KATY, Texas -
When Cinco Ranch (Katy, Texas)
and Katy (Texas)
met in their regular season finale on Saturday at Rhodes Stadium, the buildup to the clash suggested that the meeting had the ingredients of an instant classic.
Both teams were undefeated and ranked in the state's top 10. Their recent history suggested that the game could come down to the final possession, as it had the two years prior. And each team has been widely considered to be a state championship contender this season.
The result was anything but classic.
Katy stunned Cinco Ranch with a dominating 56-3 victory on Saturday at Rhodes Stadium.
The win helped the Tigers (10-0, 7-0 District 19-5A) close out the regular season unbeaten and with a district championship while delivering the Cougars (9-1, 6-1) their first loss. By establishing their dominance on Saturday, the Tigers may have also put the rest of the state on notice for the postseason, which begins next week.
Led by running back Donovan Young
(22 carries, 166 yards), the Tigers scored on the game's opening drive then after an intercepting Cinco Ranch quarterback Justin Sawyer
on the Cougars' first possession, they converted that into points as well. Young finished both drives with touchdown runs and by the end of the first, the Tigers held a 14-0 lead.
Cinco Ranch got on the board with a 36-yard field goal by Jacob Farmen but the Tigers would reel off 28 unanswered points to close out the half. Sophomore running back Adam Taylor
(15 carries, 209 yards) started rolling and the defense picked off Sawyer two more times to set up two more touchdowns, helping the Tigers roar to a 42-3 lead.
Katy looked very much like the No. 14 team in the country, as ranked in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25
"That's what Katy is all about," Young said. "Coaches always talk about perfection. We know we'll never get perfection but at least if we strive for it, the execution will be better."
While Cougars running backs KC Nlemchi
(13 carries, 66 yards) and Jamel James
(17 carries, 58 yards) found some running room early, Cinco Ranch had trouble finding its footing consistently on offense.
Cinco Ranch coach Don Clayton said he felt his players may have been overconfident heading into the meeting.
"Bottom line, they were a better team than us, no doubt," Clayton said. "I think we got too full of ourselves. I tried to warn our players, but apparently somewhere along the line, everyone's telling them how good they are. You've got to get it done on the practice field and we haven't done a good job of that."
While the Cougars look to regroup before trying to make another deep postseason run - they were Class 5A Division I state semifinalists last year - the Tigers will look to continue to play at the level they did on Saturday. Katy, who lost to Abilene in the Division II championship game last season, will enter the Division I bracket but still hopes to end up in the finale.
"We have the ability to play extremely well," Katy coach Gary Joseph said. "If we don't play extremely well, we're capable of getting beat. We've got six weeks where we have to play at this level. We can't have a dropoff in emotion and enthusiasm. We have to play at that high of a level the next six weeks in order to get where we need to be."Sam Khan Jr. is a reporter who covers Greater Houston area high school sports for the Houston Chronicle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/skhanjr. You can also join him, Jenny Dial and other writers from around the state in a weekly high school football chat at noon on Wednesdays at www.chron.com/hs