By George Slaughter
Five Eagle turnovers helped, and the Tiger defense shut out the opponent for the second consecutive week.
The Tigers, now 11-0, advance to the quarterfinal round of the Texas Class 6A Division I football playoffs.
Katy will face North Shore in the quarterfinal round at 2 p.m. Saturday at NRG Stadium.
North Shore is 9-3. The Mustangs defeated Houston Lamar, 44-29, Friday night at Rice Stadium.
Atascocita finishes its season at 10-2.
The Eagle turnovers started right away. On the first possession of the game, Katy senior defensive back KeShon Rowe intercepted a pass from Atascocita senior quarterback Jack Roe and returned it to the Eagle 14. But the Atascocita defense held and the Katy senior kicker Seth Small made a 27-yard field goal to begin the scoring.
Roe had been the key to the Atascocita offense. He entered the game with 1,402 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns, for an average of 9.9 yards per carry.
“Our kids did a great job preparing for him (Roe),” Katy coach Gary Joseph said.
After an exchange of punts, Roe threw another interception, this time to junior defensive back Kaden Gonzales, who returned it to the Eagle 20. The Tigers capitalized by putting in senior defensive lineman Michael Matus as an extra receiver, and he caught a three-yard pass from senior quarterback Austin Marshall with 2:37 in the first quarter.
Marshall hit sophomore wide receiver Jordan Patrick on a 57-yard touchdown pass with 10:54 in the second quarter, and the Katy defense forced a three-and-out. The Katy offense went back to work, and Small made a 37-yard field goal with 4:15 left in the first half.
Katy led 20-0 at this point, but it was the ensuing Atascocita possession that all but broke the Eagles. Roe threw another interception, this time to senior linebacker Matt Kississamis, who returned it 23 yards for a Tigers touchdown with 3:30 left in the half.
Small kicked a 43-yard field goal to end the first half with a 30-0 Katy lead.
Atascocita’s fourth turnover, a fumble recovered by Rowe, led to Katy’s first score of the second half. Freshman quarterback Bronson McClelland hit senior running back Mason Rivera for a five-yard score with 8:13 left.
“Getting the turnovers was big,” Joseph said.
Senior running back Josh Oglesby finished the scoring for the night, hitting paydirt on a 31-yard run with 2:37 left.