A serve was hit and everything seemed normal again, almost as if time froze and the tragic pandemic of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 was forgotten, at least for a couple of hours.
Just days after Katy ISD cross country teams initiated their respective 2020 seasons, and mere minutes after team tennis programs began district play, volleyball teams followed suit on Tuesday afternoon, albeit six weeks later than usual. Wearing masks and exchanging high-fives for elbow taps, Katy High volleyball players and coaches showed off a genuine enthusiasm and appreciation, even more so than usual, during their season-opener at home against Stratford.
The Tigers swept the Spartans in dominant fashion, 25-11, 25-13, 25-16.
Due to social injustice, particularly in light of recent events, Katy High junior cornerback Bobby Taylor announced Friday morning on a social media post that he will sit out the Tigers’ scrimmage against Klein Collins on Sept. 17 and their season opener at Clear Springs on Sept. 25.
Taylor added that teammate and four-star senior cornerback Hunter Washington will join him in sitting out as well.
On the first day of what promises to be a different and adaptive school year for Katy ISD because of drastic accommodations due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19, Katy High slugger Olivia McFadden showed she’s got no problem with change.
McFadden, the Tigers’ Class of 2021 hard-hitting third baseman and 2019 state champion, decommitted from UTSA and verbally committed to Purdue on Wednesday. On Oct. 12 of last year, McFadden verbally committed to the Roadrunners, noting the coaching staff’s genuine interest in her personal development, on and off the field, as well as the program’s commitment to improving athletic performance through sport science and technology.
But McFadden started entertaining the prospect of playing at Purdue when the coaching staff reached out to her travel ball coach to express interest a couple of weeks ago.
Former Katy High star and Wisconsin senior defensive back Collin Wilder ran through a gauntlet of emotions Tuesday evening after it was learned Big 10 conference presidents had voted to postpone the fall 2020 college football season due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
The unwelcomed phone call lasted 16 seconds. Washing your hands takes longer.
But for Carson Lance, that amount of time was enough to temporarily set back his career. A 2014 graduate of Katy High who was in the single-A minor league system of the Detroit Tigers organization, Lance was at his offseason home in Denton on July 2 when the Tigers called to notify he was being released.
“Short and sweet, to the point,” Lance, 25, recalled. “Nobody has money right now and there are a lot of players. I’m not the only guy with this story. I think Detroit cut 40-plus people that day. That’s the number I heard, so I’m sure he was busy that day and didn’t have a whole lot of time.”
As the country is engulfed in a pandemic threatening the fall sports season, Katy High senior defensive back Dalton Johnson considers himself fortunate.
Though on-campus and in-person recruiting visits were not permitted during the spring because of COVID-19, Johnson verbally committed to continue his career and play for the University of Arizona a little more than a month ago. His future will not be dependent upon a senior campaign that is in jeopardy.
“It’s such a relief off my shoulders,” Johnson said. “Definitely with the pandemic, it kind of sped things up for me a bit. I was originally going to wait (to commit) until I go on a visit or something, but COVID kind of messed that up. It wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t rushed or anything. I knew it was the right time.
“I wanted to make sure I secured a spot, and looking at Arizona it was a perfect fit.”
Every now and then, when he’s struggling with his swing or simply has an inquiry about the game of baseball, Katy High incoming senior Jack Johnson will call or text a legend.
Whether it’s Major League Baseball’s all-time hits leader Pete Rose, 10-time all-star Steve Garvey or Hall of Famer Tony Perez, it doesn’t matter. Greatness is at Johnson’s disposal, and he soaks it in whenever it arrives.
“The older you get, you make different adjustments. That’s something Pete’s shared with me,” Johnson said. “In high school, adjustments are game-to-game. In college, adjustments are at-bat-to-at-bat. In the pros, adjustments are swing-to-swing. It’s about being more and more meticulous and aware.”
Dave Campbell’s Texas Football ranks Katy High in a tie for 18th overall on its 2020 Texas high school football program rankings released this weekend.
DCTF, in conjunction with PigskinPrep.com’s Jerry Forrest, ranked every high school football program based on relative strength over the course of the last six seasons.
Why six? As DCTF explains: “A six-year sample provides a steady measure of a program as opposed to an individual squad — six years represents one-and-a-half graduation cycles, mitigating the impact of a single transcendent class of athletes. In short: good programs have great teams one or two years, but great programs have great teams spread across a larger swath of time, like six years.”
During uncertain times hungry for any semblance of normalcy due to a global pandemic, some came last week when Katy ISD released its composite varsity football schedules for the 2020 season.
The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, means nothing is sure for the upcoming high school football season. But the UIL and its districts are making any and all plans for when the 2020-2021 school year begins.
The biennial realignment in February brought little significant change for Katy ISD athletics for the next two school years.
Cinco Ranch, Katy, Mayde Creek, Morton Ranch, Seven Lakes, Taylor and Tompkins will compete in District 19-6A, which has been the norm. Paetow moves up to Class 5A, Division I as its enrollment number is on the brink of Class 6A after just three years of existence. Jordan High, the district’s ninth high school scheduled to open in August to freshmen and sophomores only, will compete in Class 5A, Division II, but won’t have varsity football until 2022. Until then, the Warriors’ football schedule will be a makeshift rendition of mixing and matching opponents.
For 29 consecutive days in 2005, Brian Burg wrote letters to then-Texas Tech men’s basketball coach Bob Knight and Knight’s then-assistant coach Chris Beard.
Burg, fresh off a graduate assistant coaching gig at NCAA Division III Lake Erie College, knew he wanted to be a basketball coach. But he needed an opportunity.
Burg admired Beard for the passion and communication skills he saw first-hand when Beard coached summer camps Burg attended as a child. So, Burg tried his luck. Day after day produced letter after letter. Finally, after Knight got perturbed with Burg’s persistence, Burg received an exasperated call from Beard, who acknowledged Burg’s desire, told him to stop writing Knight, and eventually set Burg up with a job for a junior college program.
Since then, it’s been a grind for the Katy native Burg in climbing the ladder of a profession that’s not for the meek. From Garden City Community College to Western Texas College to Middle Tennessee State to Campbell to North Carolina Central to Little Rock. Then, in 2016, landing at Texas Tech under Beard, enjoying a mesmerizing Final Four run to the championship game in 2019, and then, now, to the culmination of it all in Statesboro, Georgia.