Tale of the Tape: These two programs are quite familiar with each other after they faced off in three straight state title games from 2012-2014 with Cedar Hill winning two of the three contests. The Longhorns are back in the state title game for the first time since their 2014 win over Katy. They boast a strong defense full of Division I talent that has only given up 16 points per game this season. Katy, meanwhile, is back for the first time since 2015 when it defeated Lake Travis in the title game 34-7. The Tigers have just as stout of a defense as Cedar Hill as they only have allowed 11.7 points per game this season.
Players to Watch: The main man for Cedar Hill is Tennessee commit quarterback Kaidon Salter. He is a true dual threat quarterback with 2,571 passing yards, 1,075 rushing yards, and 45 total touchdowns this season. “His ability to overcome adversity is his most impressive attribute,” Cedar Hill head coach Carlos Lynn said when asked what impressed him the most about his quarterback. “He is very important to the team because of his confidence and his ability to turn a bad play into a better play.” When Salter has let the ball fly, his top receiver on the season has been New Mexico State commit Javien Clemmer, 617 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, who has made an instant impact this year in his first year with the team since moving in from Arkansas. On the other side of the ball, the Longhorn defense is loaded. Katy will have to contain Texas Tech commit defensive end Charles Esters off the end as he has nine sacks on the season. Behind Esters, seniors Jaheim Lowe and Demari Ward have been mainstays at linebacker this year with 92 and 87 total tackles respectively. Lastly, the secondary has plenty of prowess too as Liberty commit cornerback Amarian Williams is coming off a two-interception game against Guyer in the semifinals, while Central Arkansas commit Brett Lynch is the third leading tackler on the team this season.
Katy quarterback sophomore Caleb Koger has stepped into the starting role for the Tigers and performed well, throwing for 1,460 yards and 23 touchdowns to just two interceptions, but the bread and butter of the Katy offense this year has been its ground game. The Davis brothers have wreaked havoc on opposing defenses from their running back positions this year with sophomore Seth leading the way with 1,625 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns and senior Jalen not far behind with 1,409 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns himself. When the Tigers do need to go through the air, their standout receiver is junior Nicholas Anderson, a three-star recruit who has 450 receiving yards and five touchdowns on the season. Defensively, Katy is stacked. It has two star cornerbacks in Florida State commit Hunter Washington and highly touted junior Bobby Taylor. If that wasn’t enough for Salter to keep tabs on in the pocket, they are joined in the secondary by Arizona commit safety Dalton Johnson, who had an interception in Katy’s quarterfinal victory. Up front, Rice commit Cal Varner is a threat off the edge, while two more Division I prospects, junior Ty Kana and senior Jaden Maronen, anchor the linebacking corps.
With two strong defenses, this will be a physical, hard-fought game to open proceedings on Saturday. It will be intriguing to watch as these two teams write the fourth chapter in the history of their state title showdowns against one another.