KATY (Covering Katy News)—Friday night’s Cinco Ranch vs. Katy football game was Katy’s homecoming, and the homecoming court wasn’t the only group of notable attendees at Legacy Stadium.
Katy also brought back its 2007 state championship football team to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
Not all the former players could be there, of course. But many were, and Tigers coach Gary Joseph was only too happy to have them offer encouragement to the current squad.
It must have helped, as Katy defeated Cinco Ranch 30-0 in the District 19-6A opener for both teams.
Katy’s first touchdown came on a nine-yard pass from quarterback Austin Marshall to Tyler Pullig. He was not Marshall’s intended receiver on the play, but the pass ricocheted off the intended receiver, and Pullig pulled in the pass for the score. Seth Small kicked the extra point with 6:25 left in the first quarter.
Masen Rivera, a senior running back, had a 46-yard run on the drive.
After an exchange of punts, Cinco Ranch had the ball at the Katy 44, when quarterback Cam Harper threw an interception to Jianni Angulo, who returned it 60 yards for Katy’s second touchdown. Small’s extra point came with 1:19 left in the first quarter.
It was the first of four interceptions thrown by the Cougars.
Joseph said he was disappointed with the pass protection in the first half.
“We had good field position,” Joseph said. “We just didn’t take advantage of it.”
Small added a 36-yard field goal with 6:48 in the third quarter. He added another, from 25 yards out, at the 3:54 mark.
The fourth interception set up Katy’s last touchdown. Angulo intercepted another Easterly pass and returned it to the Cougars 18-yard line. Two plays later, running back Deondrick Glass scored on a three-yard run. Small’s extra point, which came with 10:25 left in the game, gave the Tigers a 27-0 lead.
Katy defensive back Isaiah Jordan, a senior, credited his teammates on the defensive line for putting pressure on the Cougars to help set up the interceptions.
Jordan also said the players from the 2007 team encouraged the Tigers to take advantage of their opportunities in Friday’s game.
“They came and told us how they wished they could come back and play Cinco again,” Jordan said.
Katy defensive lineman Michael Matus, a senior, said Friday’s game was a good win for the team, but it would be “back to the drawing board” next week.
Matus also shared his impressions of the state championship team reunion Friday.
“I listened to what they said and took it to heart,” Matus said. “They’ve been through the program, they won state, there’s a reason their names are up on the board.”
Small kicked a 35-yard field goal with 3:42 left to finish the scoring.
Joseph said he was glad the Tigers were able to play some of the non-starters to give the starters a break. He said he’d seen improvement from the team.
“It’s work,” Joseph said. “It’s hard work; it’s a lot of butt-chewings and stuff like that. That’s part of it. That’s what I told them. The coaches are directing you. They’re coaching you; they’re not sitting down, jumping down your throat, or anything.”
But before Joseph and his staff return to the grind, he planned to take a moment to visit with his former players.
“It was great,” Joseph said. “It was awesome. That’s a great thing about coaching; you get to see a lot of your old players.”
Cinco Ranch’s next game is Friday against Strake Jesuit at Rhodes Stadium. Katy’s next game is Saturday against Taylor at Legacy Stadium.