FRISCO — South Oak Cliff High School is heading to the 5A Division II State Championship Game for the third consecutive year after a 36-24 win over Frisco Emerson on Friday night at the Ford Center at the Star.
After playing to a 10-10 tie at halftime, South Oak Cliff took over with its running game, scoring on each of its first two plays of the half with long runs from Danny Green and opening up a double-digit lead as the defense buckled down to hold back the Emerson offense for much of the second half.
The South Oak Cliff defense had shut down the Emerson offense early in the game, intercepting quarterback Michael Hawkins and scoring a touchdown on the second play to take a 7-0 lead. However, the Mavericks got back on track, amassing 225 yards of offense in the first half, while their defense held South Oak Cliff to just 17 yards without a first down.
A 48-yard run by Emerson running back Kameron Lockhart set the Mavericks up deep in South Oak Cliff territory, and they finally got on the board with a 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
South Oak Cliff responded with a long kickoff return to the Emerson nine-yard line, but the defense held firm and forced a short field goal attempt.
With just over two minutes left in the first half, Emerson faced a fourth-and-goal from the four-yard line, looking to tie the game. Hawkins dropped back to pass but quickly found an open running lane to reach the corner of the end zone and tie it up.
Green took the first play of the second half for a 62-yard touchdown after rushing for -1 yards in the first half to put South Oak Cliff ahead 16-10 after a botched extra point. Emerson got the ball back after a muffed punt but immediately gave it back on a bad snap, and Green made it pay with a 70-yard score to go up by 12.
The Mavericks cut the lead to five late in the third quarter on a 12-yard run by running back Ishaqq Bills, but the defense never got the critical stop, and the offense was stymied for much of the fourth quarter. South Oak Cliff quarterback William Little added two touchdown passes, and Emerson added a late touchdown before time ran out.
Green finished with 162 yards, running for 163 in the second half, with two touchdowns.
Bills ran for 129 yards and a touchdown for Emerson (12-3, 4-2 District 3-5A Division II), while Hawkins added 195 total yards and two touchdowns (one running and one passing).
South Oak Cliff (13-2, 6-0 District 6-5A Divison II) will play Port Neches Grove High School (14-1, 7-0 District 9-5A Division II) at 11 a.m. for the 5A Division II state title next Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Emerson’s season is over after reaching the state semifinals for the first time.