After starting 0-3, South Oak Cliff (SOC) has won 12 straight to return to the 5A Division II state championship for the second consecutive year.
A Dallas Independent School District (DISD) team had never made back-to-back state championship appearances since Booker T. Washington did three years in a row from 1956-58 in the Prairie View Interscholastic League. A DISD team has never won back-to-back titles.
SOC (12-3) will defend its title against Port Neches-Groves (PN-G) (13-2), which beat Liberty Hill in the other semifinal earlier Friday night, 42-14, to prevent a rematch of last season’s championship game.
SOC will be playing for the entire city of Dallas.
“It’s an opportunity to finish something off and do something that nobody in the city has ever done before,” Todd said. “48 more minutes — the last 48.”
Like SOC, PN-G started the season slowly, with its record sitting at 2-2 after a week- our loss. Since then, the Indians have been on a dominant 11-game win streak and are one win away from its first state title since 1975 under first-year head coach Jeff Joseph.
PN-G has won three state championships, but this is its first state title game appearance since 1999.
Both teams are defensive juggernauts. The Golden Bears of SOC allow 14.4 points per game, while PN-G allows 19.3 points per game.
In their state semifinal matchups, SOC held an Argyle offense that averaged well over 400 yards a game to just two field goals and 188 yards of total offense on the night.
Meanwhile, PN-G shut down Liberty Hill’s vaunted Slot-T offense, allowing only two touchdowns.
Texas A&M commit Jayvon Thomas, Colorado pledge Taylor Starling, and SMU commit Abdul Muhammad also feature on the Golden Bear defense that will try to shut down a PN-G offense averaging 32.3 points per game in its four playoff wins.
However, the SOC offense has not been as reliable and had two turnovers in the second half against Argyle that nearly cost it the game.
The SOC offense has lacked a consistent pass game all season and has relied on a dominant rushing attack that averages 228 yards per game. But PN-G showed it could limit powerful run games last week against Liberty Hill, giving up just 255 total yards in the game.
PN-G’s rushing attack even out-performed Liberty Hill’s, totaling 296 yards on 47 attempts, led by 6-foot-4, 275-pound offensive lineman Jansen Ware, who has eight scholarship offers.
Still, PN-G has yet to see an offensive line all season as powerful as SOCs. Golden Bear lineman Brione Ramsey-Brooks is a 6-foot-4, 380-pound TCU commit who creates holes for the three-headed rushing attack of Thomas, Tedrick Williams, and Danny Green.
PN-G will need to shut down the SOC run game and not let its team get pushed around by the SOC offensive line if it hopes to produce an upset.
The 5A Division II championship game will kick off at 7:00 p.m. CST on Friday from what is expected to be a packed AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Both teams have claimed to be sending massive crowds for Friday’s game, which is not surprising given that SOC drew a crowd of 45,769 last year in its championship game win at AT&T Stadium.
The all-time state championship attendance record was set in 2013 when Allen and Pearland drew a crowd of 54,347.
SOC coach Todd believes there will be a new record after Friday night.
“Operation 60,000 is underway. The attendance record will fall Friday night,” coach Todd tweeted.