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Katy senior receiver and Oklahoma commit Nic Anderson was a headlining performer in the Tigers' 41-24 regional semifinal win over C.E. King on Friday at Legacy Stadium. Anderson had 99 receiving yards and 40 rushing yards with two touchdowns in the win.
KATY—Four takeaways from Katy's 41-24 Class 6A regional semifinal win over C.E. King on Friday afternoon at Legacy Stadium.
The Tigers improved to 13-0. King's season ends at 10-3.
1. THROWING 'EM OFF
Katy did not have a rushing touchdown in the first half and resorted to some trickery early in the first quarter for its first score, an eight-yard halfback pass from junior running back Seth Davis to junior receiver JR Ceyanes.
"You saw the size of their kids up front," coach Gary Joseph said of King's physical defensive line. "You have to be able to throw the football. You can't let them line up and tee off on us. We knew that. It was important for us to be able to move the football, however it was. We had to limit their possessions a bit."
.@FootballKaty fancy on the opening drive. Eight-yard halfback pass from @_SethDavis21 to @CeyanesJr for the TD. 7-0 Tigers, 7:42, 1Q. #txhsfb @KatyISDAthletic @khs_live @KatySportsMedpic.twitter.com/1w1uukagT1 — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
Of Katy's five touchdowns, two were on the ground. One of those was a Nic Anderson reverse score with 50 seconds left.
The Tigers totaled 250 rushing yards on 39 carries and 180 passing yards on 12-of-22 passing.
"I still feel we haven't hit our best game yet, but we're getting there," Anderson said of the offense. "When we do, it's going to be a big game, so I can't wait for that moment."
2. ANDERSON SOARS
Speaking of Anderson, the Katy senior receiver and Oklahoma commit is hitting his stride in full force after missing a handful of games earlier this season with ankle and hamstring injuries.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder had eight catches for 99 yards and a touchdown and the 40-yard reverse run for a touchdown.
Anderson has 238 receiving yards and three total touchdowns in three playoff games.
"I feel really good," Anderson said. "I'm almost at 100 percent. It's just good to be out here with my brothers. Now that I'm back, I'm ready to put 100 percent of myself into this program."
On 3rd-and-12, @CalebKoger3 delivers a brilliant dart to @nicanderson02, who does the rest. 47-yard scoring catch-and-run. @FootballKaty up 14-0, 2:59, 1Q. #txhsfb @KatySportsMed @khs_live @KatyISDAthleticpic.twitter.com/8Mp9AnPtvK — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
Anderson was particularly pleased with his scoring run.
"The play just opened up perfectly," he gushed. "Linemen were blocking; (junior offensive lineman) Jacob Egg, he was just hustling around the edge, running his butt off for that last block. I didn't get touched, so that should tell you how good the blocking was."
3. WIMBLEY HURT
A major pre-game storyline was how Katy would contain King senior running back Jerrell Wimbley, who was coming off a 323-yard, five-touchdown game against Shadow Creek in the area round last week and entered with 1,972 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns.
But the 5-10, 185-pound Wimbley suffered a leg injury late in the second quarter and never returned. Up until that point, he had 43 yards on nine carries. Twenty-four of those yards came on his first two carries.
"We knew they'd be passing a little bit more, so we had to cover the pass game," senior linebacker Carson Marshall said of the effect of Wimbley's absence. "We knew it'd be more spread out. We were ready to go. We still stayed true to who we are."
King found substantial success without Wimbley in the second half, closing to within 24-17 with 9:15 left in the third quarter and 34-24 wit 3:49 left in the game as junior quarterback Nehemiah Brousard found a groove.
Senior running back DK Hammond had a pair of touchdowns as the Panthers strung together impressive drives.
Of King's 345 total yards, 247 came in the second half.
But Katy countered every time. King never could get the big defensive stop it needed. Davis had a dynamic 62-yard scoring run off the left edge. Senior Axel Robertson drilled a 38-yard field goal.
"We talked before the game that there would be some things out of our control that would happen," Joseph said. "We were going to have to respond, and every time something happened, they did. I couldn't be more proud of them and their character. It wasn't perfect, but we won the game. Our character was tested, the pressure rose, and they responded."
Joseph said his team has to do a better job rushing the passer and covering downfield.
"We'll get an opportunity to do a better job, because we'll get an opportunity to play next week," Joseph said.
4. CARTER SHINES
Sophomore tight end Luke Carter, son of Katy ISD assistant athletic director Lance Carter, had an impactful game for the Tigers, including his first career varsity touchdown.
On 4th-and-3, @CalebKoger3 finds @LukeCarter33 for a 29-yard score. I know a certain @KatyISDAthletic assistant AD @LanceCarter55 who is pretty ecstatic right about now. 34-17 @FootballKaty, 8:37, 4Q. #txhsfb @khs_live @KatySportsMed @KatyHSPrincipalpic.twitter.com/C0wTczkkLW — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
Carter caught two passes for 46 yards. The first catch, a 17-yard leaping snare on third down early in the first quarter, put Katy in the red zone on the Tigers' opening series and led to Davis' halfback pass. The second catch was a 29-yard grab on 4th-and-3 with 8:37 left that put the Tigers ahead 34-17, essentially sealing the win.
"He's not a sophomore anymore," Joseph said. "He's played 13 games now. We tell these kids they're grown up. They don't ask how old you are when you line up on the field; you're a varsity football player. He made a play. We trust him just like we trust all of our kids."
Katy High junior quarterback Caleb Koger had a career-best 331 passing yards and a career-tying-best five touchdowns in the Tigers' 56-21 win over Tompkins on Friday at Legacy Stadium.
KATY — Though Katy's football players would like to say that Friday's District 19-6A showdown against heated rival Tompkins was just another game, it wasn't.
Senior linebacker Ty Kana said as much to teammates during a pregame huddle led by the captains. So did senior defensive back Hamilton McMartin.
After Tompkins' 24-19 win last year snapped the Tigers' 12-year reign as district champions, Katy had Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, circled on its calendar ever since. And though the Tigers went on to win the Class 6A, Division II state championship last season, the Tompkins loss—the lone blemish on their 2020 record—haunted them.
"Y'all remember last year!" McMartin yelled. "We're not going through that again!"
"We've been waiting the whole year for this!" senior linebacker Carson Marshall bellowed.
"It is personal!" Kana emphasized.
And then the Tigers went out and played like it.
Katy led from start to finish, hardly threatened the entire way, in a demonstrative 56-21 rout of Tompkins at Legacy Stadium. The Tigers improved to 6-0 overall, 2-0 in District 19-6A, and reasserted themselves as the city's finest. The Falcons lost their first game of the season, falling to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in district.
"We wanted it bad," senior receiver Antonio Silva said. "We took it personal, and we came out and took the 'W.'"
An elated @FootballKaty team. Huge win for the Tigers. #txhsfb https://t.co/06WOceVTUH — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
Katy is back on top of 19-6A. And while the usual suspects—a dominant running game and unrelenting defense—played significant roles in the win, it was a surprisingly prolific passing game, masterfully directed by junior quarterback Caleb Koger, that torched a playmaking Falcons secondary.
Koger completed 14 of 17 passes for 331 yards and five touchdowns, finishing one TD short of the program's single-game record held by Brooks Haack. The 331 yards were a career-best and the five touchdowns tied a career-high.
Koger entered the game averaging 126 passing yards per game with nine touchdowns to five interceptions in five games. It was an inauspicious start, at best, to the season.
Against Tompkins, however, Koger showed once more why he is a state championship quarterback. At one point, he completed 10 consecutive passes while throwing touchdowns to three different receivers.
"Having a big game like this, and a year of experience under my belt, it's all big," Koger said. "It all helps. I've improved, but really, my line has improved big-time. People have stepped up. They've been able to give us big holes in the run game, and then we get guys wide open in the passing game."
Junior running back Seth Davis was his typical big-play self with 205 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. But while Tompkins' defense focused on him, Koger made it pay.
The primary beneficiaries were senior receivers Nic Anderson (six catches, 128 yards, two TDs) and Antonio Silva (five catches, 143 yards, TD).
"It's just the connection that's building between the receivers and quarterback," Silva said. "It's getting better and better each week. The more we work on it, the better we get."
Koger's favorite play is the bootleg play-action, and he showed why, often finding Silva or Anderson for wide open catches because of his ability to sell the fake handoff to the deadly Davis.
"There's a big difference from last year to this year for him," Silva said of Koger. "He got a lot of pressure tonight, and I feel like he did well. He really took care of the ball."
For only the second time this season, Katy's offense did not have a turnover. During one point of the game, it scored on seven of eight drives. The Tigers totaled 635 yards, 364 through the air.
"Caleb got a lot of blame for interceptions and stuff, and I said then how it's not just on the quarterback," coach Gary Joseph said. "We had good protection and I was proud of our play-action kids. Our kids did a great job faking and did a good job getting open, catching the football, and making some tough catches. As an offense, you don't want to be one-dimensional. Everyone knows we want to run the football, and they'll load the box to stop the run. It opens up things.
"Hopefully, he continues getting better. It was a stepping stone."
.@CalebKoger3 running that misdirection to perfection. A 47-yard DIME to Antonio Silva. 14-0 @FootballKaty, 10:43,… https://t.co/b5Ltmrk7Rv — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)
Though 5-0 coming into the game, the Tigers had not played consistently well. Turnovers and injuries plagued them through the early portion of the season.
But Friday's win was excitedly welcomed, not just because of the win but for how they won.
"From the very beginning, I told them that they had to learn to trust and love each other," Joseph said. "You can see, after we scored, how excited they were. They were excited for each other. You can finally feel the chemistry building, and that's what's the most exciting thing to me. Hopefully, we can build on this."
>> TAKEAWAYS! Katy had two takeaways against Tompkins, which was an "awesome" sight for Joseph as the Tigers have had a hard time generating them so far this season. Junior defensive back Arian Parish, who had an interception in the first half that the Tigers later capitalized on with a touchdown, said the defense was simply ready. "We've been waiting for this game for a long time," Parish said. "We came out strong this week. Every day was a good day. It was all fundamentals, nothing different. I trust my guys. I trust the guy in front of me, the guy behind me. We executed. If you know what your job is and the guy next to you knows what his job is, the game slows down."
>> NIC'S BACK: Having only played in two of the team's first five games because of injury, Anderson looked healthy against Tompkins and had an electric performance with touchdown catches of 45 and 53, yards, respectively. They were his first touchdowns of the season. "He's such a good playmaker," Koger said. "A big dude, 6-4, fast. He's everything I want in a receiver. He's just awesome."
>> McMILLAN STARS: Tompkins senior receiver Joshua McMillan II had a fantastic game against the Tigers. He was responsible for all three Falcons touchdowns—two receiving (49 yards, 30 yards) and a SportsCenter-worthy 108-yard kick return late in the first half for a score. In all, McMillan, an HBU commit, had four catches for 95 yards.
.@Duece1324!!! 🔥🔥🔥 108-yard kick return for @othsfalconfb. 35-14 Katy, 2:28, 2Q. #txhsfb @OTHSABClub https://t.co/FUHMOMa59y — Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II)