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Katy is 3-0 after nipping Tompkins 14-13 on Saturday at Legacy Stadium for its second straight win over a state-ranked opponent.
KATY—Last week against state-ranked Atascocita, Katy rode Seth Davis’s go-ahead 57-yard touchdown run with 61 seconds left to victory.
On Friday against state-ranked and district rival Tompkins, it was opportunistic defense the Tigers manufactured into a win.
With Katy up one point and Tompkins threatening with 4th-and-2 on the Katy 42-yard line with less than two minutes left, Tigers senior defensive back Micah Sweats cut in front of Falcons quarterback Chris Gilbert’s throw to senior receiver Matthew Ogunrin along the right sideline and raced the other way before being tackled at the Tompkins 21-yard line. From there, the victory formation salted a thrilling 14-13 Katy win over Tompkins on Saturday evening at Legacy Stadium.
“I knew they’d been running a whole bunch of stop routes on those short-down routes,” Sweats said. “I trusted my other guys to get to the quarterback. I read the route and was able to make the play, did my job. I did what I was supposed to be doing out there.”
\u201cDown 1 with 4th-and-2 on the Katy 42 with 1:53 left, Tompkins QB Chris Gilbert is intercepted by @sweats_micah. Clutch for @FootballKaty. #txhsfb @KatyISDAthletic @KatyTigerMedia\u201d — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
Katy improved to 3-0, 1-0 in District 19-6A. Tompkins dropped to 2-1, 0-1.
Neither team played particularly well. Katy had three turnovers, all in the first half, and six penalties for 50 yards, most of them false starts. Tompkins had two turnovers, including the big one on its final drive, and on its next-to-last drive committed three consecutive penalties in Katy territory after being charged with just three penalties, total, in the previous three quarters.
“We talked in there (the locker room postgame) about how disappointed we would’ve been if we would’ve played good and lost,” Katy coach Gary Joseph said. “We were able to do what it took and do enough to win, and that’s the most important thing. I can’t fault their work ethic. We’ve just got to get going. We can’t be that inept on offense and we’ve got to be better on defense and the kicking game.”
Tompkins outgained Katy 236-223 in total yards but had to rely on Andrew Horner field goals of 31 and 25 yards, respectively, twice in the red zone in the first half. Katy averaged 4.7 yards per carry as Davis had a tough go against an unrelenting front seven for the second consecutive game.
Still, Davis’s touchdowns of 8 and 2 yards, respectively, were enough, especially his go-ahead score on fourth down late in the third quarter that ultimately proved to be the winner.
\u201c.@FootballKaty back in front on this @_SethDavis21 2-yard gash. Tigers lead 14-13, 2:48, 3Q. #txhsfb @KatyTigerMedia\u201d — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
“It was fun,” said Davis, who rushed for 118 yards on 26 carries. “Both crowds were yelling, and I was excited. Just found a way to score. It helped us get the lead. It was big.
“We made a lot of mistakes, but in the second half we started picking it up and just driving the ball down the field. We ran it hard and did a better job taking care of the ball.”
Defense won Katy the game after offense headlined the Atascocita win.
\u201c.@FootballKaty 2023 DB Micah Sweats (@sweats_micah) talks about tonight\u2019s 14-13 win over Tompkins. Sweats had the game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter to lift the Tigers to a 3-0 start. #txhsfb @KatyISDAthletic @KPRC2RandyMc @Katyfootball\u201d — VYPE Houston (@VYPE Houston)
The Tigers forced two turnovers on interceptions by junior linebacker Connor Johnsey and Sweats and held the Falcons to 4.3 yards per play and one touchdown, Wyatt Young’s 11-yard snare from Gilbert in the left corner end zone with 11 seconds left in the second quarter.
Tompkins did not score the rest of the game.
“It started with the D-line,” Johnsey said. “They had to get the gaps open for the linebackers and the safeties. We worked hard this whole week, and I felt we were very prepared for this game.”
Uncharacteristic Katy miscues allowed Tompkins the momentum most of the game. The Falcons twice held the lead: 3-0 early into the second quarter and 13-7 from late in the second quarter through most of the third.
\u201cCody Chapman interception as @othsfalconfb collects its second takeaway of three Katy drives. #txhsfb @OTHSABClub\u201d — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
False starts stunted Tigers drives. A ball was inexplicably downed at the Katy 1-yard line by a Tiger on a kick return. Another Tiger fumbled a kick return.
Over the last two weeks, against two of the top teams in the region, Katy has 11 penalties for 80 yards. Most of the mishaps are non-sensical.
“They’re learning that having to fight is much different in close games than winning games big. It’s about growing up,” Joseph said. “We did some of the dumbest things, and we keep on doing it. Pretty soon, it’s got to stop. That’s what I told them. If we have to make changes, we’ll make changes.”
But there’s the flip side that is significant, and it’s that the Tigers are 2-0 over the last two weeks and not 0-2. A rosy picture that Joseph acknowledged.
“That’s the tough thing about playing a district game this early in the year,” he said. “You’re still going to have growing pains. But I’m proud of the kids for hanging in there. They did exactly what they needed to do to win the game.”
Seven Lakes' (Back Row): Isabella Deuel, Sameena Burns, Julia Valverde and Leanna Beaty. (Front Row): Simone Romriell, Grace Lanier and Temi Sam-Olibale.
KATY—Tuesday’s non-district volleyball game between Seven Lakes and George Ranch did not just showcase two of VYPE’s Top 20 teams in Class 6A, it matched up two programs with substantial tradition who are in reloading phases.
The Spartans, with two state tournament appearances since 2017 and a state title in 2020, are a young, raw club playing without a Batenhorst on their roster for the first time since 2013, as Danielle (Gonzaga), Ally (Nebraska) and Casey (SMU) are now frustrating collegiate defenses. George Ranch graduated four premier DI talents in Allie Sczech (Baylor), Logan Lednicky (Texas A&M), Avery Shimaitis (Pepperdine) and Dylan Hoskins (Texas Tech), who led the Longhorns to 116 wins over the last four years.
Seven Lakes got the best of George Ranch at home tonight, winning 3-1 (25-18, 20-25, 25-15, 26-24) to improve to 10-6 and earn an impressive win over a 14-7 Longhorns team that had won 10 of its previous 11 games.
“The process is always the same, but we take it a season at a time,” Seven Lakes coach Amy Cataline said. “Right now, we’re focusing on growth in preseason and when district comes, our focus will be on winning it. We have big goals but we’re still figuring out some of the pieces so that when we’re tested, we’re confident because we’ve done it before.”
Juniors Temi Sam-Olibale (13 kills), Leanna Beaty (12 kills) and Sameena Burns (11 kills) paced Seven Lakes’ attack.
Sam-Olibale is a returner. Beaty is a newcomer as a middle. Burns was a freshman reserve on the Spartans’ state title team two years ago but is making the switch from middle to outside hitter.
“It’s definitely a mental battle,” said Burns, who focused on cleaning up her passing and out-of-system play this summer to get ready for her new role. “Some games, you feel your performance should be how it was as a middle. At the same time, I get stuck and trapped because I still don’t know what to do in certain situations, because I’ve never been in them. It’s about being more kind to myself and realizing this is a new position and that sometimes it’s not going to be perfect.”
Seven Lakes junior Sameena Burns.VYPE Media
Still, Burns is averaging 2.5 kills per set, second on the team behind Sam-Olibale. Her .242 hit percentage Tuesday was her third highest of the season.
Burns said she is becoming more confident and loves that she can affect the game in more ways as an outside hitter.
“She has a heavy hand,” Cataline said of Burns’ fast, violent swings. “She just needs to work on the timing. As a middle, she’s a speed attacker, so oftentimes now she has to wait, especially if we’re out of system. It’s been a challenge for her to find her timing, but she’s grown so much.”
Cataline also raved about Beaty’s shot selection and placement. It has been an emphasis of Cataline’s, and Beaty heeded her coach’s words.
\u201cLeanna Beaty puts this one away. @7LakesVBnews takes the fourth set 26-24 in a thriller to beat George Ranch 3-1. Spartans go to 10-6. Longhorns drop to 14-7. #txhsvb @SLHSABC @KatyISDAthletic\u201d — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
Beaty had a .500 hit percentage against George Ranch and only one error in 22 attacks, methodically choosing at what and when to swing.
The Spartans’ heart and soul, though, resides in senior libero Grace Lanier.
Seven Lakes sees itself as a scrappy, gritty team that fights, and those attributes define the relentless Lanier perfectly. Lanier had 25 digs, four assists and two aces, and thrilled spectators with her persistent pursuit of balls.
“Definitely, go for everything,” Lanier said. “On that 900th time that you don’t think you’ll get to a ball, stick a limb out, do something. It’ll be there. Our mentality is just go and get it.
“If you don’t go, you’ll never know.”
On a team of mostly juniors and sophomores, Lanier, a sophomore when Seven Lakes won state two years ago, has embraced the leadership role.
\u201c.@7LakesVBnews senior Grace Lanier (@GAL888) talks about the Spartans\u2019 3-1 win over George Ranch tonight. Lanier was exceptional in the win, with clutch digs, assists and aces in boosting the Spartans to 10-6. #txhsvb @KatyISDAthletic @SLHSABC @SpartanCrazies_ @GHVCA\u201d — VYPE Houston (@VYPE Houston)
“It’s about patience,” she said. “Everyone’s got a special gift they can bring to the team, and it’s my job to help bring it out in each and every one of them. I came to summer clinics, skill sessions and weightlifting, just trying to create a connection with each and every one of the girls. That’s what I remember from my sophomore year, when Ally and our other great players made an effort to have an impact on you personally.
“The sky’s the limit when we’re all playing for each other.”
Cataline said Lanier’s energy and “go-for-it” attitude is contagious. While the Spartans are trying to find themselves still, particularly in the attack, there is no question what they want to be about and what they are.
“We are 100 percent your ‘out’ team,” Burns said. “We outwork people, we outplay people. This team loves each other and fights. The amount of grit this team has makes it really special.”