By George Slaughter
The win clinches a playoff spot for the Tigers, now 7-1 overall and 4-0 in District 19-6A play. The Cougars fall to 2-6 overall and 2-2 in district play.
The Tigers scored touchdowns on six of its seven first-half possessions while building a 42-0 halftime lead. The only drive in which they failed to score ended with a missed 52-yard field goal attempt.
Senior running back Deondrick Glass scored the first touchdown on a five-yard run with 8:01 left in the first quarter.
Katy’s second score came on a 25-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Bronson McClelland to junior wide receiver Jordan Patrick with 3:05 left in the first quarter.
Katy’s first two touchdowns came on 34- and 35-yard drives, respectively. The third touchdown drive was longer, beginning at the Katy 34. It concluded with a three-yard touchdown pass from McClelland to senior running back Dawson Gonzales with 9:37 in the second quarter.
Glass scored his second touchdown of the night on Katy’s next possession. On this three-yard run, he tried running inside to his right, only to find a crowd, so he reversed his field, going outside to the left and making the score. The touchdown came at 7:48 in the first half.
McClelland hit Patrick for a 26-yard touchdown pass with 3:14 remaining.
Glass scored on a five-yard run with 51 seconds remaining and the victory all but clinched.
The Tigers defense made its mark as well, allowing Cinco Ranch only two first downs in the first half. Katy coach Gary Joseph said he has been pleased with the defense’s improvement this season. He said Friday’s effort was as good as he’s seen from the defense all season.
Katy began putting in its second- and third-team players in the second half, and they kept up the pressure. Sophomore running back Sherman Smith scored on a nine-yard run. Later, senior quarterback Grant Ripperger threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Ja’Koby Kennedy.
Joseph said that a win such as this one means that a lot of the kids got to play, giving the Tigers a chance to develop depth in its roster. At the same time, the backup players understand that when their number is called, they’re expected to go in and perform.
“That’s what being a team is about, the next man up,” Joseph said.
The Tigers were up 56-0 when Cinco Ranch scored its first touchdown, a 40-yard pass from senior quarterback Cam Harper to senior wide receiver Brannon King.
But Katy responded on the next drive, as Smith scored his second touchdown of the night, this one on a 50-yard run.
In the fourth quarter, Cinco Ranch senior kicker Zach Gonzales made a 33-yard field goal.
Katy junior running back Jonathan Jolly scored the final Tiger touchdown on a 9-yard run with 4:56 left in the game.
The last score came on a 65-yard run by Cinco Ranch senior quarterback Trey Henderson with 3:28 remaining.
“We’ll let ’em enjoy the win tonight,” Joseph said. “We’re going to sit there and critique them in the video tomorrow.”
After that, he said, they can enjoy the win for the rest of the day, and then it’s back to work, preparing for next week.
Katy will next face Mayde Creek at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Rhodes Stadium. Cinco Ranch will next face Tompkins, which clinched its first-ever playoff berth Thursday, at 11 a.m. Saturday at Legacy Stadium.