Historic Night: Katy Taylor advances to State Quarterfinals for the first time ever
HOUSTON - Once Braden Hay reached the end of the handshake line, the senior safety turned back in the direction of the Katy Taylor fans inside NRG Stadium.
The senior safety broke into a jog, holding his white helmet by the facemask in his left hand, while with his right he held up four fingers signifying the number round that the Mustangs were bound for.
A 35-14 victory over Humble on Saturday night secured for the first time in program history Katy Taylor's place amongst the final eight Class 6A Division II football teams in Texas left playing heading into December next week.
"It's something they can tell their grandkids about," Katy Taylor second-year coach Chad Simmons said. "Nobody can take that away from you, so again just awesome how hard they worked to earn it."
Katy Taylor improves to 8-5 overall on the season and will face Cypress Creek in the State Quarterfinals on Saturday, December 7 at NRG Stadium with kickoff slated for 2 p.m.
This will be the second-straight season Katy Taylor will face Cypress Creek in the playoffs. Last year, Cy Creek defeated Katy Taylor 24-14 in the Area Round.
"They've done a really good job," Simmons said. "They knocked us out last year, they've got a good offensive scheme, good defense, well coached and it'll be a good matchup."
This season marked the fourth-straight year that Katy Taylor has made the playoffs.
Unlike the last three appearances - 2016 (Cypress Ranch 55-28), 2017 (Langham Creek, 52-21) and 2018 (Cy Creek 24-14) - though, this run didn't end in the second round.
"It's surreal the last couple of years we've been beaten in the second round," Katy Taylor offensive lineman Hayden Conner said. "Now, we're going to the fourth round. It's kind of surreal but we're just going to take it one week at a time and go beat everybody."
Katy Taylor jumped out early on Humble, capitalizing on turnovers to rush out to a 14-0 lead.
With 7:28 left before halftime, Trevor Woods jumped the route on a Dexter Wyble Jr. pass and picked it off at the 10-yard line. As Woods looked up field, he side-stepped one would-be tackler and was home free down the sideline for the 90-yard pick six, making it 21-0.
"Everyone is hyped about it," Woods said about advancing to the fourth round. "We knew we could do it. Not everybody else believed in us but everyone stayed to the program."
VYPE Player of the Game: @Trevorw_43 had a 90-yard pick six in the game and helps @TaylorMustangFB make history advancing to the State Quarters for first time ever. #txhsfb@KatyISDAthletic@HayBraden@caseyshorter22@HaydenConner@brycefoster2021@katyisd@email@example.com/1aBxVsAmL0
— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) December 1, 2019
Humble did fight back to cut the lead down to 21-14 at the half behind a pair of deep touchdown passes by Wyble. The senior finished his final game as a Wildcat going 14 of 28 for 208 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Katy Taylor leaned on its passing game in the second half as J Jensen III - who finished 13 of 17 for 163 yards and three scores - hit Gavin Belue for a 22-yard score and then Griffin Dougherty on a 45-yard strike, pushing the lead up to 35-14, which would be the final.
"It's awesome, these kids have earned it," "We've gone through adversity all year. Close wins, close losses, big wins, big losses and they just learned from all of it. Got more guys healthy at the same time right now and I think we're peaking at the right time."