When In Texas: Week 5 (Part 1) / by Guillermo Hernandez Martinez

As the 2014 high school football season moves on to district play, When In Texas is also entering a tougher part of its schedule. This week I visited two homecoming games at two of the most storied programs in the state, the first one being seven-time state champions Katy High School.

While the Tigers' program started in 1939, it was not until the mid-80's and the arrival of head coach Mike Johnston that Katy started enjoying continuous success in the gridiron. Johnston would lead its charges to win the 1997 state championship game, ending a 38-year title drought for the Tigers, along with two more before his retirement in 2004. The Tigers have followed his era with three more titles, leaving them one shy from tying the all-time record of 8 state championships held jointly by Celina and Southlake Carroll High Schools.

During this year's homecoming game, Katy handily beat district rivals Katy Taylor, to whom the Tigers have not lost a game since 1955. Off the field, the scene was highlighted by students wearing rather large homecoming mums and garters, a state tradition that has grown enormously as time passed.

Originally consisting of a single chrysanthemum flower, a boy will present his homecoming dance date with a mum, which is often homemade, to be worn in her chest and she will in return present him with a matching, yet smaller, garter to be worn on the boy's upper arm. The mums have grown from a single flower to elaborate displays of color, sound and sometimes even light, thanks to LED lights. The mums are now a way for students to display their personality and interests while taking part in a tradition as old as homecoming itself.

The second part of this week's post, covering San Antonio's St. Anthony Catholic High School, will come later this week. In the meantime, enjoy the photographs and catch up with previous installments of When In Texas at the following links:

Week 1: Woodlands College Park vs Pearland
Week 2: Mason vs De Leon
Week 3: West Rusk vs Sabine
Week 4: El Paso vs Jefferson Silva

A Katy High School fan drives a Katy-themed convertible past Jack F. Rhodes Memorial Stadium prior to the Tigers' homecoming game against the Katy Taylor Mustangs on September 26, 2014 in Katy, Texas. The Tigers would go on to play an almost flawless game and beat the Mustangs 50 - 7.
Probably the most recognizable high school football team in the state, the Katy Tigers are used to blowout victories and state championship seasons, with 12 appearances and six wins in the final game during the last 20 years.

Katy High School Band members warm up prior to the Tigers' homecoming game against the Katy Taylor Mustangs played on September 26, 2014 at Jack Rhodes Memorial Stadium in Katy, Texas.
"That Roarin' Band From Tigerland" is best known for appearing in Wes Anderson's 1998 movie "Rushmore" alongside Bill Murray.

Katy High School's homecoming court is presented during halftime of the Tigers' homecoming game against the Katy Taylor Mustangs played on September 26, 2014 at Jack Rhodes Memorial Stadium in Katy, Texas. While homecoming is practiced all throughout the United States, Texas high schools are unique in their use of large homecoming mums and garters for girls and boys, respectively. While tradition originally called for a boy to present his homecoming dance date with a single chrysanthemum, hence the name mums, the gesture has grown larger and more elaborate as the decades go by. The girl in turn will give her date a matching, but smaller, garter to be worn in his upper arm.

Katy High School's homecoming court is presented during halftime of the Tigers' homecoming game against the Katy Taylor Mustangs played on September 26, 2014 at Jack Rhodes Memorial Stadium in Katy, Texas.
While homecoming is practiced all throughout the United States, Texas high schools are unique in their use of large homecoming mums and garters for girls and boys, respectively. While tradition originally called for a boy to present his homecoming dance date with a single chrysanthemum, hence the name mums, the gesture has grown larger and more elaborate as the decades go by. The girl in turn will give her date a matching, but smaller, garter to be worn in his upper arm.

Katy High School Band members interact with fans behind their section during a timeout in action of the Tigers' homecoming game against the Katy Taylor Mustangs played on September 26, 2014 at Jack Rhodes Memorial Stadium in Katy, Texas.
Founded in 1939, the Tigers' football program was competent since before it's first state title win in 1959, but it wasn't until Mike Johnston became head coach in 1982 that it found the unparalleled success it now enjoys. Coach Johnston took the Tigers to five state championship games, winning three of them, including the 1997 title, breaking an almost 40-year championship drought for the program.

Junior runningback for Katy High School Kyle Porter scores a touchdown during first quarter action of the Tigers' homecoming game against the Katy Taylor Mustangs on September 26, 2014 in Katy, Texas.
Now under head coach Gary Joseph, the Tigers are looking for their eighth state championship, which would match the all-time record, currently held jointly by Celina High School and Southlake Carroll High School.