By Terry Carter
It’s been an extraordinary year in Katy, despite the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic — and the unpredictability of life. In fact, Katy is blessed with good fortune and excellence in the classroom and more than we realize.
I want to congratulate everyone, every athlete and every team, for giving 100 percent and doing their best. Many see a season-ending defeat as agony, sadness and humiliation, but it is not. It is a huge achievement to finish second, third because hundreds of equally hungry, talented teams also wanted to reach the postseason, the area playoffs, the state semifinals.
There are no losers in athletics if you compete and do your best. There are often, however, people focused on their final loss — instead of the massive progress and multiple wins experienced all season. Learn to celebrate all of your victories, and you will build more confidence and thrive even more in the future.
This fall the local sports scene has been dominated by athletic excellence in every sport. The Paetow Panther football team just claimed its first state championship in school history — in an overtime battle of excellence against College Station. The quality of play was impressive, and the Panthers showed their commitment by raising their intensity to match the previously unbeaten Cougars.
If you saw the 5A-DI state championship game, you know the Panthers stretched to a new level of mastery in their program. If they didn’t have an extra gear — and the endurance to excel in overtime — College Station, which had previously won a state title in 2017 — likely would have claimed its second crown.
But Paetow coaches had prepared their players for the ultimate challenges of winning 2021’s biggest game:
- They were focused on one ultimate goal since 2020 when Covid sidelined the Panther’s previous best playoff season
• The Panthers entered the playoffs still striving as a team to improve because of a strong District 10-5A race.
• Senior running back Jacob Brown, who missed several games due to injury, elevated the Paetow ground game when he returned to action, rushing for an outrageous 346 yards (11.5 yards per carry) and five touchdowns against district rival Hightower in the state quarterfinal. After the game, his coach said Brown told him he could still do better.
• During the year, Paetow coaches built a powerful work ethic and a vision for the Panthers to achieve more each week and play high-quality, disciplined, championship football.
• Finally the Panthers visualized victory and overwhelmed numerous opponents. They also overcame the titans of 5A football in the process. Despite a district loss to Manvel, ranked No. 2 in preseason, Paetow defeated No. 20 Hightower twice and dominated No. 6 Cedar Park, 65-14, en route to the state championship against No. 3 College Station.
• The Panthers learned to win the game of inches, which eventually can capture a state championship trophy.
• The 5A-DI championship game at ATT Stadium in Arlington was the most competitive title game all week. Paetow and College Station played exceptional football, and Panther quarterback C.J. Dumas Jr. delivered big, completing 16-of-23 passes (69.6 percent) for 165 yards, when the Cougars shut down Brown’s rushing attack. Through sheer determination, Brown gained 112 yards and scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime
Congratulations to all of the athletes who honor their schools and sports by trying their best without pay, without violence while relying on heart, determination, perseverance and learning about winning and teamwork along the way. It’s perhaps the greatest journey available in your young lives. Well done, students, athletes, coaches, administrators, parents, fans.
May 2022 bring us all most inspiring stories, standout athletes and talented efforts.