ARLINGTON -- Because Katy's Tigers have Adam Taylor and an offensive line that gives him room to run, the Katy dynasty added another championship notch Saturday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium.
But not because Cedar Hill's Longhorns made it easy. They pushed Katy almost to the wire before the Tigers completed a 16-0 season with a 35-24 Class 5A Division II state championship victory before a crowd of 42,621.
Taylor wore down the Cedar Hill defense with 30 carries for 277 yards and five touchdowns, and his last two TDs were the game-breakers -- a 56-yarder on fourth-and-1 with 7:07 remaining that erased a 24-21 Longhorns lead and a clinching 42-yarder with 1:55 remaining.
Until those runs, it looked as if Cedar Hill (11-5) might pull off an upset of a Katy team ranked either No. 2 or No. 3 in the national polls. Instead, the Tigers won state championship No. 7 -- their fifth in 13 years. Only Celina and Southlake Carroll (eight each) have more Texas football titles.
Cedar Hill led 3-0 after one quarter on Brooks Ralph's 36-yard field goal and erased two 11-point deficits (14-3 and 21-10) to momentarily stun Katy. The Longhorns scored twice in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter to take the lead.
Quarterback Damion Hobbs threw TD passes of 9 and 21 yards to Brandon Harris, and Hobbs also ran 21 yards for a score and added a PAT run.
The Longhorns also got a couple of huge plays from star back Laquvionte Gonzalez -- a 62-yard run to the Katy 6 and a 55-yard screen pass that set up the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter.
"We didn't come into this game thinking we couldn't win," said Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire, hoping to add a state title to the one the program won in 2006. "They won, and they deserve it, but we fought them.
"... We got ahead of them, and they hadn't been there much all year that late in the game, and they responded."
But in the end, it was too much Taylor, who, wearing the red-and-white uniform scheme similar to the University of Nebraska's (where he's headed), finished off a season in which he ran for 2,524 yards and 41 TDs.
The biggest play was his fourth touchdown. Cedar Hill had the momentum, and the lead, when Taylor took a pitch right, turned the corner and went the distance to put the Tigers ahead again 28-24.
"That last one; we thought they were going to run option, but they ran sweep," McGuire said. "We had everything called [on defense] to stop [it on the inside], but they called the right play, and he took it to the house."
It was a gamble of sorts, but Katy coach Gary Joseph felt it was time "because it was at the time of the game they had momentum, and we had to do something. I wanted to show the kids that I had confidence they [the Longhorns] weren't going to stop us, and we were going be able to make a first down. It was a no-brain situation."
"That's our best football play, that's been our staple for years and years," he said of the sweep. "Line up and go attack people, and see if we can be physical."
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