Katy coach Gary Joseph has a lot to like following his team’s first two wins. The Tigers have consecutive road wins over defending state champ North Shore and Atascocita, one of the top teams in the Greater Houston area.
But the most impressive thing, Joseph said, is his team’s resiliency.
“The ability to shake off bad things when they happen and keep fighting. That’s been neat to see,” Joseph said. “We’ve had some bad things happen, and the kids didn’t really get down about it and let it affect them.”
Katy rallied from a 21-7 halftime deficit against North Shore to outscore the Mustangs 17-0 in the second half, holding them to eight total yards in the process. Against Atascocita, Katy responded well after Atascocita countered quickly to tie the game at 7 early in the first quarter. The Tigers scored the next 35 points to turn a briefly compelling game into a blowout.
Overall, Joseph is pleased with the offense not being a one-dimensional group “by any stretch of the imagination, and that helps.” Defensively, Joseph said it’s been good watching kids playing where they’re supposed to be.
The defense is playing physical, but, more importantly, is also playing with more confidence. Joseph said the key is the team has trust and confidence in each other.
“Hopefully, things will keep evolving and keep getting better,” he said. “Knowing the quality of opponents that we’ve played, and being able to do some of the things we’ve done, has been a good thing.”
Joseph said he wants to see continued execution and physicality. Defensively, the Tigers have to do a better job getting off blocks.
Against Atascocita, Katy minimized presnap penalties and showed better focus. The fullback position remains a work in progress with senior Anthony Muniz, senior Dylan George and senior Tim Pickard sharing time there. Consistency and footwork are issues. Junior varsity fullback and sophomore Isaiah Smith needs more experience, but could end up a factor later on in the season because of his size (5-foot-11, 190 pounds).
Joseph also said the team is banged up on the offensive line, secondary and receiver.
“Just the wear and tear of playing good people,” he said.
Aguilas Blancas IPN-Mexico is Katy’s opponent this week. The team from Mexico City is coming to Katy for the second straight year as part of a two-year agreement for 2018 and 2019.
Katy beat Aguilas Blancas, 63-0, last season. The game was essentially a friendly exhibition. Joseph was able to play a lot of players, and Aguilas Blancas, which seeks better competition in the States, got a chance to visit Katy, its mall and play against an elite program.
Aguilas Blancas also plays Aledo. Aledo beat them, 63-0, last week.
“I want to see if we can go out and take control of the ballgame from the beginning and give a lot of our kids an opportunity to go out there and perform,” Joseph said. “It would be a great thing to get a lot of kids playing a significant amount.”
Joseph said there are a lot of seniors who haven’t been able to play as much as expected due to the intensity and quality opponents of the first two games.
While Joseph said he admires Aguilas Blancas for coming to Katy and playing, he doesn’t imagine scheduling them the next round of realignment. When the two programs arranged their meetings late during the spring of 2018, it was a perfect storm. Katy had an open date and was desperate to play anybody. Aguilas Blancas was looking for games to play and called Katy.
“They want to play better competition, and it’s going to make them better when they play in their home conference,” Joseph said. “Their kids had fun with it last year, and hopefully they’ll have a good time this year, too. But they’re coming here to win. We have to make sure we don’t go backwards as far as our intensity and performance. No doubt that when we get into the playoffs, the Atascocitas and North Shores are going to be a much better football team. We have to keep executing and improving if we’re to be a better football team, too.”
The Tigers close non-district play against Clear Springs next week. District play begins in three weeks.
‘FLYING TIGER’ RETURNS
After a one-year hiatus, the “Flying Tiger” is back.
The Tigers’ traditional pregame celebratory act, in which a player runs up to a crowd of Tigers and is flipped through before being tossed up into the air and caught, was brought back this season when players asked Joseph if they could.
Against Atascocita, that player was Pickard.
“If that’s what they want to do, that’s fine,” Joseph said. “But when it becomes where there is more focus on that than the game, it’s time to stop it. They asked if they could do it, and I told them yes, but it won’t take away from the preparation. If that’s what they have to do to get excited about playing, I’m all for it.”
Joseph said last season, the focus became more on the “Flying Tiger” act than the actual game, which is why a stop was put to it.
“It became too much of a show, and the game is the show,” Joseph said. “The other stuff is just an excitement thing. There’s different things people to do to get ready for a game, and to have that I think is why it started back.”