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

INSIDE THE TIGERS NOTEBOOK: Sophomore LB Kana stands out for Tigers

By DENNIS SILVA II, Times Sports Editor
Posted 10/31/19

Katy sophomore linebacker Ty Kana is one of the top playmakers for a defense allowing a stingy 9.4 points on 166.9 yards per game.

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

INSIDE THE TIGERS NOTEBOOK: Sophomore LB Kana stands out for Tigers


Katy sophomore linebacker Ty Kana is one of the top playmakers for a defense allowing a stingy 9.4 points on 166.9 yards per game.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder is averaging six tackles per game and among the team leaders in tackles for a loss and quarterback harassments.

“He’s been pretty good all year, but you can see the maturity in him,” coach Gary Joseph said. “He’s a good athlete, but more than anything he’s a cerebral kid. He understands things, he understands concepts. He takes coaching very well. That’s a big part of it.

“But he also has a confidence in himself in making plays. That has as much to do with it as everything else. He’s worked at it extremely hard to be put in this position. He wants to be a good football player.”

Kana plays beyond his years. For that, he credits assistant coach Tim Ripperger.

Ripperger brought up Kana to the varsity as a freshman in Week 3 of the 2018 season. Kana did not play much, compiling an unassisted tackle for a loss and a sack for the entire season, but he was able to learn and watch behind seniors like Garrett Madison and Josh Garcia.

“Coach Ripp did a good job easing me into the learning process,” Kana said. “Now I have the opportunity to start and the opportunity to make plays and do all this stuff, and hopefully grow on it by my senior year.”

Kana learned from Madison and Garcia how important film study is.

“Watching film gets me to the ball,” Kana said.

Over the spring and offseason, Kana said he spent “hours and hours” watching different plays that offenses run. He got to know different formations.

“My main thing was not panicking because I’m so young,” Kana said. “I’ve tried to make the game slow down and soak up everything. The games have really just slowed down and I can read my keys a lot faster.”


Through eight games, Katy is winning the turnover battle against its opponents, with 16 takeaways to nine giveaways.

That is a plus-7 in turnover margin.

“I wish we had none,” Joseph said of the turnovers. “We’ve put an emphasis on not turning the ball over. With what we are and what we do, we have to be able to take care of the football to have a chance to win. Nine’s probably too many.”

Of their 16 takeaways, the Tigers have nine interceptions and seven fumble recoveries. Offensively, they have four interceptions and four fumbles lost, with another fumble lost coming in the kicking game.

“It’s about having an awareness of what’s going on and coaches coaching it in practice,” Joseph said. “Keeping the ball in your outside arm and away from people, putting the ball away in the open field … the importance of all that. Our running backs coach and receivers coach do a great job with that. Even our secondary kids know how to take care of the ball.”

While most teams work on stripping the football from opposing ballcarriers, Joseph’s M.O. with his defense is simple: get the ballcarrier down.

“If we’re able to strip the ball, that’s good, but we have to be sure we can tackle first,” Joseph said. “I don’t want to give up something cheap and easy because we didn’t tackle well.”

Joseph said his team’s tackling has been better this year, thanks to kids playing with more confidence and the emergence of heady, physical playmakers like Kana and junior Shepherd Bowling to accompany stalwarts like Jaylen Phillips, Dalton Johnson and Daylin Johnson.


The Tigers can clinch at least a share of the district championship with a win over Mayde Creek on Friday.

The Rams are enjoying their best season in decades. They are 7-1 overall, 3-1 in district play. The seven wins are the most in a season since 1997. They are on the brink of clinching their first playoff berth since 2008.

Mayde Creek ranks in the top three in the district in offense and defense. Junior running back Julius Loughridge is the second-leading rusher in the district with 1,056 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“The confidence with which their kids are playing with,” Joseph said of what’s made the difference for Mayde Creek this year. “There’s a physicalness about their defense that they probably haven’t had. Offensively, they make plays. The running back Loughridge has really added something to them. They’ve always had good speed, but to have a kid that can make first downs and move the chains and the second leading rusher in the district, it makes it a good complement for what they’ve done as far as running on the edges.”

Joseph added, “They’ve always had good talent, but they’re making plays now.”

Defense has been key for the Rams. Mayde Creek has always had strong offenses in the past, even during down years. Defense had always been its Achilles’ Heel until this season.

The Rams are second in the district in total points allowed and have 11 takeaways. Under second-year defensive coordinator Kaeron Johnson, the Rams have established a defensive foundation and thrive in nickel-defense situations.

“Being settled in what they want to do has really helped,” Joseph said. “They play pretty good technique on the defensive line. They play unselfish, and that’s helped their football team.”


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