By George Slaughter
Katy coach Gary Joseph celebrated his 65th birthday Saturday, and the Tigers gave him a 51-14 playoff win over Clear Falls at Legacy Stadium for a present.
The win improves Katy’s record to 11-1. Clear Falls ends its season at 8-4. The Tigers move on to the semifinals, where they will face Hays at 2 p.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium in Waco. Hays, 10-3, defeated Vandegrift 38-10 Saturday.
High school football season typically ends before the Christmas-New Year holiday break. The coronavirus pandemic compelled schedule adjustments during the season. Joseph said playing in January was kind of different.
“This is the first time I’ve ever played on my birthday,” Joseph said. “My first time playing in January. But no, it’s great. It’s great for me, but better for the kids. They’ve been going at this thing for a long time.”
Joseph and the coaching staff have been “going at this thing for a long time” as well, and he said respecting everyone is a key part of the Tigers’ program.
“We talk about this all the time, you respect everyone,” Joseph said. “You don’t fear people, but you respect your opponent and that’s part of what our program has been able to teach kids. You respect your opponent, you respect women, you respect the work that you put in. You have an appreciation for all those things. That’s part of who we are and that’s part of what the program is about. Yes, we respected them (Clear Falls) because we understood they got here for a reason.”
The Tigers wasted little time in taking command of the game, scoring on the third play from scrimmage on a 42-yard run by sophomore running back Seth Davis. On the next possession, Davis’s older brother, senior running back Jalen Davis, capped another Katy scoring drive with a seven-yard run.
Seth Davis finished with 19 carries for 170 yards. Jalen Davis finished with 21 carries for 120 yards. The brothers scored two touchdowns each. Sophomore quarterback Caleb Koger also scored two touchdowns rushing and threw for another score.
“They compliment each other well,” Joseph said of the Davis brothers.
Katy senior kicker Nemanja Lazic made 47-yard field goal to close the first-quarter scoring, and Jalen Davis scored his second touchdown on a three-yard run with 1:12 remaining in the first half.
Clear Falls scored on its first possession of the second half when senior quarterback Pierson Morelli hit junior wide receiver Luke Vidal for a 46-yard touchdown pass. Katy responded with touchdowns on its next two drives, with a one-yard run by Koger and an eight-yard run by Seth Davis.
The Knights’ final score came on a five-yard pass from Morelli to junior wide receiver Quinn Bowen early in the fourth quarter.
Koger threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to junior running back Isaiah Smith with 7:48 remaining. Koger later scored his second touchdown on another one-yard run to conclude the scoring.