HOUSTON – Katy Taylor’s head football coach Chad Simmons knew this year would be hard. The schedule they were handed was not kind. It included powerhouses like Katy, local rivals like Katy Tompkins, and scrappy teams such as Mayde Creek and Morton Ranch. Yet, here the Mustangs are.
They’ve made history as the first Mustangs team to make it to the quarterfinals.
When I arrived at practice, it was clear this team has chemistry. Seniors Braden Hay and Gregg Osaghe were discussing what they want to major in as college students. Several of the guys were listening to music and laughing after they watched a film. We talked to the team about their season of resilience, how they got here, and how that off-the-field chemistry has helped.
A ROUGH START
The first half of the regular season truly tells the story. The Mustangs started with a blowout 69-7 loss to Atascocita. Though the Eagles are a strong team, the Mustangs definitely didn’t expect that kind of loss, especially at home. They won their next two games against Cy Springs and Deer Park, (28-14 and 65-34 respectively,) but then suffered another blowout as Dickinson served them a 49-6 loss. Like their loss to Atascocita, it happened at home. That wide spectrum of everything from success to difficulty even scoring a touchdown helped the Mustangs.
“It makes it almost more rewarding,” said Simmons. “You don’t want to get beat and lose games, of course, but I talked to the kids about this very thing the other day. We won close games, we lost close games. We got beat pretty bad a couple of times, and we beat a couple of teams pretty bad. So we had the whole gamut of the type of games you could have, and I think they learned from all of them."
REFRAMING THEIR LOSSES
The losses to local rivals Katy and Katy Tompkins were especially painful, but the Mustangs see them from a new light as they’ve had playoff successes.
“We were looking at it after the season ended, and the teams that beat us had a combined record of 45 and five,” said Simmons, explaining that of those combined five losses from the teams that beat them, three were to Katy, one was to Allen (a powerhouse in the Dallas region,) and the other was Tompkins. “So, I think it helped us in the long run.”
“It’s our fight,” said Hay. “We’re never going to quit on a brother. We’re always going to fight until the end.”
“We have a big brotherhood here,” said Hay. “Everybody is a big part of it, and we’re all working together. There’s no little divisions, separations… it’s everybody together and we’re all having a good time together.”
But with a hard season comes frustrations, and Simmons said he often reminds them that they’re a family.
“They talk about it being a brotherhood, so I tell them, ‘you don’t get along with your family all of the time’” said Simmons. “But you love them, you overcome it, and I think that’s a big part of their success."
This is the first time the Mustangs have made it to the quarterfinals.
“It’s huge,” said Hay. “Everybody on the team wanted it, it was a huge goal for us. Making history is part of what we wanted to do here.”
Hay added that leaving a legacy as a senior is special for him.
Now, all the team has to do is finish. Osaghe said. the moment they beat Humble and made school history is one he’ll never forget.
“I looked around, everyone was excited, everyone was cheering, it was amazing,” said Osaghe. “I’m excited to go through this experience with them—my brothers."
The Mustangs face Cy Creek at NRG this Saturday at 2 p.m. KPRC 2 will have updates in their quest for a state championship.