Paetow faces College Station in search of first state title

By Tyler Tyre, Sports Editor
Posted 12/16/21

“It gives us confidence, hearing and seeing how good they are,” said junior linebacker Daymion Sanford. “It gives us energy and confidence to go out there and perform on the field and prove how good we are too.”

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Paetow faces College Station in search of first state title

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One. More. Game.

That’s the motto every player at Paetow is uttering this week.

One more game to prove how good of a team you are. One more game to reach the ultimate goal. One more game to become the first non Katy high team in Katy ISD history to bring home a football state championship.

“It feels amazing, but this isn’t surprising for us,” said senior offensive lineman James Bailey. “This is what we’ve been working for for five years. We have worked for this since junior high. It feels great that our hard work has led us here, but we aren’t done.”

The Panthers belief has propelled them all season. To a district championship, to the furthest playoff appearance in school history, to the Class 5A-Division I state championship game.

The next, and final step is to take down an undefeated College Station team.

“We’ve continued to improve all year and we have to do that again this week,” Bailey said. “What we did last week is not our best, we can always get better and we have to find ways to improve.”

The Panthers will find it hard to improve on what they did last week. The team dominated Flour Bluff in all facets of the game in the state semifinals, and will need to continue to do that 7 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington if they want to bring home a state championship.

The key for the team will be playing complimentary football.

“It’s going to be the difference of whether you win or lose,” said Paetow head coach BJ Gotte. When you are playing in a game like this against an opponent as good as they are you have to play complimentary football. They don’t have any weaknesses, they’re very sound in all three phases and we have shown to be that as well. We did a really good job of being sound in all three phases and being sound in all three phases. We’re going to need that same effort this week.”

College Station, like Paetow, is in the midst of a monstrous season, they are led by an extremely talented running back on offense in Marquise Collins.

The junior is a three star recruit who already holds offers from Baylor, Houston and Texas Tech. He has rushed for 2,627 yards and 37 touchdowns this year, averaging over eight yards per carry and going over 100 yards in all but one of College Station’s games so far. Collins has rushed for over 200 yards and three touchdowns in each of College Stations past four games.

“We’re going to have to play great team defense,” Gotte said. “Everyone has to do their job and fit where they’re supposed to and we have to fly to the football and gang tackle. “He’s an explosive player and an elite running back, one of the best backs in the state. We have to do our job and all 11 guys have to get to the football.”

But the Cougars offense is more than just Collins. Senior quarterback Jett Huff has thrown for 2,943 yards and 42 touchdowns to just four interceptions this year and is averaging over 196 yards passing per game and 13 yards per completion. They also have a plethora of weapons at receiver, with five different players that have over 200 receiving yards on the year. The biggest weapons for them are Traylen Suel, who has 81 receptions for 971 yards and 16 touchdowns and Dalton Carnes, who has 49 receptions for 748 yards and 11 touchdowns.

College Stations defense has been strong as well and has given up on average 21 points this postseason.

The Cougars may be an imposing team, but so is Paetow, and the Panthers are ready to get to Friday and show what they can do.

“It gives us confidence, hearing and seeing how good they are,” said junior linebacker Daymion Sanford. “It gives us energy and confidence to go out there and perform on the field and prove how good we are too.”

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