By George Slaughter
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday at NRG Stadium.
Katy comes into the matchup with a 10-0 record. The Tigers defeated Cy Ranch last week in the area round, 55-7. They defeated Fort Bend Travis in the bi-district round two weeks ago.
Atascocita has a 10-1 record. It defeated Dickinson 50-21 last week in the area around. The Eagles defeated Alief Hastings in the bi-district round.
Like Katy, Atascocita has enjoyed success over the past few years. Last year’s Eagles team made it to the state semifinals, where it lost to Lake Travis, the eventual state champion. In 2015, the Eagles made it to the quarterfinals, where it lost to Austin Westlake, the eventual state runner-up.
When the Tigers played Cy Ranch, both teams had a familiarity with each other. It was the third straight year in which they faced each other in the playoffs. Katy and Atascocita, meanwhile, have not faced each other since 2009. In that game, Katy defeated Atascocita 45-7 in the area round. The Tigers that season went on to finish as state runner-up to Abilene.
But if the squads haven’t faced each other since that time, the two coaches do have some familiarity. Joseph has been coaching the Tigers since 2004. Atascocita coach Craig Stump, a former Texas A&M quarterback, has been coaching the Eagles since 2012. He became familiar with the Tigers program at his previous coaching stop, Beaumont West Brook.
Katy has confidence in its offense and its two-pronged rushing attack led by junior Deondrick Glass and senior Josh Oglesby. Glass opened the scoring in last week’s Cy Ranch game with a 44-yard touchdown run. He also had a one-yard touchdown run.
Oglesby, meanwhile, had a dramatic 64-yard touchdown run in that game, though it was called back due to a Katy penalty.
Following the Cy Ranch game, Katy coach Gary Joseph described Jack Roe, the Atascocita quarterback, as a real focal point of the Eagles team. Roe, a senior, has 1,402 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns on 142 carries, for an average 9.9 yards per carry.
“We’re going to have to do a great job of tackling and keeping him from making big plays against us,” Joseph said.
Katy has confidence in its defense. It allowed no scores against Cy Ranch. (The Cy Ranch touchdown came when its defense returned a Katy fumble for a touchdown.) It allowed only one touchdown, late in the game, in the bi-district win against Fort Bend Travis.
The Katy-Atascocita winner will face the winner of the Lamar-North Shore game in the quarterfinal round. The Lamar-North Shore game is set for Friday night at Rice Stadium.