Countdown To Championship Saturday: Katy High

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Two area high schools -- Katy and Hightower -- will play in separate games Saturday at Reliant Stadium for the state championships in their division. Each day we'll count down to the big event.

In old Katy this week, the town, school and football team are preparing for a state championship game on Saturday. It's the second straight appearance for the team - the tenth ninth overall - but things are different this year.

"People think a lot more of this team because they've come so far," Melanie Gumbert, whose son is a senior on the team, tells Hair Balls. "Last year's team was undefeated, but we have a couple of losses, with that really bad loss (47- 0) to the Woodlands."

When we were reporting for our October story about Katy High, the attitude around town was that this season wasn't about winning but preparing for next year or the next.

Sam Holl, a junior and one of Katy's standout players, told us in September, "A lot of people tell us, 'You're not going to be last year's team.' Well, they're not here anymore and we're rebuilding right now. Forget about last season, I don't even wear my ring any more."

Then the team started winning, losing just one game since our story was published and blasting through the playoffs.

A surge of Tiger decorations appeared several weeks ago, Gumbert says, with more and more after each win. Even businesses on the south side of Interstate 10, which is outside Katy proper and generally anti-Katy High, have put up some Tiger regalia.

Not much is going on at the school this week - not even a Friday pep rally - because students are taking final exams. The coaches and players have their normal team dinner Thursday night, while parents decorate the locker room.

Parents and fans are rallying in the high school parking lot on Saturday morning before the team loads up and heads to Reliant Stadium The game against Wylie, a Dallas suburb, starts at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

-- Paul Knight

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