By George Slaughter
Maybe it’s a good thing that the Katy Tigers had to fight for a win, given how easy things have seemed for them lately. In a hard-fought game against a valiant Tompkins Falcons squad, Katy held on to win, 35-30, Thursday night at Legacy Stadium.
The victory improves Katy to 5-0, and 1-0 in District 19-6A. The loss drops Tompkins to 5-1, and 1-1 in district.
Katy scored first, on a four-yard run by senior running back Ron Hoff with 5:17 in the first quarter. But the Falcons, remembering last year’s tough 66-13 loss against Katy, came to play Thursday. They tied the game with 10 minutes left in the second quarter, on a 13-yard run by senior running back RJ Smith. Smith had a dazzling 44-yard run on the previous play to set up the touchdown run.
Tompkins took the lead on its next possession, when junior kicker Enrique Requejo nailed a 44-yard field goal with 5:03 left.
The Tigers responded with a touchdown drive of their own on the next possession. Hoff scored on a 16-yard run, and junior kicker Nemanja Lazic’s extra point gave Katy a 14-10 lead it took into halftime. Hoff finished the game with 173 yards on 33 carries.
The Tigers took command of the game in the third quarter. The Falcons fumbled on their first play of the half, and Katy sophomore defensive linemen Malik Sylla recovered at the at the Tompkins 15.
“We’ve got to have him continue to make plays for us,” Tigers coach Gary Joseph said.
Four plays later, junior quarterback Bronson McClelland scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak.
Things went further downhill for Tompkins for that point. The Tigers defense held the Falcons to a three-and-out, and Katy senior Jordan Patrick returned the punt for a 58-yard touchdown.
Katy scored its third touchdown of the quarter on a 65-yard pass from McClelland to Patrick with 3:09 left in the third quarter.
By this point, the Tigers were ahead 35-10. But the Falcons demonstrated resilience in scoring on their next possession. The Falcons score came on a quick strike, 73-yard pass from junior quarterback Jalen Milroe to senior wide receiver Gabe Atkin with 2:47 left.
The Falcons scored twice more in the fourth quarter. Milroe hit senior running Garrett Mack for a 30-yard touchdown with 8:30 left, and then hit Atkins for a 10-yeard touchdown with 1:27 left. Milroe finished the game with 19 completions in 28 attempts for 407 yards and the three touchdowns.
The Falcons failed to convert an attempted two-point conversion after their last touchdown.
Tompkins failed to convert the onside kick, and Katy was able to run out the clock to end the game.
“They understand now that they have to respect everybody, every game,” Joseph said. “It was a good test for us.”
Tompkins returns to action at 7 p.m. Thursday at Rhodes Stadium, when it faces Mayde Creek. Katy returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Rhodes Stadium, when it faces Morton Ranch.