High School Football

Taylor’s Irving stars in win over George Ranch

By Dennis Silva II | Sports Editor
Posted 10/1/20

Taylor High is used to having good receivers. During last year’s state semifinal playoff run, Griffin Dougherty and Tanner Isola played significant roles because of their playmaking skills.

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High School Football

Taylor’s Irving stars in win over George Ranch

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Taylor High is used to having good receivers. During last year’s state semifinal playoff run, Griffin Dougherty and Tanner Isola played significant roles because of their playmaking skills.

Senior Tyrone Irving III, however, is different.

In only his second game as a Mustang, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Irving caught seven passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in Taylor’s 26-14 win over George Ranch on Oct. 1 at Legacy Stadium, lifting the Mustangs to a 2-0 start to the season.

For perspective, no Taylor receiver had more than 93 yards in a game last season. That’s typical for a Mustangs offense centered around its power run game.

Irving, though, has made a fast early impact on the perimeter.

“He’s a special talent,” coach Chad Simmons said. “He’s got a different speed, a different gear than what we’ve had here. He’s got great energy. He’s a great competitor; we’ve even got to rein him in sometimes.

“He’s found a great home with our kids and he’s really fit in.”

Irving arrived to Katy from New Orleans, where he had attended Chalmette High School. While he’s quickly established a name for himself on the field, it’s what’s taken place off it that has him excited.

“The brotherhood is real here,” Irving said. “I love it. I’ve never been treated the way I’m treated here. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Irving had a nice debut in the Mustangs’ 37-0 season-opening win over Cy-Springs on Sept. 24. He caught three passes for 58 yards.

Against George Ranch a week later, he was flat-out spectacular.

Courtesy of two eye-opening acrobatic catches on a late first-half series—for 25 and 28 yards, respectively; the latter a remarkable one-handed snare—Irving single-handily set up quarterback J Jensen III’s 3-yard keeper that pushed Taylor’s lead to 17-0.

Irving’s touchdown came on a haul of a screaming 28-yard flare from Jensen that he caught in the back left corner of the end zone in the third quarter to push the Mustangs’ lead to 26-0.

Irving and Jensen have worked tirelessly together on routes and timing since Irving got to town in late July.

“He’s awesome,” said Jensen, who completed 11 of 15 passes for 155 yards. “As soon as he got here, I got his info and we started working and throwing, even on the weekends. He catches everything in his area.

“We’ve had great receivers here. He’s even better.”

Irving is hungry to showcase his talent. In Louisiana, he said he did not have the team or exposure that he does playing for Taylor. He defines himself as a deep-ball threat who can do a bit of everything—catch off short routes, deep routes, screens. Simmons said Irving, who runs the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds and has a 36-inch vertical, has strong body control and explosive speed to go with sure hands and admirable concentration on the ball.

During practice leading up to the George Ranch game, Irving played as Javon Gipson, simulating the Longhorns’ top playmaker and a Baylor commit, on the scout team against Taylor’s starting defense.

“He made us look bad a few times,” Simmons said. “The way he played in practice helped us take No. 13 (Gipson) out of the game.”

Because of Irving’s ability, the Mustangs’ defense was well-prepared for Gipson, who caught just two passes for 46 yards.

“This team, the O-line and my quarterback give me the opportunity to really show all that,” Irving said. “Just everything here … it makes me feel so good.”

Irving is an ideal weapon for the Mustangs, who have rushed for 291 yards through the first two games. Even without No. 1 running back and Army commit Casey Shorter, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, Taylor has shown it has more-than-capable ballcarriers in Michael Whitaker Jr. and Andrew Meza.

Throw Irving into the mix, and the offense is poised to be as diverse and dynamic as it’s been in quite some time to accommodate the usual playmaking defense that already has five takeaways this season.

“From what I’ve seen him do,” Simmons said, “tonight doesn’t surprise me at all. That’s what I expect him to do.”

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