High School Football

RISING TO THE TASK

Katy sophomore QB Koger playing his best when best is needed

By Dennis Silva II, Sports Editor
Posted 12/31/20

Katy High sophomore quarterback Caleb Koger played his best game of the season in his team’s biggest game of the season, yet another chapter in the youngster’s rapid evolution as a leader for a team beaming with state-championship identity.

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High School Football

RISING TO THE TASK

Katy sophomore QB Koger playing his best when best is needed

Posted

Katy High sophomore quarterback Caleb Koger played his best game of the season in his team’s biggest game of the season, yet another chapter in the youngster’s rapid evolution as a leader for a team beaming with state-championship identity.

The unassuming 5-foot-8, 150-pounder shredded No. 21 state-ranked Shadow Creek’s defense in Katy’s 49-24 Class 6A-Division II regional semifinal win on Dec. 26 at Freedom Field.

Koger completed eight of 16 passes for 194 yards and five touchdowns of 50, 41, 6, 55 and 29 yards. He was one touchdown pass shy of tying the program single-game record of six, set by Brooks Haack in a 55-3 win over Strake Jesuit in October 2011.

The 194 passing yards were a season best for Koger, who is making the most of a rush-stuffing offensive line of senior Jacob Norman, senior Omar Aigbedion, senior Vasileios Katsigiannis, junior Caleb Webb and senior C.J. Marsh, and powerful running backs Jalen and Seth Davis.

“He’s taking that leadership,” Marsh said. “He’s matured. In the huddle, it’s him who straightens us up when we’re out of line. He’s that guy who gets on us.

“He may be a sophomore, but he has the mindset of a senior.”

In Katy’s only loss of the season, to Tompkins on Nov. 5, Koger completed seven of 14 passes for 81 yards and two interceptions to one touchdown. In the five games since, however, he has rebounded admirably, completing 31 of 62 passes for 687 yards and 11 touchdowns to no interceptions.

“He grew up,” coach Gary Joseph said of his signal-caller’s performance against Shadow Creek. “The last time we were in a big-game moment, it was too much for him. You could see how much he’s grown since that time. He’s improved. He’s playing within himself, within the system. He was very true to himself.”

Joseph said Koger—who overall this season has completed 55.8 percent of his passes for 1,369 yards and 21 touchdowns to two interceptions—is learning to not do too much, something he was victim of against Tompkins. He is understanding what the defense is giving him and taking advantage of it instead of looking to make the big play.

“He completed three-yard passes? So what, the (receiver) then runs it 20 yards,” Joseph said. “It doesn’t matter how far the pass is. He made some good play-action passes to get us into the game. All that does is fire the kids up.”

Against Shadow Creek, Koger ran Katy’s vaunted play-action to perfection, completing 50-yard and 41-yard touchdown passes, respectively, to Nic Anderson and Fuller Shurtz within a three-minute span in the first quarter to open up the game and turn an early 3-0 deficit into a quick 13-3 lead.

“He made some big plays, especially throwing into the wind there early,” Shadow Creek coach Brad Butler said. “We had some busts that made it a little easier on him, I think, but he did a good job of putting the ball in there. He was big for their offense.”

Koger threw touchdown passes to five different players: receivers Anderson and Shurtz, running back Isaiah Smith, receiver Taylor Saulsberry and fullback Aidan McKinney. He averaged 12.1 yards per pass attempt and brilliantly managed the game, moving the chains for 17 first downs and controlling tempo.

“He’s more confident,” junior defensive back Bobby Taylor said. “He’s taken the offense by storm. The first few games, of course he was still getting used to things and had some mistakes. But you can tell he’s getting more comfortable. Guys are cheering him on, we stand behind him, and we know when he makes a mistake, we’ll be there for him.”

As Koger’s confidence rises, so does his team’s.

“Everybody can see what he’s done since the Tompkins game. He’s growing,” Jalen Davis said. “Football is about confidence, and he’s got it now.”

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