DeSoto Wins 6A Division II Championship


#22 Deondrae Riden (Desoto) led the Eagles' offense with 187 rushing yards and three touchdowns, earning him Championship Game Offensive MVP. | Image by Texas UIL

ARLINGTON – DeSoto won its second state championship in program history, defeating Austin Vandegrift 42-17 in the 6A Division II title game on Saturday at AT&T Stadium.

DeSoto had 346 yards of offense in the first half, taking a 21-10 lead into the locker room. The lead might have been wider if not for two lost fumbles by DeSoto (14-2) inside the Vandegrift (14-2) 10-yard line—one in the first quarter and one in the second quarter.

DeSoto finished the game with 614 yards on offense, compared to Vandegrift’s 203.

With the offensive explosion, several DeSoto players had massive games.

Sophomore running back Deondrae Riden was the offensive MVP, finishing with 187 rushing yards and three touchdowns. DeSoto had 317 yards on the ground as a team. 

Texas commits Tre Wisner led DeSoto offensively with 214 yards of offense—135 receiving and 79 rushing to go with two touchdowns. 

Wisner’s 10-yard touchdown catch from DJ Bailey gave his team a 14-3 lead with 9:19 remaining in the second quarter. Wisner’s 62-yard scoring catch from Bailey with 10:37 remaining was the game’s final score. 

While head coach Claude Mathis was the architect behind DeSoto becoming one of the Dallas area’s premier football programs over the last decade, he was not on the sidelines for DeSoto’s lone state title win in 2016.

Mathis coached at DeSoto from 2008 to 2014 before he left to coach at SMU and Marshall High. DeSoto won its 2016 state title under coach Todd Peterman, and Mathis returned to DeSoto’s sidelines in 2019.

Now, Mathis finally gets his first state title ring as a head coach.

“It feels great, it really does,” Mathis said in the postgame press conference. “But it feels a lot better sharing it with these guys up here in the locker room. I’ve been knowing these guys for a long time, all these kids for a long time, grew up with them, man, and it’s just so special to see them up here smiling. They told me, they told me they were gonna win state for me, and they did.”

What to Know

It took a while for both teams to get on the board, with the first quarter ending scoreless. That was surprising, given that both teams were carried to the title game by explosive offenses.

DeSoto averaged 43.6 points per game, and Vandegrift averaged 38 points. 

Vandegrift opened the scoring with a field goal on the second quarter’s first play, which seemed to open the floodgates for both teams’ offenses.

DeSoto responded three offensive plays later when Bailey hit four-star Texas commit Johntay Cook with a 42-yard scoring catch and run to make it 7-3. 

DeSoto would not trail the remainder of the game. Bailey finished with 14 completions on 18 attempts for 297 yards and three touchdowns, and Cook finished with 103 yards on three receptions to go with the touchdown.

“When you have the playmakers on the field, you got to pick your poison,” Mathis said of his team’s offensive performance. “You can’t just double-team Johntay, take his whole game away, and think nobody else is going to do anything about that.”

Vandegrift briefly got within four points in the third quarter, making their deficit 21-17 on a 20-yard touchdown run by Alex Witt. Witt finished with 134 yards rushing on 20 carries.

But from that point, DeSoto scored the last 21 points of the game, as Vandegrift’s offense could not get anything going through the air.

Vandegrift had just seven completed passes for 84 yards as DeSoto was relentless in pressure, sacking quarterback Brayden Buchanan five times. 

Jason Douglas was named the game’s defensive MVP, finishing the game with seven tackles, four tackles for loss, and two sacks for DeSoto. 

Who Said

DeSoto becomes the first Dallas area team to win a 6A state championship since Cedar Hill in 2017.

Duncanville is playing for the 6A Division I title after DeSoto’s game. South Oak Cliff won the 5A Division II championship on Friday night. The three schools are all within a 12-mile radius in southern Dallas County. 

Coach Mathis was asked what this state championship meant for South Dallas. 

“It means a lot,” he said. “Me and [SOC head coach Jason] Todd have had some battles, but he reached out to me last night, and it meant the world to me. He told everybody this morning to come out and support South Dallas, so with them winning and us winning it means a lot for our communities, it really does.

“When you see Duncanville in the stands cheering for you, South Oak Cliff cheering DeSoto, this is the one time we all came together,” Mathis continued.” And it was time for us to come together. Hopefully, [Duncanville head coach Reginald] Sample pulls this thing off, but it means the world for South Dallas right now.”

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