserved to win. They made less mistakes than we did,” said Navasota Head Coach Casey Dacus. “The mistakes we made added up to a situation that we couldn’t overcome tonight.”
Dacus said his young secondary is not a finished product and has a lot to improve on. “We just have to have eye discipline. With young players a lot of times they want to get their eyes in the backfield and cheat,” explained Dacus. “Whether you play zone or man, you have to have your eyes on your keys and you have to play solid and consistently or teams will take advantage of it. This was a great learning experience for all of our secondary guys. We have a pair of sophomores, a returning junior and a senior that has never played in the secondary. When you play against a passing game like Sealy has, you have to grow up in a hurry. You have to trust your eyes and trust what you’ve studied all week in film.”
Navasota plays on the road at Mexia Friday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 p.m. Sealy plays at Lake Creek Friday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 p.m.