WEST COLUMBIA — If the Roughnecks are feeling any pressure heading into their game against Sealy tonight, they’re not showing it.
Columbia comes into the game looking for a win to secure its spot in the postseason for the first time in three seasons. It also would give the team’s seniors a victory in their final regular-season home game. And the team they are playing is right on their heels in their district standings.
Columbia head football coach Brent Mascheck said his team is “just ready to play.”
“They’ll come out intense and we have to just come out mentally focused and do our thing,” Mascheck said. “The Needville game showed us we make mistakes when we try and do too much.”
Kickoff in the District 13-4A matchup will be at 7 p.m. at Griggs Field.
Sealy, state-ranked to start the season, needs a win if it wants to keep playing past the regular season. Tied with Brazosport for fourth at 2-2 in the district, the Exporters own the tiebreaker. If the Tigers win out, they could rise as high as second — which is where Columbia currently sits.
“It’s going to be another tough game in this district,” Mascheck said. “Unfortunately, a good team in this district will be left out of the playoffs this year at the end of the season.”
The Tigers are balanced, ranked third in the district in total offense and defense. Tiger running back Matthew Lord is fourth in the district with 701 yards and eight touchdowns on 74 carries. He averages almost a first down on each carry with 9.47 yards per carry.
“They’re very balanced offensively,” Mascheck said. “They were shut out by El Campo, but they had a bye week and changed some things up with their offense.”
Sealy quarterback Carter Cryan has thrown for 940 yards and eight touchdowns. His main target is wide receiver Draper Parker, who has 28 catches for 300 yards.
The Columbia defense will have its hands full, but they’ve been up to the challenge so far. The ’Necks have the No. 1 defense in the district, giving up only 213 total yards per game.
Mascheck has been more worried about the Tiger defense.
“Their defensive line is probably the quickest I’ve seen in the district,” he said. “Their linebackers are very good as well, and overall, they don’t stay on blocks very long. They’re going to do some things we’ve seen before, of course, and we’re just going to do what the defense gives us.”
What the defense gives them is going to give Roughneck quarterback Cameron Ward opportunities to throw the football as the Tigers focus on shutting down the potent Columbia ground game.
Columbia has four of the top 11 rushers in the district and the team has the second-best rushing offense, averaging 317.3 yards per game.
Ward hasn’t been asked to win games throwing the football, but he has thrown for 719 yards and eight touchdowns this season.
“Everybody thinks all we do is run, but we’re more than capable of throwing the football,” Mascheck said.