For the second-straight year, North Shore, Shadow Creek and Fort Bend Marshall will be playing for spots at AT&T Stadium. No one should be surprised with how much talent each group brought back for 2019.
Start with Fort Bend Marshall.
The Buffs walked into a rematch against Manvel on Saturday. Earlier this season, Manvel defeated FB Marshall 38-34, would the result be the same in Round 2? Not by a long shot.
HOUSTON – Katy's defensive unit had something to prove.
A week after giving up 28 points to Ridge Point in a single-touchdown victory for the Tigers, the defensive side of the ball knew they had to be better. They had "get their mojo back".
Bryan Massey's 40-yard pick six to help seal a 27-14 victory over previously undefeated Cy-Fair on Friday at Tully Stadium might have done just that, propelling the Tigers to the third round for an 18th-straight season.
"This is probably the most complete game we've played tonight," Massey said. "We did well talking to each other. Defensive back-wise, linebacker-wise, front-wise, everything was good tonight."
Katy will face North Shore, which beat Pearland Dawson 58-35, for a fourth-straight year next week the day after Thanksgiving inside NRG Stadium. Kickoff for that game is slated for 4 p.m.
Defense was the name of the game early and often.
Both defensive units were astounding in the first quarter, Katy leading 3-0 after the opening 12 minutes and a combined 49 yards of total offense between the teams. The Tigers forced four Cy-Fair punts in the opening frame.
Katy's defense continued thrive, especially in the second half.
Outside of an 85-yard touchdown run by LJ Johnson – his longest play of the night – the Tigers' defense forced four second-half turnovers, including three in the fourth quarter capped by Massey's pick six.
"It gave you a two-touchdown lead and now instead of having to play on eggshells, kids kind of cut loose and got after it and they did," Katy coach Gary Joseph said. "We had to get turnovers after the half, [Cy-Fair] got a couple in the first half and we had to sit there and reciprocate. The kids did a good job."
Cy-Fair's leading rusher, who entered the game with north of 1,800 yards for his junior season was held to 118 on 17 carries. Cy-Fair quarterback Carter Cravens was 8 of 25 for 40 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown.
"Very tough, very good, very well coached," Cy-Fair coach Ed Pustejovsky said about the Katy defense. "Coach Joseph and their staff do a tremendous job. You know they got to the ball, they ran real well, they knew their fits and did a good job. That's why they're successful on that side."
When it was all said and done, Katy's defensive unit had held Cy-Fair to a total of 135 yards, just 2.9 yards per play, and 14 points.
The defense doing its job allowed the offense to cash in on a pair of Nemanja Lazic field goals, one from 22 and the other from 30 yards, a 42-yard pass from Bronson McClelland to Jordan Patrick and a two-yard connection from McClelland to Dylan George.
McClelland finished 13 of 24 for 208 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Jalen Davis, who stepped in for the injured Ron Hoff last week, went for 102 yards on 30 carries. Hoff was held out again after suffering an injury last week despite warming up prior to Friday's game.
Despite his defensive unit forcing four turnovers and the offense posting 326 yards and 20 points against Cy-Fair, Joseph doesn't believe collectively as a team they've played their best game as of yet.
Which may need to come very soon with defending Class 6A Division I State Champion North Shore next on the docket.
"We haven't played a complete game and I still don't think we have," Joseph said. "As far as offense, defense and kicking game. I still think we can play better. I'm hoping that we will take next week to do it otherwise we will be eliminated. It's in front of us and we'll be ready to go."