November 25, 2016
DeSoto 49, Abilene 45
Despite being one of the state’s most talented teams year in and year out, DeSoto had faced nothing but heartbreak in the playoffs.
The 13-0 Eagles were heavy favorites in this 6A-Division II regional semifinal matchup against another set of Eagles, a surging 12-1 Abilene High squad at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls.
Early on, Abilene showed it didn’t show up for a DeSoto coronation as Del Van Cox’s squad had a fantastic game plan and raced out to a 24-7 lead. Abram Smith scored on a four-yard run to give AHS a 7-0. Isaac Buenrrostro followed with a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown to give Abilene a 14-0 lead.
A Jammone Williams TD made it 14-7 but Abilene scored 10-straight to go up 24-7, with the capper being a 30-yard touchdown pass from Peyton Killam to Raekwon Millsap.
DeSoto answered in the second quarter on Kelan Walker's five-yard run to make it 24-14, but Abilene had the answer as Smith ripped off a 34-yard touchdown run to put Abilene back up 31-14.
But DeSoto seized momentum right before halftime when KD Nixon scored on an 11-yard run to make it 31-21. DeSoto got the ball to start the third and quickly closed the gap to 31-28 after QB Shawn Robinson hooked up with Nixon for a 69-yard touchdown pass.
Abilene pushed its lead back to 10 heading into the fourth when Killiam scored on a 10-yard run. DeSoto cut the lead back to three when Robinson and Laviska Shenault combined for a 42-yard touchdown pass to make it 38-35. Abilene and Killiam appeared to salt the game away later in the fourth when Killiam scored on a five yard run to extend the lead back to 45-35 with under five minutes left.
Robinson and Shenault gave DeSoto hope with a 55-yard touchdown pass making it 45-42 as Abilene’s defense showed signs of wearing down.
DeSoto, out of timeouts, tried and failed to get the onside kick with just over two minutes left.
With Smith nursing an ankle injury, Abilene stayed with QB Killiam on the ground and on second down he appeared to fumble and DeSoto’s Kolby Watts recovered; replays would later show Killiam was actually down, but the officials ruled it a fumble.
With all the momentum with the green and gold, DeSoto needed just three plays to take the lead for good when Robinson scored from 13-yards out.
DeSoto went on to win its first state title in school history, while a proud Abilene High program has not returned to the playoffs since this heartbreaking defeat.
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