For just the fourth time this season, Katy High starting quarterback Bronson McClelland, starting receivers Jordan Patrick and Steven Stiles, and key No. 3 receiver Matthew Stanley all played in a game together.
And, as if eagerly serving up a little reminder, all four once again showed what the Tigers’ passing game is capable of when that happens.
McClelland threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns, Patrick caught four passes for 92 yards, Stiles had four receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown, and Stanley had a catch for 53 yards and a score in a 47-0 win over Mayde Creek on Friday, Nov. 1, at Rhodes Stadium that clinched at least a share of the District 19-6A title for No. 2 state-ranked and No. 8 nationally-ranked Katy.
The Tigers are 9-0 overall, 5-0 in District 19-6A. A win over Taylor next week secures the Tigers’ 11th consecutive undefeated district title.
The last time McClelland, Patrick, Stiles and Stanley all shared the field together was Oct. 11 versus Morton Ranch. Before that, it wasn’t until Katy’s win at Atascocita on Sept. 6 that they all were together.
McClelland missed a pair of games because of disciplinary reasons. Patrick missed two games because of minor injuries. Stanley missed three games because of hand and ankle injuries.
Only Stiles has played in all nine of Katy’s games.
But against Mayde Creek’s defense, ranked third in 19-6A, the passing game thrived. McClelland completed 11 of 18 passes and showed off his arm strength, touch and smarts at will. All but two of his 11 completions went to either Patrick, Stiles or Stanley, and all three of his touchdowns went to different players—Stanley, fullback Dylan George and Stiles.
“It was good,” coach Gary Joseph said. “We see it every day in practice, we just haven’t put it forth in a game. I thought all of them did well. For the most part, we didn’t have any drops. We made some bad decisions and we’ve got to get back to just taking what they give us, but the kids made some really fine catches.”
Katy entered the game averaging 9.2 yards per pass attempt. Against the Rams, the Tigers’ starters averaged 11.6 yards per pass attempt.
“Our mentality throughout the week was getting our timing right, getting our routes down to perfection, and just getting open, mainly,” Stiles said.
Katy knew it would have opportunities to pass against the Rams. Stanley said Mayde Creek brought its safeties up, so play-action was available. Cornerbacks played low and inside, so quick outs were options as well.
That’s what Stanley ran on his 53-yard scoring catch with 7:15 to go in the first quarter. He got by one flailing defender and had open field the rest of the way as he streaked down the visitors sideline.
“We’ve all been out at different times, and just having us all back together is good,” Stanley said. “Scoring early felt really good. It was smooth-sailing from there.”
It was Stanley’s first touchdown of the season. But he showed what he can do. The senior is averaging 12.3 yards per catch.
“He’s got good speed, and the thing is all of them do,” Joseph said. “They’ve just got to be more physical. But they’re doing a good job blocking, too, and they’re very unselfish kids. That’s what they need to be. All three of them gives us a nice receiving corps.”
Patrick, the Tigers’ No. 1 receiver who was making his return from a foot injury, made two big plays to get Katy deep into the Rams’ red zone. Both were acrobatic, highlight hauls.
And THAT last scoring drive boosted by this 41-yard @jordanpatrick24 catch. This is Patrick’s first game back from a foot injury that briefly sidelined him. Um, he looks fine 😂. #txhsfb @Katyfootball @FootballKaty pic.twitter.com/Ka6ffFgzlT— Dennis Silva II (@densilva2) November 2, 2019
Stiles, the rock of Katy’s receiving corps all season long, was consistent once again. Averaging 14.2 yards per catch coming into the game, he averaged 12.8 against Mayde Creek.
“The timing hasn’t always been there, but this week we’ve really worked on it, so it’s improved a lot,” Stiles said “It’s between (McClelland’s) steps, the wraps, our routes, how deep we run … that all came together today. I think we’ve shown what we’re capable of when we pass the ball a lot.”
The 222 total passing yards were the most for Katy since it compiled 224 against Clear Springs in Week 4. It was a welcomed sight for Joseph with the playoffs less than two weeks away.
“It’s important, because you can’t be one-dimensional in the playoffs,” said Joseph, who did say the pass protection needed to be addressed and would be emphasized during the next week of practice. “Especially with who we are, we’ve got to be able to throw play-action passes and be able to hook up on routes down the field to get some vertical stretch. No doubt we did some of that tonight, and we’ve got to continue doing that.”