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Inside the Tigers Week 11: Offense rolling, champs again, Cue starring, Glass ailing

Sophomore quarterback Bronson McClelland is the pilot behind a multidimensional Katy offense that is one of the best in the state. (VYPE)

Averaging 53 points on 444.9 yards per game, Katy is among the top five offenses, via total yards, total points and touchdowns, in Class 6A in the state, according to MaxPreps.com.

The Tigers have scored 477 points in nine games. That’s only 82 points fewer than what Katy scored in 13 games last season.

“That’s one of the strengths of our team right now, having an explosive back (senior Deondrick Glass) like we do and a quarterback (sophomore Bronson McClelland) with receivers (juniors Jordan Patrick and Steven Stiles) that can get open,” coach Gary Joseph said. “It means everything. The improvement they’ve shown from week one has been really good. The confidence they’re playing with right now is where you want your football team to be.”

Through nine games, Glass is one of the top rushers in the city of Houston, compiling 1,629 yards and 25 touchdowns. McClelland leads District 19-6A in completion percentage (64.4) and passing touchdowns (17). Patrick leads the district in receiving yards (724) and touchdowns (10).

The Tigers have threats everywhere, even from the fullback position that is typically a blocking role with minimal ball-carrying responsibilities. But senior Dawson Gonzales is second on the team in receptions (12) and has 153 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Joseph is pleased with the way the offense finishes drives with touchdowns, especially following a takeaway defensively, and with the multi-dimensional facet McClelland gives the play-action passing game as a dual-threat playmaker.

But the biggest improvement, however, has been the offensive line. Senior Josh Pinkard has stabilized his role at center. Junior Dakota White has been a pleasant surprise at quick tackle, a positon he started playing just two weeks before the season started. Joseph said White will be a “really good football player” as a senior and has done well solidifying protection on the backside of McClelland.

Senior Cole Birmingham, the Oklahoma State verbal commit, has been the rock of the offensive front. Junior Brayden Gammel has performed admirably in place of the injured Drew Murphy.

Joseph said the offense has also benefited from receivers improving their route-running and burst getting off the line of scrimmage.

ON TOP … AGAIN

Katy’s first goal of 2018 has been accomplished.

The Tigers, for the 10th consecutive season, are district champions. They won this year's title outright with last week's win over Mayde Creek and Tompkins' loss to Cinco Ranch.

“It’s always the first step in any situation for us,” Joseph said. “Winning a district championship still means something to us. A lot of people say it doesn’t mean anything and what matters is the playoffs. But it still means something. It’s your first goal. You don’t ever not want to be the best in your area.”

The fact that those 10 consecutive district titles have come without a blemish, barring a loss to Taylor on Thursday, or that Katy can finish the regular season having won 67 straight district games? Immaterial to Joseph.

“Each is different,” Joseph said. “The common theme is that’s what our first goal is. We’re not going to try to get ahead of ourselves and worry about the next step in the playoffs. It’s quite an accomplishment to take care of business in your district and win one, much less 10 in a row or whatever it is. It’s still a pride thing.”

The Tigers go up against the Mustangs this week. Each team is headed to the playoffs. Nothing is on the line, other than another undefeated district campaign for Katy.

Joseph said he wants continued improvement. He has been pleased with the kicking game, and said the progress made during last week’s win over Mayde Creek was “eye-opening,” as far as coverages and kicking.

Defensively, he wants more cohesion and maturation. Joseph said it is essential his kids continue making tackles.

On the offensive line, Joseph said he wants to see more improvement giving running backs a chance to get to the second level of the defense.

“There are things we are going to have to do better if we want to advance in the playoffs,” Joseph said. “There’s nothing that we don’t have to get better at.”

RIGHT ON CUE

At one point late during August preseason camp, it was thought Kaleb Cue might not even be with the Tigers. The senior kicker missed a couple of weeks due to a family issue, and Joseph said at the time that Cue’s status with the team was in doubt.

Fortunately for everyone involved, it didn’t play out that way.

Cue missed the first game of the regular season, but otherwise has been a consistent staple of the kicking game, splashing onto the varsity scene with his game-winning kick to beat Atascocita in Week 2.

“He’s separated himself from the others,” said Joseph. Junior Josh Rodriguez and sophomore Nemanja Lazic were ready to fill in for Cue should he have not stayed with the team.

But Cue has been a revelation after the Tigers graduated program stalwart and kicker/punter Seth Small, now at Texas A&M. Cue leads all District 19-6A kickers in scoring with 70 points — 55 extra-point makes and five field goals.

He ranks sixth in the district, overall, in scoring.

Cue, who has not missed an extra-point attempt or field-goal attempt all season, only continues to get better. He had a standout game against Mayde Creek last week with a season-high 14 points.

“The thing I was so thrilled about last week was his consistency,” Joseph said. “He showed consistency in his kickoffs, consistency in his pooch kicks, consistency in being able to make the field goals. That’s what we’ve got to get to, where it’s an automatic thing. If you want to win an outright district title and advance in the playoffs, those things are going to have to be there.”

GLASS HURTING

Glass injured his shoulder on a run during the first half of last week’s win over Mayde Creek.

His arm was in a sling earlier this week, and Glass did not practice Monday.

“He’s OK,” Joseph said Tuesday morning. “He’s going to be day-to-day. I don’t know. I’ve talked to the doctors and there’s still an evaluation process on him. Where he’s going to be at, it’s going to be about pain tolerance. He’ll play if he can. If he can’t, we’ll go on to the next thing.”

Joseph said Glass landed on the arm wrong following a run.

“It’s painful more than anything else,” Joseph said. “You want to be able to say he’ll be able to go and ready to play, but we’ve got a short week … I don’t know. Hopefully we can get him back before we get into the playoffs, but if we can’t, we can’t.”

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