DeSoto (14-0) vs. Humble Summer Creek (14-1), 7 p.m. Saturday at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium
DeSoto and Humble Summer Creek close out the 2023 Texas High School Football season and they’ll close out the 11-6A vs. 21-6A doubleheader for state titles.
Defending state champion DeSoto got a major test from Southlake Carroll and despite four turnovers, the Eagles were able to escape with a 45-38 win on the strength of 442 yards rushing and a key goal-line stand that turned away Carroll’s attempts at the upset.
RB Deondrae “Tiger” Riden ran wild for the Eagles with 254 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns, while QB D.J. Bailey threw for 189 yards and two scores and added 81 yards on the ground and a touchdown.
DeSoto’s offense was in rare form rolling up 627 yards of offense, but the negative is the Eagles defense got shredded as Carroll rolled up 531 yards on the afternoon.
Humble Summer Creek is in its first state title game in its young school history. The Bulldogs only blemish is a 31-21 loss to North Shore in district play. They've shown plenty of resiliency in the playoffs, including rallying from a 31-20 deficit in the fourth quarter in the regional finals.
There was no rallying necessary in the state semifinals as the Bulldogs showed how dominant they can be by blowing past a solid Cibolo Steele squad, 38-14. Tulsa RB commit Lloyd Avant ran for 193 yards and three touchdowns and added a 25 yard receiving touchdown. QB Blake Thomas added 145 rushing yards and a touchdown, while adding 82 passing yards and two scores.
Summer Creek’s defense, led by LSU commit LB Xavier Atkins, has an outstanding front seven and that unit will be key in slowing this tempo based DeSoto rushing attack.
The big edge DeSoto has over Summer Creek is on the outside with WR Daylon Singleton (SMU commit), WR Antonio Pride and freshman sensation Ethan “Boobie” Featser going against the SCHS secondary. That offensive balance is what will propel DeSoto to its third state title in school history and a DFW Class 6A sweep.
Stepp’s Pick: DeSoto by 11
PLAYERS TO WATCH
QB DJ Bailey - DeSoto’s state title-winning senior can make every throw in the book and is the program’s best quarterback since Shawn Robinson. People will talk about his lack of elite size but his 2,884 passing yards and 38 touchdowns speaks for itself – he’s one of the best in the state.
RB Marvin Duffey - When DeSoto needs another element to its offense, it relies on the ground game between Marvin Duffey and Tiger Riden. Riden was the go-to man last season, but Duffey has emerged in 2023 with 1,370 yards rushing and 21 touchdowns showcasing excellent vision behind DeSoto’s talented line.
LB Brandon Booker - One of the top linebackers in the state when it comes to pursuing the ball is DeSoto’s leading tackler. With over 100 total tackles, he’ll need to be sideline-to-sideline to shut down Summer Creek’s Lloyd Avant and Blake Thomas.
Humble Summer Creek
RB Lloyd Avant - Elite quickness with a deceptive burst, Lloyd Avant is the biggest offensive reason why Summer Creek is in this position. Avant’s ability to see the open lane and hit the hole aggressively makes him a potentially touchdown on any play. He has 1,847 rushing yards this season.
QB Blake Thomas - But if teams key in on Avant, Summer Creek’s junior quarterback is more than capable of winning a game himself. He has nearly 3,000 yards passing and is a deadly option in the run game with over 700 yards on the ground this season.
LB Xavier Atkins - The LSU commit will be all over the field and with DeSoto’s playmakers littering the roster, someone will have to have an otherworldly game on Summer Creek’s defense. Why can’t it be the senior with 88 tackles and 16 tackles for loss?
Desoto RB Deondrae “Tiger” Ridden vs. Humble Summer Creek RB Lloyd Avant - Look, they won’t be facing each other directly, but their teams go based on their performances. If either team’s going to win, it’s a good chance their RB outdueled the other. Riden missed a chunk of the year with an elbow injury but has returned to full strength in the playoffs, powering Desoto to a victory over Southlake Carroll with 254 yards and two TDs. Avant is a Tulsa commit who runs angry, with four total touchdowns in the state semis win over Cibolo Steele.
Desoto WR Core vs. Humble Summer Creek secondary - Desoto QB DJ Bailey is calm, cool and collected, tossing an incredible 40:2 TD-to-INT ratio this season. He’s got three outstanding wide receivers to chuck it in SMU commit Daylon Singleton, senior TJ Pride and freshman phenom Ethan “Boobie” Feaster. Summer Creek’s got an excellent front seven captained by LSU commit Xavier Atkins, but junior defensive back Brandon Jones and his crew will have their hands full trying to cover Desoto’s wide receivers.
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