By George Slaughter
North Shore took the early lead and never looked back as it defeated Katy, 35-21, Friday night at Legacy Stadium.
The game was the season opener for both teams.
The Mustangs began the game with an impressive three-play scoring drive. On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Dematrius Davis completed a 48-yard pass to wide receiver Shadrach Banks. Two plays later, running back Zach Evans scored on an 18-yard run.
After an exchange of punts, the Tigers got their first touchdown on a 60-yard scramble by sophomore quarterback Bronson McClelland. On the play, McClelland rolled to his left and saw that all his receivers were covered, and took matters into his own hands.
Junior kicker Josh Rodriguez’s extra point tied the game, and it was as close as the Tigers would get to overtaking the Mustangs.
“We’ve known all week they’re going to be in man coverage,” McClelland said. “I just saw one cut and all my receivers covered, and I just took off.”
The Mustangs responded on their next possession, which culminated in a four-yard touchdown run by Evans with 2:45 left in the first quarter. On the drive, Evans had a 31-yard run and Davis completed a 21-yard pass to wide receiver Zorhan Rideaux.
North Shore scored its third touchdown with 8:28 in the second quarter, when Davis completed a 10-yard scoring pass to Banks. The touchdown gave the Mustangs a 21-7 halftime lead.
The Tigers hoped to establish momentum to begin the second half, but were forced to punt on the opening drive. North Shore’s Marco Crawford blocked the Katy punt, and the Mustangs recovered the ball at the Katy 19. Two plays later, Davis completed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Ajani Carter.
“We didn’t do a good job of getting pressure on him,” Katy coach Gary Joseph said, adding that Davis completed 15 of 20 passes in the game. “It wasn’t like he was missing very many (passes). He threw the ball well. They caught the ball well. They looked like an experienced football team. We look like a football team that has a lot of growing up to do. But we knew that coming in, and that’s part of it.”
The Tigers scored on their next possession, this time on a 16-yard scramble by McClelland with 6:39 left in the third quarter.
North Shore’s final touchdown came on a one-yard run by Evans with 5:10 left in the game.
The Tigers responded with their final touchdown of the night, a 16-yard pass from McClelland to junior wide receiver Jordan Patrick, who made a dramatic, one-handed catch while being held by the defensive back covering him.
“It was a pretty nice catch,” Patrick said.
Friday’s loss is a tough one for the Tigers, who defeated the Mustangs 31-3 last year in the quarterfinal round. But new seasons bring new challenges, and for Katy, the next match up is against Atascocita. Katy defeated Atascocita last year in the regional round.
Kickoff is 6 p.m. Saturday at Legacy Stadium.