The Cooldown- Week 17

Cover Photo via the Dallas Morning News/ Elias Valverde II

The 2021 football season is officially over after State Champions were crowned at AT&T Stadium this weekend. Congratulations to South Oak Cliff and Stephenville on winning State Championships! Also, a big congratulations to Duncanville, Denton Guyer, Gunter and Brock on reaching the State Championship Games! This week we’re going to recap the State Championship weekend and I will provide some thoughts on next season to put a bow on football season. The Cooldown will shift to basketball full time after Christmas!

South Oak Cliff defeats Liberty Hill

South Oak Cliff made history with a 23-14 win over Liberty Hill in the 5A DII State Championship Game! The Golden Bears will go in the record book as the first DISD team to win a State Championship since 1958. Dallas Carter had its 1988 State Championship stripped. South Oak Cliff won its first State Championship in school history in front of the 10th largest crowd in Texas high school football history. More than 45,000 people were on hand to see South Oak Cliff make history. There will be a championship parade for South Oak Cliff on Tuesday.

South Oak Cliff quarterback Kevin Henry- Jennings completed 12 of his 23 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdown passes for the SMU signee came in the first half. Ke’Undrae Hollywood carried the ball 10 times for 68 yards and Qualon Farrar added 52 yards and a score on the ground. Farrar’s touchdown iced the game late in the fourth quarter. Kylin Mathis caught three passes for 53 yards and almost made the catch of the year on a play where pass interference probably should have been called but wasn’t. Jamryi Cauley caught three passes for 41 yards and a score and Randy Reece finished with three receptions for 22 yards. Corinthean Coleman caught a touchdown pass from 17 yards out for the opening score of the game. Liberty Hill did not complete a pass but finished with over 250 yards on the ground and Andon Thomas scored both of the Panthers touchdowns.

South Oak Cliff proved that winning at the highest level in the state of Texas isn’t reserved for the communities with the most money and the best resources. That doesn’t mean that winning is easy though. South Oak Cliff has been preparing for this moment for years, and the Golden Bears delivered on the biggest stage in high school football. This win is a testament to the program that coach Jason Todd has built.

This accomplishment should be celebrated not just by the Dallas community but by the entire metroplex throughout the offseason. When it comes time to prepare for the 2022 season, Todd will have his guys ready and focused on making another run. The Golden Bears have a lot of talent to replace next season, but don’t count out South Oak Cliff. This wasn’t lighting in a bottle. The State Championship run wasn’t a one-time thing. Jason Todd and the Golden Bears are here to stay, so expect to see South Oak Cliff playing in big games for years to come.

North Shore eliminates Duncanville

The third time was not the charm for Duncanville as the Panthers lost to North Shore in the 6A DI State Championship Game for the third time in four years. Duncanville fell a step short of the State Championship Game in January but got back to Arlington in December with a big win over Southlake Carroll. Even though Duncanville hasn’t been able to get past North Shore, the Panthers have won countless playoff games over the years and have represented the metroplex well.

Solomon James completed 10 of his 18 passes for 75 yards and an interception. Malachi Medlock carried the ball 22 times for 112 yards and senior linebacker Jordan Crook scored Duncanville’s only touchdown on a short run in the second quarter. Lontrell Turner caught six passes for 57 yards to lead the receivers. The Duncanville defense held North Shore in check for most of the afternoon. The difference in the game was a fourth quarter touchdown pass from Kaleb Bailey to a wide-open David Amador to power North Shore past Duncanville 17-10.

After the offenses dominated the first two meetings between these two schools, the defenses took over in the third meeting. The strength of both teams was on the defensive side of the football. If David Amador doesn’t get open on one play in the fourth quarter, who knows how this game could have ended. Either way, it was always going to be a low scoring affair. Congratulations to Duncanville on a fantastic season!

Austin Westlake defeats Denton Guyer

Austin Westlake defeated Denton Guyer 40-21 in the 6A DII State Championship Game for the second time in three years to complete the three-peat and send coach Todd Dodge off to retirement with one last State Championship. The second meeting was much different than the first meeting as Denton Guyer played Austin Westlake closer than anyone has since Southlake Carroll in the 6A DI State Championship Game back in January. Trinity also played the Chaps relatively close in Austin earlier this season but didn’t give Westlake the scare Southlake Carroll and Denton Guyer did.

Jackson Arnold completed 18 of his 28 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown and also led the Wildcats on the ground with 49 yards and two scores. Peyton Bowen caught two passes for 60 yards to lead the receivers and Jace Wilson added three receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown. The Denton Guyer defense forced Austin Westlake into more mistakes than its made in a game all season long. Eli Bowen came up with an interception in the first quarter and Jackson Moore recovered a fumble to set up a touchdown pass from Arnold to Wilson to give Denton Guyer a 14-13 lead just before the end of the first quarter. That score held until halftime. Arnold answered an Austin Westlake score to open the half with a touchdown run to give Denton Guyer a 21-20 lead midway through the third quarter. That was Denton Guyer’s last touchdown of the season.

Despite the loss in the State Championship Game, it was still a fantastic season for Denton Guyer. The Wildcats got back to the State Championship Game and are set up will to be contenders to make it again next season. At the end of the day, Denton Guyer couldn’t block the defensive ends for Austin Westlake. Chaps quarterback Cade Klubnik connected with receiver Jaden Greathouse seven times for 236 yards and three touchdowns. That is what flipped the game for Austin Westlake. Jackson Arnold and the Denton Guyer Wildcats challenged the best team in the state and gave Westlake all it could handle for three quarters. Denton Guyer will be coming for more next season.

Season Recap and 2022 Preview

Another football season is in the books. It was a lot of fun to cover from start to finish. Allen kicked off the Chad Morris era nicely with a deep playoff run and a big win over Trinity in the playoffs. Trinity will be back to the drawing board as star running back Ollie Gordon is off to college and coach Chris Jensen enters retirement. South Oak Cliff was the feel-good story of the year, and yet, it is much more than just a feel-good story. The Golden Bears are for real and should compete for State Championships for years to come. It’s a good thing it happened this year and SOC beat Aledo to do it. Aledo is likely moving up to 5A DI in realignment and nobody will be able to say SOC is only winning because Aledo isn’t in 5A DII anymore. Aledo’s run of dominance in 5A DII has come to a close and the Bearcats will have to navigate their way through the 5A DI playoffs for at least the next two years. To that end, 5A DII will replace one DFW powerhouse in Aledo with another one in Argyle, who will likely be moving up from 4A DI. Mansfield Summit made another journey to the State Semifinal round and will attempt to get over the hump and make the State Championship Game in 2022. It won’t be easy with so much talent moving on to college. Lewisville had a nice season and got revenge on Arlington Martin in the playoffs before losing in the next round.

Rockwall quarterback Braedyn Locke re-wrote some records this season as the Yellow Jackets had another good year despite losing to DeSoto in the second round again. DeSoto didn’t skip a beat despite having to replace a ton of talent. The Eagles reloaded on both sides of the football but ultimately lost to Duncanville in the playoffs. Not before impressive wins over Rockwall and Spring Westfield, though. DeSoto is set at quarterback next season and has plenty of talent returning. Duncanville almost got that elusive State Championship but fell just short once again. The Panthers will have to replace a quarterback again, along with some dominant offensive lineman and members of a ferocious front seven. Duncanville is the kind of school that reloads instead of rebuilding so don’t count out the Panthers in 2022.

We will have an entire Cooldown dedicated to realignment when it happens in a few months. I will discuss the new districts and the implications for football and basketball across the metroplex. It will give us a better idea of what might happen in 2022. Either way there is sure to be plenty of new storylines in the new season. There is a lot of talent moving on to college next season, which means plenty of players will have an opportunity to fill those shoes of the graduated and become stars at their respective schools. We’ll be right there to cover it all! Now for our last Players of the Week for football before we move on to basketball coverage full time.

Offensive Player of the Week

My Offensive Player of the Week is South Oak Cliff quarterback Kevin Henry- Jennings! South Oak Cliff’s historic playoff run and State Championship was made possible in large part because of stellar quarterback play from Henry- Jennings all season long. Henry- Jennings finished his career at South Oak Cliff with 144 yards and two touchdowns through the air to earn the Offensive MVP of the 5A DII State Championship Game! Unfortunately, my Player of the Week award doesn’t come with a cool plaque and it isn’t announced in front of 45,000 adoring fans, but Henry- Jennings absolutely deserves to be recognized for his incredible play in the State Championship Game and all season long. Henry- Jennings is the second Golden Bear to earn my Offensive Player of the Week award this season, joining Qualon Farrar.

Defensive Player of the Week

My Defensive Player of the Week is South Oak Cliff defensive back Abdul Muhammad! Liberty Hill only attempted two passes in its loss to South Oak Cliff in the 5A DII State Championship Game, but Muhammad still managed to have the only pass break-up of the game for South Oak Cliff! Muhammad also led the Golden Bears in tackles with 10 to help shut down a potent Slot-T offense. That effort earned Muhammad Defensive MVP honors for the game! Once again, I can’t provide a plaque or recognition on the biggest stage in high school football, but I hope I can provide a little bit of clout on social media at the very least! Muhammad is the second player in the South Oak Cliff secondary to earn my Defensive Player of the Week this season, joining Kyron Chambers.

Cover Photo courtesy of the Dallas Morning News and Staff Photographer Elias Valverde II