Katy being Katy: Back-to-Back Solid Wins to Open Season for Tigers
HUMBLE – Katy has never shied away from playing a strong non-district schedule.
The past few seasons it has been perennial playoff powers North Shore (2015 & 2018 State Champions), Atascocita (2016 State Semifinalist) and The Woodlands (2016 State Finalist) that has decorated the front-end of their schedule.
This season started no different.
Two road games against a pair of top-tier teams in the first two weeks and what does Katy have to show for it – a 24-21 victory over defending state champion North Shore on national television and 56-14 over Atascocita on Friday at Turner Stadium.
"We've played two teams about as good as there are in the Houston area," Katy coach Gary Joseph said. "It just speaks highly to what our kids have been able to do so far. We've got to continue getting better. Are we a finished product? By no stretch of the imagination. We made a lot of mistakes but if you play hard it can cover up a lot of mistakes.
"The kids played with a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of emotion and made plays."
In the grand scheme of things, the wins on August 29 and September 6 won't matter.
It's the victories that come through district play to get that playoff spot and then every win after that in November and December to keep their season alive in hopes of capturing a record-setting ninth state championship that will truly matter.
"Wins right now are great but last week, that wasn't the biggest game we're going to play," Katy quarterback Bronson McClelland, who passed for 207 yards and two scores against Atascocita said. "This week wasn't the biggest game we're going to play. We still have a lot bigger games.
"We've got 14 more and we plan to win 14 more, that's the deal."
But getting wins against teams that they could see in the playoffs down the road – which happened in 2017 facing both Atascocita and North Shore in back-to-back playoff rounds – is a confidence booster.
"It should give [the kids] confidence," Joseph said. "They can see where they're at, they can see what'll happen if they continue getting better."
Katy's defense has flown around the first two games.
The Tigers have reeled in four interceptions, three coming against Atascocita. One of those went for a touchdown as Hunter Washington took back a Brice Matthews pass 53 yards for the score. DQ Dawson had two of the three against the Eagles.
On top of that, the Tigers' stout defensive unit held North Shore to just 21 a week ago and allowed only two scores to Atascocita in this game.
"We're ready," Dawson, who celebrated his 18th birthday on Friday in his first-ever varsity start, said about the defense. "We come prepared; we're going to work hard everyday too. That's the Katy mentality. That's what we do.
"We've made some big statements. We've pretty much told the state we're going to come out here and play defense. We don't care who lines up in front of us."
Offensively, McClelland and company showed off all the weapons, especially against Atascocita.
McClelland went 11-for-15 for 207 yards and two touchdowns, Ronald Hoff Jr. had another 100-plus rushing attack, going for 129 yards and two scores, and Jordan Patrick had five catches for 123 yards and a score against the Eagles.
"It was a very important game to us," McClelland said. "People say rankings don't matter but they are a highly ranked team in the state. They have some good athletes; they played a good ball game. We just came out here and did what we did."
McClelland of all people knows there is still work to do.
But the confidence a win against North Shore and Atascocita, two highly state-ranked teams gives them, and the school is unmatched.
"It's a confidence booster, even the morale around the school," McClelland said. "From teachers, to other people, the morale around the school everybody's up. That's how we go at Katy, it's really good."