Stepp's Five thoughts from the regional championships

Photo by Gordon DeLoach

Duncanville dominance
In a battle of DFW powers who came into the regional finals with unbeaten records, it was the Duncanville Panthers who made a statement, not only to the Metroplex, but to the entire state in a 51-7 annihilation of Southlake Carroll inside the Ford Center. Duncanville handed the storied Southlake Carroll program its worst playoff loss in school history as the Panthers' defense dominated a Southlake offense that had been plowing over teams throughout the 2018 season. Duncanville forced five turnovers in the game, had six sacks and 13 total tackles behind the line of scrimmage, allowing DHS to jump out to a 27-7 halftime lead and cruise in the second half. By getting out to the huge lead, Duncanville took Southlake Carroll star RB T.J. McDaniel out ff the game. The SMU commit finished with 91 yards on 17 carries. Junior QB Ja’Quinden Jackson was the key factor on offense with 280 total yards and four touchdowns. Duncanville now gets its much-anticipated matchup with defending state champion Allen, who currently holds a 30-game win streak and is the standard bearer for 6A football in the state of Texas.

Fort Bend Marshall’s amazing win
In one of the most amazing games of the 2018 season, Fort Bend Marshall escaped a challenge from a stout underdog in Huntsville to remain undefeated with a 47-43 win Thursday night at Cy-Fair FCU Stadium. Huntsville appeared to be in trouble early as the Buffaloes raced out to a quick 20-0 lead, behind three touchdowns from Devon Achane. The Hornets showed plenty of resilience cutting the lead to 27-16 by the halftime break. Huntsville added the first 10 points of the third quarter and with less than five minutes remaining in the third, Marshall’s lead was cut to 27-26. Achane’s fourth touchdown of the night put Fort Bend Marshall back up 33-26, then a 17-yard scamper from junior QB Malik Hornsby put the Buffs back in control at 40-26. Huntsville showed how tough it is rattling off the next 17 points of the game to take a stunning 43-40 lead after QB Matthew Southern hooked up with Jaylon Griffin for a 64-yard touchdown with 2:31 left and put Huntsville ahead for the first time in the game. Marshall was able to move to the Huntsville 47, but were facing a 4th and 12 with 33 seconds left. Marshall called a reverse to Achane who appeared stopped for a loss when he stopped and lofted a desperate heave downfield which was hauled in by Dalevon Campbell who then broke two tackles to score the game winning touchdown in one of the most miraculous finishes you'll ever see at any level of football. Marshall had lost in its previous four trips to the regional semifinal round, but play in its first-ever state semifinal game next week.

A Silsbee surprise
Silsbee hadn’t beaten West Orange-Stark since 2009, but the Tigers picked a good time to do some great work in some rough weather knocking off West Orange-Stark, 19-9, to advance to the state semifinals for the first time since 1977. West Orange-Stark dominated Region III for the past four years advancing to the state title game in four straight seasons, but the Tigers were able to avenge a three-point regular season loss to the Mustangs behind a big play offense and some stout defense. In the driving rain storm, Silsbee hit WOS with an early haymaker as QB Raymond Foster hooked up with WR Darshon Turk for a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage to give Silsbee an early 7-0 lead. Dralyn Taylor scored on a 29-yard run later in the quarter to stake Silsbee to early 13-0 edge. Early in the second quarter, a Dillon Tarver fumble return for a touchdown gave SHS a 19-2 lead that would hold for the entire second half as the weather worsened throughout the game. Silsbee doesn’t have much time enjoy its win as the team takes on surging Cuero in the 4A Division II state semi-finals next Friday night in Katy.

Grandview’s guts
The Grandview Zebras were underdogs all throughout the playoffs, yet all they’ve done is win in impressive fashion through the first three rounds. Against East Chambers, Grandview had to literally scratch and claw for every inch after turning the ball over six times and dug itself in quite the hole early on. The Zebras rallied and sent the game to overtime tied at 28. But East Chambers scored on its first overtime series to take a 35-28 edge and it looked like the Zebras were in trouble. Elijah Golden scored to make it 35-34, Grandview head coach Brad Davis elected to go for the win right out of the gate in overtime instead of kicking the PAT and going to a second overtime series. The decision turned out to work to perfection as Michael Lehnhardt hauled in the game-winning reception from QB Dane Jentsch to send the Zebras to the final four for the first time in school history in a thrilling 36-35 win. Grandview advances next week to take on Yoakum next Friday for a chance to play for a state championship.

Mart Blitzes Muenster in battle of state champions
In a much-anticipated battle of defending state champions at the Ford Center Thursday night, it was Mart led by a backup quarterback seizing the upper hand from the start of the game and never looking back in a dominant 59-0 win over defending 2A Division II state champion Muenster. Sophomore Roddrell Freeman, who has spent most of this year and last year playing on the defensive line, stepped in for injured starter Kyler Martin and the defending 2A Division I champions didn’t miss a beat. On the game’s opening series, Freeman scored on a 31-yard run and 12 seconds later, after a Muenster fumble, Freeman found a wide open Demetrius Green for a 32-yard touchdown giving Mart a 14-0 lead and the rout was on. Mart’s defense was as physical as ever, sending Muenster QB Parker McGrew to the sidelines after just two plays, and the offense kept rolling up the points and yardage as by halftime the lead grew to 40-0. Muenster’s only real chance at points came in the second quarter, but DT Elijah Green blocked the field goal to help preserve the Mart shutout. Mart advances to the state semifinals next week where they will meet up with 14-0 Falls City, that game will be Thursday night in Georgetown.

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