By Tom Behrens
“It can be a good thing for Katy as it might point out some weaknesses that will need work.” Coach Gary Joseph
Regular season match-ups involving defending state finalists are rare. This year defending Class 6A Division II Champion Katy meets Class 6A division I runner up Westlake in a true road game for the Katy Tigers. The game is at Chaparral Stadium in Austin.
Coach Gary Joseph of Katy shared that finding teams that will play Katy can be difficult. Teams would rather not play the Tigers this early in the season. “It’s tough sometimes to get games.”
But it can be a good thing for Katy as it might point out some weaknesses that need work.
“They (Westlake) have a good quality football team. It will be good for us, a true on the road game,” said Joseph. “If we are going to make it back for a state championship game, we are going to have to go on the road and travel. Hopefully we can draw something from the experience.”
Spring drills highlighted what the Tigers needed to work on: “youth and the inexperience we have at quarterback,” said Joseph. “We have to have someone establish themselves at all positions.”
“It’s time for the players contending for starting positions to realize what varsity level speed is, what varsity level competition is, and the intensity with which you have to play every day.”
Some have had a chance to play last year as backups. “Now they have to be the guy from the very outset,” said Joseph. “It’s a maturity process more than anything else. The kids had to grow up. We lost a lot of experience from last year; we, as coaches, have to figure out what we are capable of doing this year.”
The Division I colleges and university recognized the talent that Katy had last year, especially on defense. From the defense, the Tigers sent two players to Northwestern, one to the University of Houston, one to the Air Force Academy, and one to West Virginia. A big loss will be Collin Wilder, “not only a great football player, but he was an excellent leader,” shared Joseph. “He commanded the rest of the players to fall in line in what we were doing.”
“We lost a lot of seniors,” continued Joseph. “It’s now time for a lot of the kids from last year who were sophomores and juniors; it’s their time to step up. Leadership is an important thing. We will have to grow an offense and defensive line, find some secondary kids.”
The Tiger coaches are evaluating many different players for both offense and defense positions.
At quarterback, coming out of spring practice, it looks like Rocky Emery will start the season as quarterback. “He was our backup last year. We are looking forward to seeing what he is capable of. As a backup he had to figure out what varsity level speed is, what varsity level competition is. I think Rocky has matured quite a bit through the spring and summer.”
“He’s not the athlete that Doiron was, a true I formation, under center drop back type quarterback. Garret’s greatest attribute was his brain as well as his athleticism.”
“Sterling Sine is the possible second quarterback, a good athlete, but consistency is what he needs to work on.”
Running back, Deondrick Glass as a freshman attracted lots of attention last year, but suffered a knee injury toward the end of spring drills. “He’s full go now,” said Joseph. “He’s gained some weight since then, and I’m really looking for him to have a good season. He is similar athletically to what Kyle Porter was—a strong kid and good strength. He has good vision, good feet, and explosiveness, but he’s not ready to take a pounding for 30 plus carries. If he can carry it 20-25 times it will be good. Senior, Kevon Copeland, also has a chance to be really good. Running back is one of our strengths this year.”
“Great running backs to me are those who in the fourth quarter are physically capable to break a run. People are fatigued. It’s an opportunity to make the big play. Also, in high school football you want people to fear the runner so you can open up your passing game. We have other kids that are capable of playing and doing just as well.”