Katy outlasts Atascocita on Davis’ winning run
KATY—Atascocita had enough to win. Perhaps more than enough.
The Eagles had a dynamic dual-threat quarterback in junior Zion Brown, who gashed a typically vicious secondary early and often. They had a power speed back in sophomore Tory Blaylock, who found his stride when it mattered most. They had a plethora of playmaking at receiver in senior Darrell Gill, junior Kyran Lee and senior Christian Hicks.
But in the end, Katy had Seth Davis, who, while committed to the SEC’s Mississippi State, is still very much playing with a chip on his shoulder. An underdog’s underdog, of sorts.
On an evening when lightning delayed the game by 90 minutes, the senior back’s 57-yard in-and-out run with 1:01 left in the fourth quarter, featuring Davis’ typical strength, vision and speed, was the flash and spark that was most electric, the game-winner in a battle between two of the state’s top 10 teams as Katy outlasted Atascocita, 35-28, in a classic Friday night at Legacy Stadium.
“It didn’t seem like it. It was,” Katy coach Gary Joseph said when asked if it seemed like a gut-check win for his Tigers. “We had some injuries going in, and just to have kids step up … that’s what we talk about in non-district, being able to develop some depth and have some depth. These kids have been in battles and the wars and I’m proud of the resilience they showed.
“That’s a good football team that made some plays on us and got us into situations and the kids fought through it.”
Tied at 14-all at the half and 21-all at the end of the third quarter, Katy (2-0) scored on senior receiver Micah Koenig’s 13-yard catch from senior quarterback Caleb Koger with 7:15 left. Atascocita (1-1) answered with Blaylock’s 1-yard run a little less than five minutes later.
That set the stage for Davis, who needs 2,078 more yards to become Katy’s all-time leading rusher. He had 189 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries.
\u201c.@FootballKaty 2023 RB and @HailStateFB commit @_SethDavis21 talks about his game-winning 57-yard TD with 61 seconds left that helped lift the Tigers past Atascocita, 35-28, tonight. #txhsfb @KatyISDAthletic @KatyTigerMedia @KPRC2RandyMc @texashsfootball @KatySportsMed\u201d— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1662177093
“My O-line got me a good hook block, so I cut inside first and then I cut out,” Davis said. “Right there, I made a play. We fought and never gave up.”
On Atascocita’s final drive, the Katy defense forced four incompletions to force a turnover on downs and kneel out the win.
It was a performance of perseverance for Davis. The 57-yard run was just his fourth run of 10 or more yards on 29 carries.
He saved his best for last.
\u201c.@_SethDavis21 57-yard run! Wow! @FootballKaty up 35-28, 1:01, 4Q. What a run! #txhsfb @KatyTigerMedia\u201d— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1662174191
“We’ve said all along the kid’s a really good football player,” Joseph said. “He never got frustrated. The creases weren’t there all the time, and he was still encouraging his offensive linemen and keeping things going. We knew he’d make a play, and he made one. I can’t tell you how proud I am of him and the leadership he showed.”
Davis had 130 yards in the second half, when he averaged 8.7 yards per carry compared to 4.2 in the first half. He was the rock of a persistent running game by Katy that kept chipping and chipping away.
The Tigers rushed 38 times for 221 yards, including 21 times for 143 yards in the second half.
“We took it down by down and played Katy football,” Davis said of the final two quarters. “We pounded it down their throat, went straight to them and didn’t go to the outside as much. I started making one cut and just going.”
With all attention and pursuit on Davis, Atascocita’s defense welcomed Koger to beat it. After Koger’s subpar performance last week against Clear Springs, with 64 yards and a touchdown and interception on 3-for-11 passing, it was a reasonable gameplan.
However, Koger did what he needed to do, much to Atascocita’s chagrin. He was crucial in beating the Eagles, completing 11 of 20 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns to Koenig and senior receiver Andrew Jackson, while rushing for 20 yards and a touchdown on three carries.
\u201c,@FootballKaty 2023 QB @CalebKoger3 discusses tonight\u2019s 35-28 win over Atascocita. Koger completed 11 of 20 passes for 200 yards and two TDs and rushed for 20 yards and a TD. #txhsfb @Katyfootball @KatyISDAthletic @KPRC2 @KPRC2RandyMc\u201d— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1662182358
“I try and prepare for each game the same way,” said an exhausted Koger, who said the game was “fun.” “Obviously, the last game, I didn’t play too well. I really needed this game, and it felt good to play well. I practiced so much harder. I was so upset with my performance. I’m just glad I kind of made up for it. Obviously, I have a lot more work to do. I’d like to be perfect. That’s sort of impossible, but I do want to be the best I can.”
Joseph said Koger played like he expects a veteran, battle-tested quarterback to play.
“We had to have it,” Joseph said. “The kid’s a three-year starter. It’s not like he hasn’t been in big games before. It was his time to step up.”
\u201c,@FootballKaty coach Gary Joseph discusses tonight\u2019s 35-28 win over Atascocita. The Tigers are 2-0 heading into the start of district play next week. #txhsfb @Katyfootball @KatyISDAthletic @KPRC2 @KPRC2RandyMc\u201d— VYPE Houston (@VYPE Houston) 1662176232
Katy totaled 421 yards to Atascocita’s 334. Brown completed 20 of 37 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Eagles. Blaylock rushed for 69 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, with 80 yards and both scores coming in the second half. The trio of Gill, Lee and Hicks combined for 214 receiving yards on 16 catches.
But the Tigers found a way to manufacture victory, even while considerably undermanned. With starters Broderick Johnson (defensive lineman), Isaiah Ybarra (offensive lineman) and JR Ceyanes (No. 1 receiver) out with injury, others filled in.
Jackson, junior receiver Oliver Ginn, junior offensive lineman Coen Echols and freshman defensive lineman Jimmy Alo-Suliafu all assumed larger roles admirably.
Alo-Suliafu is the first freshman player to start on defense for Katy since former Tiger great Collin Wilder 10 years ago.
“We can’t rest on our laurels,” Joseph said. “It’s about district now. We’ll enjoy it but then we’ll turn our focus and attention on Tompkins.”