Here at Hair Balls, we seem to talk a lot about Katy High School football, even though we try not to. When the high school playoffs started this year, we really wanted to cheer for Galveston Ball, and we thought The Woodlands and Hightower High School would surely go deep in the playoffs.
Those teams are gone.
Eight teams remain in 5A heading into the state semi-finals this weekend, and three are from the Houston area. Two, Cinco Ranch and Katy high schools, are from Katy.
In an ideal world, if both Katy teams continued to win, they would face each other in the final championship game, which would also probably be the biggest game in Katy history, which is saying a lot. But because of the playoff alignments, these two schools from the same town and same district have no shot at playing each other. (Katy High School and Klein, the other Houston area team, could possibly play for state, which would make plenty of high school fans happy.)
Katy and Cinco Ranch could both win state championships, but the debate of who is the best would not be settled.
"I'm for one state champion, and I'd love to see those guys play each other," Buddy Carlisle, a Texas rep for maxpreps.com and a former coach at Clear Creek High School, told Hair Balls. "They're both really good, so I'm sure there's a lot of people in the state that would like to see that game."
Unfortunately, it will never happen.
"It's something the fans talk about all the time, but the UIL and the coaches like the fact that the split playoffs creates 10 state champions (12 if you add in six-man) who finish their seasons with a big win," Dennis Hall, managing editor of Dave Campbell's Texas Football, tells us via e-mail. "It would clearly take something away from that if the division champs played each other with one winner, one loser."
In the past two years, Katy and Cinco Ranch have played each other in regular season games, deciding the much-coveted 17-5A District Championship (all six teams in the district are Katy high schools) each year.
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Last year, Cinco Ranch won the game 27-21 in overtime, but Katy went on to win the state championship. This year, Cinco Ranch entered the game undefeated, and Katy had lost once. Katy had a 14-0 lead at one point, but Cinco Ranch came back to lead 20-14. Then Katy scored a touchdown to lead by one point. With seven seconds left in the game, Cinco Ranch missed a field goal and Katy won, 21-20.
"I think that score about sums it up -- these two teams are very even matched," Hall says.
If they met again, it would come down to which team made a big play in the fourth quarter to earn the victory. Cinco Ranch running back K.C. Nlemchi would be the best player in the game, but Katy is so well-coached and has so much depth that I'd make the Tigers a small favorite. Coach Gary Joseph and his staff simply find a way to win. Think about it -- the 5A playoffs have been filled with upsets this year, yet Katy just keeps rolling along as usual. They're always prepared and never outcoached.