The South Oak Cliff High School Football team ended the drought for the entire city of Dallas. South Oak Cliff defeated Liberty Hill 23-14 in the 5A-Division II state championship game to become the first Dallas ISD school to win a state title since 1958.
“I’ve only coached in Dallas. I’ve only went to school in Dallas. I’m from Dallas, born and bred. I’m proud to be in Dallas.” South Oak Cliff coach Jason Todd said in the postgame press conference.
“I’m proud to make sure we got over this hump, and we got a state championship in Dallas,” he continued.
The game was a low-scoring close affair, with both teams entering the fourth quarter tied at 14. That may have been unexpected as the teams entered with high-powered offenses capable of putting up electric numbers.
In their semifinal games, South Oak Cliff scored 44, while Liberty Hill scored 42, both in blowout wins, respectively.
South Oak Cliff looked likely to put a significant number on the scoreboard when they scored the game’s first 14 points by the second quarter. The 14 points came from two passing touchdowns from quarterback Kevin Henry-Jennings, who will be attending SMU.
In their semifinal win over Lubbock-Cooper and their quarterfinal win over Lucas-Lovejoy, South Oak Cliff also got off to a quick start and essentially ended each matchup by halftime.
Liberty Hill would not go down in the same fashion. They responded behind a potent run game to tie the game by halftime.
First, Andon Thomas ran in a 10-yard touchdown with 4:26 left in the second quarter to cut the lead in half. Then, with 11 seconds left in the half, Thomas again added another score on a 3-yard run to tie it up at 14. Liberty Hill did not complete a pass the entire game but racked up 276 rushing yards.
Those would be the last points Liberty Hill added to the scoreboard. South Oak Cliff allowed only 68 total yards in the second half to Liberty Hill. Both teams’ defenses battled in the third quarter to hold each other scoreless. South Oak Cliff scored nine unanswered in the fourth to seal the historic win.
The nine points came from a field goal with 8:25 left in the game to break the tie, then with 3:12 remaining, Qualon Farrar, who will be attending North Texas, clinched the victory with a 17-yard scoring run.
Liberty Hill fumbled on the following kickoff, and South Oak Cliff recovered for the game’s only turnover. Henry-Jennings then hit Kylin Mathis for a 23-yard gain down to the opponent’s three-yard line to ultimately end any hope of a miracle comeback for Liberty Hill.
South Oak Cliff kneeled on the next two plays to let time run out, and celebration ensued on the field and among the more than 40,000 fans in attendance, most of whom were rooting for South Oak Cliff.
“When you think of a state championship and going through some adversity,” Todd said, “for something to be at the end of the road like it was, this was a fitting end because it tested our character.”
Henry-Jennings was named the game’s offensive MVP. He passed for 144 yards and the two first-half passing touchdowns to Corinthean Coleman and Jamyri Cauley.
“It means a lot. We did it for Dallas,” Henry-Jennings said in the postgame press conference, “we had them behind our back the entire time, and we just kept pushing for them.”