Katy High School, Tigers, Gary Joseph, Texas high school football, Katy ISD

INSIDE THE TIGERS NOTEBOOK: Katy-Ridge Point meet up for 1st time

By DENNIS SILVA II, Times Sports Editor
Posted 11/14/19

Katy and Ridge Point are playing each other for the first time. It just so happens it comes with the season on the line.

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Katy High School, Tigers, Gary Joseph, Texas high school football, Katy ISD

INSIDE THE TIGERS NOTEBOOK: Katy-Ridge Point meet up for 1st time

Posted

Katy and Ridge Point are playing each other for the first time. It just so happens it comes with the season on the line.

The 10-0 Tigers and 8-2 Panthers meet Friday, Nov. 15, in their Class 6A-Division I bi-district playoff game at Legacy Stadium at 6:30 p.m. After facing Fort Bend Travis in the bi-district round each of the last three years, Katy gets a new face in Ridge Point from Missouri City.

“We knew what to expect from Travis. We knew what their schemes were based on,” coach Gary Joseph said. “This is like preparing for a non-district game against somebody you’ve never played against. The stakes are higher, but this is what the playoffs are about. Our kids are going into unchartered waters, playing people they haven’t played before.”

If Katy gets by Ridge Point, it will likely match up with Cy-Fair in the area round next week. The Tigers haven’t faced the Bobcats since 2010, so these first couple weeks of the postseason bring forth fresh names.

“It’s part of the playoffs,” Joseph said. “You generally don’t have tendencies on people. You don’t know how they’re going to attack you. That’s what makes preparation different for the playoffs. Our kids know a couple of the kids over there (at Ridge Point), but they really don’t know that much about them.”

Ridge Point has an impressive tradition of success since its first year of varsity football in 2011.

The Panthers made it to the Class 5A state championship game in 2015, losing to Cedar Park. They moved up to Class 6A in 2016, and since then have produced an overall record of 38-7.

“They play with a lot of confidence. They don’t beat themselves,” Joseph said. “(Junior receiver/cornerback) John Paul Richardson has several Division I offers. The kid No. 44 (senior running back Marcus Wright) runs a lot like our backs, hard and downhill.

“The thing I see that is the difference in their team and past Travis teams is they’re probably a little more physical and better up front on both sides.”

Ridge Point’s only defeats this season have come to North Shore and Travis. The Panthers lost to North Shore, 38-7, and to Travis, 27-23.

Joseph said he feels this year’s Katy team has a good opportunity in the playoffs.

“This group, I’m hoping, is different (than years past) in the confidence which they play with,” he said. “It’s a journey. There’s nothing guaranteed past one game. Everything matters right now. That’s a mindset they have to have, and they’ll grow into it.”

SHURTZ A ‘GOOD WEAPON’

Joseph has been satisfied with the kicking game this season, particularly junior punter Fuller Shurtz.

Shurtz has punted 10 times this season, averaging 45.2 yards per punt. His performance will be all the more critical now in the playoffs, which becomes more of a game of field position.

Shurtz has also done an admirable job kicking off, forcing opponents to start drives from their own 25-yard line more often than not.

“Fuller has done a good job all year long,” Joseph said. “He’s a weapon that you don’t really know how good it is until you don’t have one. He’s done a really good job kicking off, too. That’s helped immensely. There’s a big difference between (teams) starting on the 40-yard line or the 25-yard line. I’ve been impressed with the job he’s done there.”

Joseph said Shurtz has strong leg power and good technique, which he credits to Shurtz’s work ethic.

“He’s very conscientious about it,” Joseph said. “He’ll come up here (to campus) and work on his own. Him and Coach (JD) Williams work together, and then I see him up here in the evenings and at night on his own.

“That’s just a kid who really wants to do well.”

TAYLOR FINDING HIS WAY

In transferring to Katy from Houston Heights over the summer, sophomore defensive back Bobby Taylor came in as a highly-recruited prospect.

But the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder is still working to make a significant impact full-time for the Tigers.

Taylor has played primarily as a backup cornerback, totaling four tackles with three broken-up passes. He scored his first touchdown as a Tiger during last week’s 57-0 win against Taylor when he took a punt return 72 yards to the end zone.

“He’s not where he’s going to be yet, but it’s a maturity thing. It’s growing up,” Joseph said. “It’s understanding the difference in expectations of things. You can see the talent’s there. He’s just got to refine the talent.”

Taylor did not go through spring training with Katy as he was a late-summer transfer. He has had to be baptized into the ways of the program during the regular season.

Joseph said there will be an emphasis to get Taylor stronger during the offseason. He praised Taylor for playing well whenever injuries have occurred to the starting secondary.

“It comes down to understanding what we’re doing, and a big part of that is experience,” Joseph said. “But he’s still just a sophomore. The technique and fundamentals of what he’s been taught is completely different from what we’re teaching. It’s about understanding schemes, understanding leverage, understanding physicality, understanding the calls we make based on releases or how they line up. It comes down to repetition more than anything else.”

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