At the time, Katy football coach Gary Joseph said his team, especially the offensive line, had some growing up to do.
The Tigers were walking off the field at Woodforest Bank Stadium in September, heading to the locker room as The Woodlands players and fans were celebrating a decisive 21-point victory that sent shock waves across the state.
Joseph, who has led Katy to three state championships in 10 years, was right. Katy's staple is its powerful running game, but the offensive line had to replace four graduated seniors from from last season.
"I know a lot of people wrote us off after we lost that game early on, but like I said, 'It's going to be a process.' We had to sit there and have some offensive linemen grow up," Joseph said. "You see it - they've grown up and gotten better. That's a good thing."
Katy is averaging 58.4 points per game since its lone loss. The offense has amassed more than 500 yards of offense five times and run for more than 300 yards seven times.
On Friday at Rice Stadium, Dawson became the latest team to experience how locked in the Tigers are. They won the Class 6A Division II Region III semifinal 63-20 to reach the fourth round for the third consecutive season.
Katy (12-1) will play Manvel (13-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at NRG Stadium. It's a rematch from a year ago when the Tigers won 56-14 on the way to reaching the state finals.
King for a day
In the late game Friday at Rice Stadium, Manvel fended off Cypress Woods 63-47 to bring to fruition what some had circled on their calendars for 12 months. Quarterback D'Eriq King threw for 319 yards and five touchdowns, and added 129 yards on the ground and another TD.
But before the game, Mavericks coach Kirk Martin said he team couldn't afford to look ahead to Katy. They were in the 2012 region semifinals and led Cypress Ranch 42-28 with under two minutes to play, only to watch Cy Ranch score twice in the final 1:38, including a two-point conversion, to win and advance. Katy won the following week by 49 points on the way to its seventh state title.
"That's really strong in my mind," Martin said. "We don't want Katy until it's time for that."
Dawson ends its first season in the state's largest classification at 8-5. The Eagles turned the ball over three times and didn't cross midfield until a minute remained in the first half. Vance Galloway connected with Kaleb White for a 49-yard touchdown pass on the next play, but that only cut Katy's lead to 42-7.
"It wasn't so much a buzz saw," Eagles coach Eric Wells said. "I don't know what you call that thing that runs and fixes highways (a steamroller). But a dang good team. We knew that going in.
"We fired everything we had at them. We just couldn't slow them down, and we couldn't get anything going."
Anderson on the run
Katy led 14-0 after running four offensive plays and scored on seven of their eight first-half possessions. The Tigers outgained Dawson 599-319, using 10 ball carriers to finish with 439 yards on the ground.
Senior running back Rodney Anderson led the way, running for 265 yards and six touchdowns on 18 carries. He scored Katy's first four touchdowns, added a fifth right before halftime and his sixth on the Tigers' opening drive of the second half.
Quarterback Garrett Doiron was 11-of-12 passing for 160 yards and two scores.
Katy, ranked 11th in the state with Manvel No. 3 in the final Associated Press poll, is in the fourth round for the ninth time under Joseph, who like Martin, said his team hasn't looked ahead.
"This is the first time we've mentioned Manvel," Joseph said. "I told them they're everyone's No. 1 team in the area and they've been wanting this for a long time. Hopefully we want it, too.
"I hope they don't want it worse than we do, but we'll line up and play."