STORY BY TIM SCHNETTLER
SEALY — Before the 2014 high school football season started the Navasota Rattlers and the Sealy Tigers were picked to be the cream of the crop in District 11-4A.
Through the first six games of the season the Rattlers were proving pundits correct, but the Tigers were failing to hold up to their end of the bargain, sporting a 2-4 record.
Friday night, in a much-anticipated district showdown, the top-ranked Rattlers continued to pave the way to a fifth-straight district title as they rolled over the Tigers 65-6, to improve to 7-0 on the season and 2-0 in district play. The loss dropped Sealy to 2-5 and 1-1.
Navasota, which has come out of the gates smoking in its previous games, looked to be doing the same on Friday, driving deep in Sealy territory to open the game. The Rattlers came away empty, however, turning the ball over on downs, much to the delight of the home crowd.
It would turn out that it would be about the only thing the home fans would have to celebrate in the first half as the Rattlers rolled to a 30-0 halftime lead behind the rushing of Derrion Randle, who had 124 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, and the passing of Shelton Eppler, who was 11-of-16 for 286 yards and two touchdowns.
I was real proud of them,” Rattler head coach Lee Fedora said. “I was nervous about this. We came out on fire and did some great things.”
On the night the Rattler offense gained 658 yards. Eppler was 15-of-20 for 375 yards and Randle finished with 13 carries for 222 yards while Dickson led the receivers with four receptions for 176 yards.
Defensively the Rattlers held the Tigers to just 48 total yards, holding them to 17 rushing and 31 passing.
“For our defense to come out and do what they did was tremendous.”
Randle opened the scoring with an 8-yard run that came on the Rattlers’ second possession of the game. On the first two drives of the game, Randle was a workhorse and the Rattlers took advantage of a blitz-happy Sealy defense, hitting them for big chunks of yardage on the ground.
The Rattlers took to the air for their next three scores, the first coming when Tren’Davion Dickson hauled in a short pass from Eppler and turned it into an 89-yard touchdown by turning on the jets and blazing past everyone.
Fullback Taylor Soto caught his first touchdown of the season when he snuck out of the backfield and found himself all alone behind the Sealy defense. Eppler spotted the wide-open Soto, resulting in a 54-yard score.
Dickson and Eppler added combined for another score, this one a 38-yarder that saw Dickson break a tackle on his way to the end zone.
Just before the end of the half the Rattlers added to their lead which Michel Martinez nailed a career-long 49-yard field goal.
The onslaught continued in the second half as Navasota added five more touchdowns. Dickson caught his third touchdown of the night and Randle added two more scoring runs, surpassing 1,000 yards rushing on the season in the process.
Davon Jernigan added a 1-yard scoring run and Keyondrick Philio capped Navasota’s scoring with a 30-yard run. Sealy got its only score late in the fourth on a 1-yard run from Titus Davis.
The Rattlers return home next Friday to take on Houston Furr in a 7 p.m. contest at Rattler Stadium.
NAVASOTA 65, SEALY 6
First Downs 14 7
Rushes/Yards 30/261 26/17
Passing Yards 397 31
Total Yards 658 48
PC-PA-PI 14-24-0 6-15-1
Punts/Avg 1/42 9/48.2
Fumbles/Lost 1/1 2/2
Penalties/Yards 8/75 5/43
NAVASOTA 14 16 21 14 — 65
SEALY 0 0 0 6 — 6
N — Derrion Randle 8 run (Michel Martinez kick) 2:45
N — Tren’Davion Dickson 89 pass from Shelton Eppler (Martinez kick) :17
N — Taylor Soto 54 pass from Eppler (Martinez kick) 11:19
N — Dickson 38 pass from Eppler (kick failed) 3:10
N — Martinez 49 FG :25
N — Dickson 32 pass from Eppler (Martinez kick) 11:03
N — Randle 71 run (Martinez kick) 8:31
N — Randle 28 run (Martinez kick) 4:55
N — Davon Jernigan 1 run (Martinez kick) 11:49
N — Keyondrick Philio 30 run (Martinez kick) 4:29
S — Titus Davis 1 run (Kick blocked) 2:31
Top passers: N: Eppler 15-20-0 375 3 TD
Top receivers: N: Dickson 4-176 2 TD
Top rushers: N — Randle 13-222 3 TD