Katy Upends North Shore, 24-21

By George Slaughter

The Katy Tigers scored 17 unanswered second-half points to defeat defending state champion North Shore, 24-21, Thursday at Galena Park ISD Stadium.

The victory has to be all the sweeter for Katy, as last year it lost both its season opener and a playoff matchup to North Shore. The Tigers’ only two losses last season came against North Shore.

Thursday’s game was a hard-fought game between two proud programs with championship expectations. The Mustangs took advantage of some big plays in taking the first-half lead. Their first touchdown came on an 81-yard pass from junior quarterback Dematrius Davis to senior John Gentry with 7:49 in the first quarter.

Katy’s offense had some success in moving the ball early, but a 24-yard field goal attempt by junior kicker Nemanjia Lazic early in the second quarter missed, due in part to a low snap from center. On its next possession, Katy scored on a 29-yard pass from junior quarterback Bronson McClelland to senior wide receiver Jordan Patrick.

The Mustangs came back with two consecutive big plays. The first came when North Shore returned the kickoff to the Tiger 25. The next came on a 25-yard run up the middle by senior running back Zachary Evans. The extra point by senior kicker Jonathan Villalobos gave North Shore the lead.

The Mustangs added to their lead with a 39-yard pass from Davis to junior wide receiver Charles King with 39 seconds left in the half.

Katy received the ball to start the second half and wasted no time in scoring some points. On the second play from scrimmage, senior running back Ron Hoff scored on a 46-yard touchdown. Hoff finished the game with 33 carries for 291 yards. Lazic’s extra point put the Tigers within seven.

Then Katy got a big play on special teams, when North Shore misplayed the ensuing kickoff and the Tigers recovered at the Mustang 28. The Tigers focused on their running game and were able to drive the ball to the Mustang 3 before settling for a 18-yard Lazic field goal with 5:17 in the third quarter.

On their next possession, the Tigers again drove into North Shore territory, but a 33-yard field goal attempt by Lazic went wide left. Despite this misfortune, the Tigers had reestablished their mojo. The defense forced a punt—North Shore’s second such failed drive in the half—and the Tigers went back to work. This time, McClelland hit senior tight end Sam Dunn on a three-yard score to cap a 42-yard drive.

Lazic’s extra point, with 4:56 left in the game, gave the Tigers the lead for good.

Katy returns to action next Friday against Atascocita. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Turner Stadium.