1997 State Champions

1997 5A DI Texas State Football Champions

Katy Completes Title Quest

Written by Michael Lutz
The Galveston Daily News

December 14, 1997 – Finally, the Katy Tigers walked off the field as state champions.

Matt Gore passed for one touchdown and ran for another in a 24-3 upset victory over the previously unbeaten Longview Lobos for the Class 5A Division I state championship in the Astrodome Saturday.

“I don’t think they (Longview) had seen a team offensively that was North-South like we are,” Katy coach Mike Johnston said. “We don’t run around people very well. But we are kind of used to running over them.”

The Tigers last won a state title in 1959 when they captured the Class A crown. More recently, they’d been in the playoffs six straight years before this season without capturing a title. Until Saturday.

The Tigers (14-1) jumped on the Lobos (14-1) in the closing minutes of the first half after a scoreless first quarter. Gore scored on a 1-yard keeper with 2:43 to go and then he hit Mason White with a 37-yard touchdown pass with five seconds left in the half for a 14-3 lead.

Katy’s defense was as much responsible for the victory as its offense. It was the first game this season Longview was held without a touchdown.

“I felt we had an advantage against Longview because their whole thing was speed and we’re not fools,” Katy linebacker Rusty Bucy said. “We know we can’t outrun anybody but the thing we do is come right at you. We pound you and we pound you, and we felt they wouldn’t be used to playing a game like that.”

It marked the first time in the playoffs that the Lobos had trailed at halftime, although they rallied from halftime deficits three times in the regular season.

Longview’s comeback magic didn’t work this time. The Lobos’ only scoring came on a 27-yard field goal by Erin Roerecke with 9:26 to go in the second quarter.

The Tigers kept up the pressure in the second half. Ryan Nugent kicked a 34-yard field goal with 4:38 to go in the third quarter and Bronston Carroll ran nine yards with 3:41 to play to seal the victory.

The Lobos didn’t get a first down in the second half until 10:30 remained in the game. They finished with only 39 yards rushing.

“We felt good going in at the half,” Longview coach Robert Bero said. “We knew if we could maintain ball control we’d be in the game. But Katy is one of the best teams we’ve seen this year. They played an outstanding football game.”

When the Lobos made a desperate attempt to get on the scoreboard in the closing minutes, quarterback Jay Hurst was sacked three times for 33 yards in losses, including on the final play of the game.

Longview entered the game as a strong favorite with an impressive string of 14 straight victories. But they couldn’t finish it off with the Tigers.

Katy 24 – Longview 3