HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Backed against its own end zone, North Shore's dreams of a repeat were in jeopardy. But in the end, the Mustangs defense made four straight stops on its goal line to beat Katy 20-17 at NRG Stadium.
"I knew our defense was going to come in. The work that those boys put in, I knew it was going to happen," North Shore quarterback Bryant Badie said. "I knew they were going to make the stand. It was one of the better feelings of my lifetime."
It marks just the 3rd time in history that the two defending state champions from the state's largest classification have met in the playoffs.
Trailing 20-17 with just over five minutes to play, Katy marched down to the North Shore two-yard line, courtesy of a 43-yard Rocky Emery pass to JC Angulo.
That's when North Shore made the stand. Katy gained just one yard on three plays, setting up a final 4th down play. Rather than kick the tying field goal, Katy head coach Gary Joseph elected to try for the go-ahead score. Josh Oglesby, starting for the injured Deondrick Glass, was stopped on 4th and goal by Jacoby Allen and North Shore ran out the clock from there.
"It was tough against them all game long and I felt like our best chance to win the game was to stick it in the end zone then," Joseph said. "It was my call. I didn't do a good job with it, but that's part of it."
Nothing should take away from what North Shore accomplished. The Mustangs trailed the entire first half and didn't play with the lead for most of the game. Still, in typical North Shore fashion, the Mustangs won anyway. The defending 6A, D1 champions defended their crown in dramatic fashion, keeping their hopes of a repeat alive.
North Shore took the lead for good with 5:03 remaining in the game. Kerrion Hadnot broke free for a spectacular 48-yard touchdown to give North Shore the 20-17 advantage. Hadnot spun away from a tackle as he was going to the ground, kept his balance, and he was gone.
"I thought I was down," Hadnot said. "God just gave me a helping hand. He said, 'Here, run with it,' and that's what I did."
Katy opened the scoring on a 38-yard touchdown run by Oglesby.
North Shore answered with a Bryant Badie 6-yard touchdown run after a Matthew Stephenson interception. The PAT was blocked.
Katy took a 7-6 lead into the locker room and opened up a 10-6 lead before Badie found Katreyvion Smith for a 29-yard touchdown to give North Shore a 13-10 lead.
Katy took the lead back on the ensuing drive, with Oglesby scoring from 22 yards out. Katy enjoyed a 17-13 lead at that point, but would not score again.
Oglesby did his part, rushing for 156 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Hadnot rushed for 96 yards for North Shore.
Bryant Badie was 9/15 for 102 yards and a touchdown. He added 49 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
North Shore will face Atascocita in the regional final next Friday.