KATY—Four takeaways from Katy’s 41-24 Class 6A regional semifinal win over C.E. King on Friday afternoon at Legacy Stadium.
The Tigers improved to 13-0. King's season ends at 10-3.
1. THROWING 'EM OFF
Katy did not have a rushing touchdown in the first half and resorted to some trickery early in the first quarter for its first score, an eight-yard halfback pass from junior running back Seth Davis to junior receiver JR Ceyanes.
"You saw the size of their kids up front," coach Gary Joseph said of King's physical defensive line. "You have to be able to throw the football. You can't let them line up and tee off on us. We knew that. It was important for us to be able to move the football, however it was. We had to limit their possessions a bit."
.@FootballKaty fancy on the opening drive. Eight-yard halfback pass from @_SethDavis21 to @CeyanesJr for the TD. 7-0 Tigers, 7:42, 1Q. #txhsfb @KatyISDAthletic @khs_live @KatySportsMedpic.twitter.com/1w1uukagT1— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1637950130
Of Katy's five touchdowns, two were on the ground. One of those was a Nic Anderson reverse score with 50 seconds left.
The Tigers totaled 250 rushing yards on 39 carries and 180 passing yards on 12-of-22 passing.
"I still feel we haven't hit our best game yet, but we're getting there," Anderson said of the offense. "When we do, it's going to be a big game, so I can't wait for that moment."
2. ANDERSON SOARS
Speaking of Anderson, the Katy senior receiver and Oklahoma commit is hitting his stride in full force after missing a handful of games earlier this season with ankle and hamstring injuries.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder had eight catches for 99 yards and a touchdown and the 40-yard reverse run for a touchdown.
Anderson has 238 receiving yards and three total touchdowns in three playoff games.
"I feel really good," Anderson said. "I'm almost at 100 percent. It's just good to be out here with my brothers. Now that I'm back, I'm ready to put 100 percent of myself into this program."
On 3rd-and-12, @CalebKoger3 delivers a brilliant dart to @nicanderson02, who does the rest. 47-yard scoring catch-and-run. @FootballKaty up 14-0, 2:59, 1Q. #txhsfb @KatySportsMed @khs_live @KatyISDAthleticpic.twitter.com/8Mp9AnPtvK— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1637950762
Anderson was particularly pleased with his scoring run.
"The play just opened up perfectly," he gushed. "Linemen were blocking; (junior offensive lineman) Jacob Egg, he was just hustling around the edge, running his butt off for that last block. I didn't get touched, so that should tell you how good the blocking was."
3. WIMBLEY HURT
A major pre-game storyline was how Katy would contain King senior running back Jerrell Wimbley, who was coming off a 323-yard, five-touchdown game against Shadow Creek in the area round last week and entered with 1,972 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns.
But the 5-10, 185-pound Wimbley suffered a leg injury late in the second quarter and never returned. Up until that point, he had 43 yards on nine carries. Twenty-four of those yards came on his first two carries.
"We knew they'd be passing a little bit more, so we had to cover the pass game," senior linebacker Carson Marshall said of the effect of Wimbley's absence. "We knew it'd be more spread out. We were ready to go. We still stayed true to who we are."
King found substantial success without Wimbley in the second half, closing to within 24-17 with 9:15 left in the third quarter and 34-24 wit 3:49 left in the game as junior quarterback Nehemiah Brousard found a groove.
Senior running back DK Hammond had a pair of touchdowns as the Panthers strung together impressive drives.
Of King's 345 total yards, 247 came in the second half.
But Katy countered every time. King never could get the big defensive stop it needed. Davis had a dynamic 62-yard scoring run off the left edge. Senior Axel Robertson drilled a 38-yard field goal.
"We talked before the game that there would be some things out of our control that would happen," Joseph said. "We were going to have to respond, and every time something happened, they did. I couldn't be more proud of them and their character. It wasn't perfect, but we won the game. Our character was tested, the pressure rose, and they responded."
Joseph said his team has to do a better job rushing the passer and covering downfield.
"We'll get an opportunity to do a better job, because we'll get an opportunity to play next week," Joseph said.
4. CARTER SHINES
Sophomore tight end Luke Carter, son of Katy ISD assistant athletic director Lance Carter, had an impactful game for the Tigers, including his first career varsity touchdown.
On 4th-and-3, @CalebKoger3 finds @LukeCarter33 for a 29-yard score. I know a certain @KatyISDAthletic assistant AD @LanceCarter55 who is pretty ecstatic right about now. 34-17 @FootballKaty, 8:37, 4Q. #txhsfb @khs_live @KatySportsMed @KatyHSPrincipalpic.twitter.com/C0wTczkkLW— Dennis Silva II (@Dennis Silva II) 1637956663
Carter caught two passes for 46 yards. The first catch, a 17-yard leaping snare on third down early in the first quarter, put Katy in the red zone on the Tigers' opening series and led to Davis' halfback pass. The second catch was a 29-yard grab on 4th-and-3 with 8:37 left that put the Tigers ahead 34-17, essentially sealing the win.
“He’s not a sophomore anymore,” Joseph said. “He’s played 13 games now. We tell these kids they’re grown up. They don’t ask how old you are when you line up on the field; you’re a varsity football player. He made a play. We trust him just like we trust all of our kids.”