Your password needs to be at least 8 characters and one number.
HOUSTON - Sometimes football is a game of inches.
Inches is what separated Katy Tompkins from extending its fourth-quarter drive against North Shore with 1:19 remaining in the game. As Tompkins signal-caller Cole Francis hit Wyatt Young, the sophomore headed towards the first-down marker. North Shore's Caleb Flagg streaked over and hit Young right at it sending them into the sideline and the marker to the ground.
After setting the ball down, the referees signaled first down North Shore, which sent Tompkins players to the turf in heartbreak as their comeback attempt had come up just short. North Shore took two kneeldowns and sealed its 26-20 Class 6A Division I Region III Semifinal victory at Galena Park ISD Stadium on Friday afternoon.
"I think a lot of it had to do with the way Katy Tompkins came out in the second half," North Shore coach Jon Kay, whose team led 20-0 at the half, said. "I've got nothing but respect for those guys. They are so well coached, they play hard. Obviously, we had our issues in the second half but I don't want to take anything away from Tompkins and how those kids came out and played.
"To have it come down to that last possession, that's what you want. You want your kids out there and experience that. Win or lose it's something you'll always remember. Just proud that we got another chance to play another week."
Katy Tompkins with the loss finishes 11-2 on the year in the Regional Semifinals.
"Super proud of the coaches and the kids for their fight coming out in the second half being down," Tompkins coach Todd McVey said. "North Shore is obviously a very good football team. We knew we had our hands full coming over here but we fully expected to compete. Can't say enough about our kids. We talk about E+R=O all the time and how they responded. Just so proud of all of them."
It was truly a tale of two halves on Friday.
In the second quarter, North Shore jumped out to a lead behind the arm of freshman quarterback Kaleb Bailey. In less than three minutes, Bailey hit Nassiah Dunham for a five-yard score and then Jhalyn Bailey for a 31-yard touchdown, making it 14-0 with 9:25 left in the first half.
"It was just the gameplan that we stuck to," Jhalyn said. "We just trusted in Coach [Willie] Gaston and it came out positive for us. We just grinded every play and it worked out."
TOUCHDOWN @NSNationFB!! @unexpectedkb9 hits Jhalyn Bailey for the 31-yard score. Mustangs and my second quarter have scored 14 points in less than 3 minutes. #txhsfb2nd - 9:25North Shore -14Tompkins - 0@texashsfootball @KPRC2RandyMc @IIAmador8 @battle_kent @GalenaParkISD pic.twitter.com/zGhirFCAnc— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) November 26, 2021
With 2:20 in the second quarter, Bailey threw a dart to David Amador for a 22-yard score, which gave North Shore the 20-0 halftime lead.
"I thought we had a good rhythm going offensively and the kids were executing it," Kay said. "We were running the ball well and things were going our way."
With momentum fully on North Shore's side, McVey admitted that "it was a direct" message to his team to respond. And that's what they did.
The Tompkins defense bowed up, while Young was moved back to quarterback for select plays that ended up paying huge dividends for the Falcons.
In the third quarter, Young busted off a 51-yard and 32-yard touchdown run for the Falcons, to pull the game within two scores - 26-13 - heading into the fourth quarter. Young then made it a one score game with a 25-yard score with 8:26 remaining. Three carries, 108 yards and three scores by Young and the Falcons were rolling.
"Wyatt is a super-competitive kid," McVey said. "We just can't say enough about his effort. You can see the effort to get where to where he wants to go."
TOUCHDOWN @othsfalconfb!! There goes that man!! @wyatttyoung takes the snap and rumbles in from 32 yards out. His second rushing TD of the game. #txhsfb 3rd - 2:58North Shore - 26Tompkins - 13(@KatyISDAthletic @Capitaodomato1 @colefrancis04 @texashsfootball @KPRC2RandyMc) pic.twitter.com/NrmgdlT9j7— VYPE Houston (@vypehouston) November 26, 2021
Despite the massive comeback, in the end the North Shore defense held just enough in the end to pull out the 26-20 victory to advance to play the winner of Ridge Point and Atascocita next week in the State Quarterfinals.
"It's great, just being around me teammates one more game, it's all one-game seasons now, it's great being around these guys," Flagg said. "I love these guys. They are my brothers. I've been with them for four years. It's my last year and it's just great being with my guys for one more week. That's what it's all about. Football, family and love."
Seven Lakes sophomore Justice Carlton.
BEFORE SHE STARTED DOMINATING WHEREVER AND WHENEVER SHE WISHED ON THE BASKETBALL COURT, JUSTICE CARLTON WAS AN ASTUTE THINKER OF THE GAME.
Before the Seven Lakes sophomore's game developed to where she would be heralded as one of the best in her class, Carlton's mother, former Baylor star Kacy Moffitt, said her daughter could have coached.
At five years old.
"Her skills weren't there, but her IQ was there," Moffitt said. "She was seeing things at an advanced level. She just gets it. We might go over a post move once, and in the next game she'll have that post move down, plus a counter move that she's never used before."
Premier Basketball recently ranked the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Carlton No. 1 in the state for the Class of 2024. She was MVP of the prestigious Boo Williams tournament in Virginia last spring that kicked off the AAU season. Carlton, who already holds more than 20 scholarship offers from major DI schools, averaged 24 points and nine rebounds for Seven Lakes last season, earning all-region honors.
And she is only beginning to understand just how good she is.
"Justice is super strong and can out-power people, and then her first step, 15-feet extended, is incredible for her size. But last year, I thought she passed too much," Moffitt said. "Now she's starting to know when to take over. She's developing a little bit of swag."
Carlton said she's simply trying to take after mom.
"I try to pattern my game a lot after her, definitely," Carlton said. "My jump shot was so bad, so ugly when I first started. But I've tried to take my mom's jump shot, mid-range and shooting off the pass, as much as I can."
Carlton's size and skillset pose a unique conundrum that Moffitt is all too familiar with.
At the high school level, Carlton is typically the biggest player on the court, so Spartans coach Angela Spurlock uses her primarily in the post. But Carlton's ball-handling skills, mobility and agility belie her size.
When she attended the USA Basketball trials this summer, one of 32 players in the nation invited, Carlton realized she's not quite big enough to play on the blocks. However, girls who played away from the basket did not have her size.
"That was the realization that I probably couldn't just focus on being a post anymore," Carlton said.
So, Carlton started transitioning more to playing forward. With her Cy-Fair EYBL AAU team, Carlton learned how to hoop. With the Spartans, Carlton learned how to play basketball.
Proper footwork. Jump stops. Drop-steps. Using the glass on shots. Defending the pick-and-roll.
"I had never learned to do things like box out and how to pin. I learned that in high school," Carlton said. "I was just out-jumping girls in AAU. In high school, I couldn't just run and shoot off the dribble anymore. AAU is running around and scoring in transition. In high school, I was having to post up and rebound and play defense. It was a crazy, hard adjustment."
If there's anyone who understands, it's Moffitt.
At 6-foot-5 and 160 pounds, Moffitt was a rangy, athletic center for Baylor from 1995- 1999, as comfortable on the perimeter handling the ball as she was blocking shots and rebounding.
She finished 13th all-time at Baylor in scoring and seventh in blocks, but never found a fit professionally.
"People just couldn't figure out what to do with me," said Moffitt, now a teacher and coach at Adams Junior High in Katy. "I played in the WNBA and tried out with Washington, was with Detroit for a little bit, Miami for a little bit. They were like, 'we just need you to be bigger.' And here I was thinking, 'I can do all of this stuff, and the big girls can't guard me, and when you put a guard on me, I'll take it to the block.'
"It was extremely frustrating."
Moffitt is ensuring Carlton avoids the same fate.
She encourages Carlton to play free and open, to explore and seek, to use every ounce of her talent.
Carlton, meanwhile, takes it all in stride. As competitive and focused as she is on the court, Carlton is laid back and care-free off it.
She is mature beyond her years. Carlton does not post scholarship offers to her social media, telling Moffitt it is an "unnecessary low-key flex". She took high school courses in junior high so that she can take college courses and plan towards her major in high school.
But Carlton also has the playfulness of a sophomore. Arguably her biggest accomplishment last season may have been getting the no-nonsense Spurlock to pose with her for an "ice in my veins" photo at the team's postseason banquet.
No matter what position she's playing, Carlton's only focus right now is shattering Seven Lakes' all-time scoring record.
"My coach is letting me play more open and freely, which I'm loving," she said. "I'm really excited to see how I'm about to play with these girls this year."
To order the following
DIGITAL VERSION - 2021-2022 VYPE Houston Basketball Preview Magazine - VYPE
ORDER COPY - 2021 VYPE Houston Magazine (VYPE Basketball Preview): Volume 14 Number – VYPE Shop (shopvype.com)
FOR PHOTOS -- VYPE PHOTOS