As 2013 rolls in, we’ll spend a few days taking a look back at teams and individuals that made the local high school sports scene memorable in 2012…today’s focus is on the best in Houston Class 5A football.
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When the 2012 high school football season began, nearly everyone expected that the Katy Tigers had a very good chance to be playing for another state championship in December. Almost no one expected the Lamar Redskins to be doing the same thing.
But when the final weekend of the 2012 UIL high school football, both teams were playing at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington for the opportunity to bring home a state championship trophy.
Because of that, Katy and Lamar represent the best of Houston Class 5A high school football for the 2012 season.
Katy (16-0) managed to come away with the Class 5A Division 2 state crown, knocking off the Cedar Hill Longhorns,35-24. It was the Tigers’ seventh state championship in school history and their first since back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008.
Adam Taylor, who has committed to Nebraska, rushed for 277 yards and five touchdowns, including a 56-yard run on fourth-and-one for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, and Katy held off Cedar Hill in the 5A-2 championship game on December 22.
The victory capped a dominant season for the Tigers. Katy won 11 games by at least 35 points this season.
They outscored opponents 829-206 — or roughly an average of 52-13 — and rolled through the Region III bracket with dominating wins over Westbury (77-7), Langham Creek (49-0), La Porte (55-10) and Cypress Ranch (70-21).
There were plenty of individual leaders for the Tigers in 2012.
Taylor finished the season with 2,750 yards and 42 touchdowns rushing. He and sophomore Rodney Anderson made an unstoppable one-two punch in Katy’s rushing attack.
Quarterback Kiley Huddleston threw for 1,600 yards and 20 touchdowns during the season and defined the team’s toughness by playing in the state championship game after being diagnosed (and cleared to play) with a broken fibula.
Senior defensive back Isaiah Brown, who has verbally committed to Tulsa, led a defense that collected 31 interceptions. Defensive end Matt Dimon, an Oklahoma commit, was named defensive player of the game against Cedar Hill.
Katy is now tied with Abilene, Brownwood and Plano for the third-most championships in Texas history. Celina and Southlake Carroll have eight apiece.
Lamar Redskins (15-1)
The Lamar Redskins failed to bring home the Class 5A Division 1 title, losing to Allen 35-21 in the title game, but to dwell on that game would be to miss the point of the outstanding season head coach Tom Nolen’s team put together.
Lamar was expected to be the class of Houston ISD teams this season. But few observers, if any outside the program itself, expected them to be the team that would navigate a difficult Region III-Division 1 bracket to represent the area in the state semifinal and final rounds.
But, led by junior quarterback Darrell Colbert, the Redskins went through their regular season 10-0 before easing past Seven Lakes, 36-33, in the first round of the playoffs.
Then, Lamar began to open some eyes with a second-round 30-14 victory over Alief Taylor, whose highly-regarded defense had held Cy-Fair to seven points the previous week.
The Redskins easily disposed of District 22-5A’s Travis Tigers, 24-7, to set up a regional final showdown with area powerhouse North Shore.
North Shore had impressive wins over playoff teams Clear Springs, Manvel, Cinco Ranch and Port Arthur Memorial in the regular season and a big win over Elsik to get them into the regional final.
The Mustangs were expected to be the Region III representative in the state semifinals.
But Lamar dominated North Shore and walked away with a 28-7 victory.
Lamar’s defense shut down North Shore’s vaunted rushing attack of Tristan Houston, Micah Thomas and Jared Pendleton. They forced three turnovers and blanked the Mustang offense until Pendleton scored on a one-yard run with under five minutes remaining in the game.
At the same time, Colbert threw for a pair of touchdowns and rushed for another on a 42-yard fourth-quarter run.
The following week, Lamar shut down San Antonio O’Connor, 15-7, to advance to the championship round.
Lamar became the first Houston ISD Class 5A team to advance past the regional final round since Vince Young’s Madison Marlins did it in 2001 and the first HISD team to play for a state championship since the Yates Lions won the 5A-D1 title in 1985.
Colbert threw for nearly 2,500 yards and 30 touchdowns and ran for over 700 yards and nine TDs.
Nolen earned his 250th win as the Lamar head coach during the season and, at season’s end, had raised his win total to 255 in his 28 years as the Redskins’ head coach. He was also named the Touchdown Club of Houston’s coach of the year.