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Monday, October 3, 2022
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Local High School’s Heartbreaking Loss in State Title Game, Again

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Duncanville quarterback Solomon James (3) sits on the field after throwing an interception during the State Championship Game. | Image by Elias Valverde II, The Dallas Morning News

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For the third time in four years, Galena Park-North Shore defeated Duncanville for the 6A Division-I State Championship, winning 17-10 on Saturday.

The two teams battled for the state title in 2018 and 2019, with North Shore winning both closely. In 2018, North Shore won 41-36 on an improbable last-second hail mary. In 2019, Duncanville played without 5-star quarterback Jaquinden Jackson due to an injury and lost 31-17.

This year’s loss was another heartbreaker for Duncanville, trying to win their first state title since 1998. Instead, North Shore adds the program’s fifth state title, all since 2003.

For Duncanville’s coach, Reginald Samples, it was an opportunity to fill a void in his career resume. Samples has won over 300 games in his legendary high school coaching career but has never won a state title despite being close multiple times.

“I’m kind of numb,” coach Samples said postgame. “You coach hard and coach to the last play, and I guess I’ll reflect, later on, tomorrow or whenever.”

Unlike the first two meetings, the defenses dominated this year’s matchup. Both teams were tied at 10 with 2:53 left in the game. That was when North Shore’s freshman quarterback, Kaleb Bailey, hit David Amador in stride for a 39-yard touchdown that wound up being the game-winning score.

North Shore only threw the ball 13 times all game but rushed the ball 40 times for 119 yards. The Bailey to Amador touchdown followed a Duncanville personal foul penalty on a North Shore punt return, giving North Shore excellent field position on their opponent’s 39-yard line.

Duncanville had time to try to match the touchdown, but their offense could not get going all game. They managed only 191 total yards, including only 75 passing yards. Duncanville averaged 264 rushing yards alone entering the game, but they were limited to only 116 yards on the ground Saturday.

North Shore’s defense took advantage of Duncanville having to pick up yardage quickly, as they intercepted quarterback Solomon James with under two minutes left in the game. The turnover began the celebration for the North Shore sideline and fans in attendance as it became apparent they had done enough to secure the title.

In contrast, the Duncanville side fell silent with sadness and disbelief about another agonizing defeat.

North Shore got on the board first with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Kaleb Bailey to Jhalyn Bailey with just under three minutes left in the first quarter. Duncanville responded immediately with an 87-yard drive punched in for a touchdown from one-yard out by Jordan Crook.

That would be the final score of the first half as the teams went into halftime tied at 7. That was a very unfamiliar position for Duncanville, who entered the game averaging 50 points per game. Duncanville had won their games in the playoffs by an average 37-point margin.

Both teams added field goals in the third quarter to enter the fourth tied at ten until the game-winning touchdown grab by Amador.

“It’s an honor, three of four years, we beat everyone else in the state, and it’s come down to us two teams. Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten over the hump against them,” coach Samples said.

He continued, “I really would like to have one of those wins, but we’ve beat a lot of very good teams…  I’m proud of the kids and the program.”

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