The Katy Tigers are one of the most prestigious high school football programs in the state of Texas so to not only play for them, but to be named team captain of the program is a big deal, and that honor has been given to their senior linebacker Nate Hall for the 2023 season.
“It means a lot. We need leadership on the team, and that is what’s preached over at Katy. We’ve got great guys, a great system, and the coaches always say that we need to be player led. These coach led teams can only take us so far, but once we get a player led team, that is what drives us to state, and that’s what I am trying to do. I am trying to become that player led guy to lead us there.”
The rising Katy senior is the perfect candidate to be that leader. Playing at the 6A level with a student enrollment over 3,000 students, it was Hall that has been selected as not only the football team captain, but student body president as well. Those leadership tangibles have certainly helped him on the gridiron.
“It helps me to know that I got to go out there. I got to hold myself to a higher standard not just for myself, but for the rest of the guys so I can set an example and that they would know what to do even when I am gone, they know exactly how and what is supposed to be done.”
Hall is motivated to hold not only himself, but the entire Katy team to a higher standard for the fall since the Tigers came a couple of plays short of winning a 6A State Championship losing to Vandegrift High School in Austin, Texas by a final score of 38-35. For Hall and the rest of the Tigers, coming up just short of an undefeated season is extra fuel to the fire despite always having the big target on their backs.
“I’d say everyday, the coaches would bring it up. If they see somebody slacking off a rep and not doing their best, they will just bring it up and say, do you think that will bring us to state? Those reps right there are what cost us. It’s big, really big.”
“Over the offseason, I am just trying to get everybody to just buy in, get the young guys to make all the workouts, be there when they can, give up some sacrifices, and try to get everybody to be the best that they can be for when the season comes around because every game, you have to play like it’s state. Whenever you go out there, especially at Katy, you know everybody that is playing us is gunning for Katy. We will talk about it and our goal is to win state. A lot of schools’ goals are just to beat Katy so you got to play every game hard because everybody wants to beat us.”
Hall takes on the role of being a coach on the field and personifies what his head coach Gary Joseph wants in his players. Playing for one of the best high school football coaches in the country that has led Katy to three national championships, Hall makes sure to take everything in when learning from one of the game’s best.
“It’s awesome. You just know whatever he tells you to do, you can do it. He comes with a game plan every week and I just know it is going to work. I just know that whatever he tells me to do, it is the right thing to do. He sets that bar so high for us.”
It is indeed an extremely high bar playing football at Katy High School as nine time state champions. Playing linebacker at Katy High School is not for the faint of heart as some great players have come through the program including a player that Hall has looked up to as a little kid and that is former Katy great Paddy Fisher, who has gone on to play for the Northwestern Wildcats and the Michigan Panthers of the USFL.
“Paddy Fisher is an old Katy guy. He is a legend over here at Katy and every chance I get, I try to watch him and try to get in his head to see what he is thinking and why he is doing this. Stuff like that.”
“I have a funny story about that too because I idolized him at the time. My dad kind of tricked me when we gone to somebody’s house to buy a couch and it was kind of early so I was falling asleep and not paying attention to where we were going and when we walked in, there he was. I looked at my dad and said that’s Paddy Fisher. That was really cool!”
Growing up wanting to be like Paddy, Nate Hall is getting his opportunity to live out his dream also playing linebacker for Katy High School. Last season, Hall had up to 90 tackles while coming in as an alternate and playing on special teams, but this season will be his opportunity to show Tiger fans what he can do as a full time starter. In a small sample size, he already made a big impression on his coaches.
“I did get awards from Katy. I was one of the above and beyond guys on special teams and over the offseason, we do a testing system and it’s on a point scale. I had the most points scored out of all the Katy players.”
“Technically, this will be my first year starting and playing the whole time, but last year, I was a rotation guy that came in every drive. I want to go out there and show everybody what I can do. I am ready to go.”
To show how ready Hall is for the upcoming season, he already showed what he is capable of as he was named the linebacker MVP at the Stephen F. Austin camp. Knowing that the coaching staff is really high on him, Hall would love nothing more than to get a chance to play for a team like the Lumberjacks at the college level.
“It’s been a good summer. I went to TCU, Houston, and SFA. At the SFA camp, I got the MVP award for linebackers. I have been talking to the linebacker coach and their defensive coordinator. SFA seems to be a pretty cool school. I have liked SFA for a while. I’ve had a couple of guys go there. I just had that MVP and I would love the opportunity to play there.”
Like his idol Paddy Fisher, the 6’1, 215 pound linebacker is a thumper and does a great job of stuffing the run while shedding blocks and oncoming traffic to get to the ball carrier. He is strong too as he can bench press 320, squat 460, and power clean 300 pounds. Not to mention, he has deceptive 4.62/40 speed as well.
“My biggest strength is coming downhill and fitting the run because whenever guys hit me in the hole, it doesn’t end well for them.”
No running back would like to meet Mr. Hall one on one in between the tackles, but in order to perfect his game as a linebacker, he continues to work on the other aspects of his game.
“The thing that I most need to improve on will be my pass game. My drop backs are good, but I would say continue to work on my drop backs and read exactly what that quarterback is doing so I can react to it.”
As a team leader, Hall is focused more about the team than himself when it comes to the success of this season. Having awards and individual accomplishments will only be an added bonus.
“It’s always a goal to get that first team All-District, first team All-State, and all those accolades, but the main goal is to win state with the team.”
Growing up a Katy football fan and seeing many of his family members play sports at Katy, the storybook ending for his high school career would be to hold a state championship trophy at the end of the year in Jerry’s World.
Nate Hall exemplifies what it means to be a team leader indicated by his many accomplishments on the field and off the field. He is one of those players that plays an integral part of a championship program just like the one at Katy because he is a type of player that is playing for the front of his jersey and not the back.
“Guys talk about how good they are and how hard they work, but at Katy, they just bred me different. I am going to be the hardest working guy that you got on your team. I will show it to you.”
Actions speak louder than words and being a team captain of one of the top teams in Texas just backs it up even more.