By George Slaughter
The Katy Tigers overcame a slow start to defeat the Morton Ranch Mavericks, 44-7, Friday night at Legacy Stadium.
The early struggles for Katy, now 5-1 overall and 2-0 in District 19-6A play, came primarily on offense, though the defense gave up a couple of big plays to the Mavericks, now 3-4 overall and 0-3 in District 19-6A.
On Morton Ranch’s second drive, it got a 12-yard run from junior running back Javeon Moorehead and a 11-yard play from junior wide receiver Josh Gaton. The Mavericks’ touchdown came on a 29-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Jaden Diaz to senior wide receiver Trey Brown. Junior kicker Gabriel Garcia’s extra point gave the Mavericks a 7-0 lead that would stand through the first quarter.
The Katy offense struggled on its first two possessions, drawing two penalties on its first possession and two more on its second possession. But the Tigers were able to make some plays on the second possession, including 11- and 10-yard runs by senior running back Deondrick Glass, along with a 20-yard completion from sophomore quarterback Bronson McClelland to junior wide receiver Jordan Patrick. which it turned into points early in the second quarter. Jordan completed a nine-yard touchdown pass to Patrick with 11:10 in the first half.
“We didn’t come out firing on all cylinders, that’s for sure,” McClelland said of the slow start.
Three Maverick turnovers in the second quarter helped the Tigers take command of the game.
On the ensuing possession, Katy senior defensive back Kaden Gonzales intercepted a Diaz pass and returned it to the Morton Ranch 14-yard line.
“The other safety, (sophomore defensive back) Dalton Johnson, made a really good play,” Kaden Gonzales said. “The ball was tipped in the air and I was able to make a play on it.”
On the next play, McClelland completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Steven Stiles. Senior kicker Kaleb Cue’s put the Tigers in front.
Things got worse for the Mavericks. On Morton Ranch’s next possession, Diaz fumbled and Gonzales recovered at the Maverick 1-yard line. Glass scored on the next play, and Cue made the extra point with 9:06 remaining in the first half.
The Mavericks next fumble came on its next possession, this time by Moorehead, and again Gonzales made the recovery. The Tigers cashed in on a six-yard run by Glass, and had taken command of the game.
“All week long, we’ve been preaching flying to the ball, every single one of us,” Gonzales said. “I think we’re improving every single week.”
Katy coach Gary Joseph said the turnovers made things a bit easier for his team.
“I’m glad we got turnovers, period,” Joseph said.
Katy’s only score of the third quarter came on a dramatic 58-yard run by Glass at the 10:50 mark. On the play, Glass followed his linemen to the right side and he ran through and around would-be tacklers down the sideline. Cue kicked the extra point.
“I don’t really think that there’s much to say about it,” Glass said. “It was just, stay focused and running, to stay balanced. People say I have good balance. I Just tried to demonstrate that on that play.”
On its first possession of the fourth quarter, the Mavericks were forced to punt from their end zone. Katy sophomore linebacker Jaden Montano broke through the line and blocked the punt, resulting in a safety.
“I could feel it coming,” Montano said.
When the Tigers got the ball back following the free kick, McClelland hit Patrick for a 40-yard touchdown with 10:33 remaining. Cue’s extra point ended the scoring.
“It looks like we kind of took the game for granted when we came out,” Joseph said. “We didn’t have a lot of fire. We made some mistakes. It’s frustrating to sit there and watch the game start like that.”
Katy will play Seven Lakes Saturday at Rhodes Stadium. Morton Ranch will play Tompkins Friday at Rhodes Stadium.