High School: District 5-5A

Duncanville enters playoffs on 21-game streak

February, 9, 2012
2/09/12
12:05
AM CT
Duncanville completed its second straight undefeated District 5-5A girls basketball campaign with a convincing 63-41 home court victory over Mansfield Timberview on Tuesday night.

The district title was the 69th for the storied program.

The Pantherettes extended their win streak to 21 games and stretched their string of victories in district play to 32 dating back to the 2009-2010 season.

Duncanville (33-1) is No. 2 in ESPNDallas.com's Class 5A Top 10 and No. 22 nationally in the POWERADE FAB 50 Girls' Basketball Rankings.

Senior guard Empress Davenport, a Texas signee, and sophomore guard Tasia Foman each scored 16 points to lead the Pantherettes against Timberview, which finished third in 5-5A. Duncanville didn't pull away until the second half.

Plano West handed Duncanville its only defeat, 58-50, in the finals of the Collin County Roundball Classic on Dec. 3. That defeat was avenged when Duncanville defeated Plano West, 55-38, in the finals of the Sandra Meadows Classic on Dec. 29 at Duncanville.

Duncanville faces off against Hurst L.D. Bell (26-9), the fourth seed from District 6-5A, in a Region I bi-district playoff slated for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Grand Prairie High’s Amos Turner Gymnasium.

No. 3 ranked Plano West and Irving MacArthur, the top-ranked Class 5A team, are in the opposite end of the Region I bracket and could meet Duncanville only in a regional final.

"We accomplished one of our goals of going unbeaten in district,'' said Duncanville coach Cathy Self-Morgan. "Now our goal is to win the next seven. It won't be easy. We are in a very tough region. But I like the way we are playing.''

Cedar Hill girls need a win to stay in 5-5A race

January, 18, 2012
1/18/12
11:18
PM CT
The top two teams in the District 5-5A girls basketball standings collide at 6 p.m. Friday when Duncanville (27-1, 8-0 in 5-5A) hosts neighbor Cedar Hill (22-5, 7-1) at Sandra Meadows Arena.

With a win, Cedar Hill could move into a tie for first in 5-5A win five games remaining in the regular season. A loss to Duncanville would drop the Lady Longhorns two games off the lead.

Cedar Hill’s only district blemish came courtesy of Duncanville, 53-30, at Cedar Hill on Dec. 16. Jada Terry, a 6-foot-3 post, led Cedar Hill in scoring in that game with 10 points. Junior Kiara Perry had 14 points to lead Duncanville.

Terry is one three Cedar Hill juniors with double-figure scoring averages in district games. The others are Candace Adams, a 5-foot-7 guard, and LaBrittney Jones, a 5-foot-11 forward. All three were varsity contributors as freshmen when Cedar Hill went to the state Final Four.

Terry and Adams, Nos. 28 and 48 respectively on the ESPN HoopGurlz 2013 national recruiting list, have made verbal commitments to Texas.

Cedar Hill has been on the losing end of seven of the last eight district meetings with Duncanville, with the lone win coming at Duncanville (63-60) in the 2009-10 season.

Duncanville is ranked No. 2 in the ESPNDallas.com Class 5A Top 10. Cedar Hill is No. 7.

SGP tops Cedar Hill in 5-5A showdown for first

January, 17, 2012
1/17/12
11:20
PM CT
CEDAR HILL, Texas -- South Grand Prairie’s effort on the defensive end was never a problem in Tuesday’s first-place showdown in the District 5-5A boys basketball race.

But to get straightened out on the scoring end, it took some halftime reminders from coach Brandon Bennett.

“We settled for a lot of outside shots in the first half,’’ Bennett said. “We made the point at halftime to get the ball inside more and take advantage of one of our strengths. Once we got that going, other things opened up.’’

Guard Jovan Austin scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half and fellow senior Chris Washburn contributed eight of his 12 rebounds to lead South Grand Prairie to a decisive 54-34 victory over Cedar Hill at David Milson Court.

South Grand Prairie (23-2), No. 2 in ESPNDallas.com's Class 5A rankings, moved into sole possession of the 5-5A lead with a 6-0 record.

Cedar Hill (17-8), ranked No. 8, fell to second place in the district standings at 5-1.

“We were more aggressive on offense in the second half,’’ said Austin, who leads the team with an 11.7 scoring average. “In the first half, we settled for too many jumpers. We started getting more baskets off turnovers. The best thing about this win was the way we came back in the second half.’’

The teams went to intermission tied, 17-17. Despite forcing 14 Cedar Hill turnovers in the first half, South Grand Prairie was 6-for-18 on field goal attempts and 4-of-9 from the foul line with 10 turnovers of its own.

Leading Cedar Hill scorer Jalen Jones (13 points) hit a 3-pointer in the first 30 seconds of the second half for the last Longhorn lead, 20-17.

Then it was South Grand Prairie’s turn. The Warriors went on a 12-0 run over the next three minutes to take command. Austin started it with a 3-pointer from the corner and ended it with a layup off a steal. In between, Jayrn Johnson converted two free throws, the 6-8 Washburn got loose for a dunk and Tyler Jacobs contributed a three-point play.

Cedar Hill was outscored, 21-8 in the third period and never recovered.

“You can’t let a team like South Grand Prairie have a run like that,’’ said Cedar Hill coach Tim Thomas. “The thing about a game like this, you learn what your weaknesses are. And tonight, it was turnovers. That’s an area we need to improve.’’

The Warriors forced 21 turnovers with a variety of defenses.

“For us, defense is offense,’’ Bennett said. “Jovan runs the show for us on offense, but he is a great defensive player, too.’’

Girls: Cedar Hill 64, South Grand Prairie 35: The Lady Longhorns (22-5, 7-1) with the victory set up a 6 p.m. Friday showdown at 5-5A leader Duncanville (27-1, 8-0). Jada Terry scored 14 points to lead Cedar Hill. Ba’Ara Houston led all scorers with 15 points for South Grand Prairie (11-14, 2-6).

Offensive POYs: Timberview QB, Corsicana RB

January, 3, 2012
1/03/12
12:01
AM CT
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

Class 5A: QB Chuck Taylor, Mansfield Timberview

The 5-9, 185-pound senior was the inspirational leader of a 12-3 Timberview team that became the first in Mansfield ISD to reach a state football semifinal.

Taylor, in his third varsity season, threw for 1,998 yards and 16 touchdowns, but it was his ball-carrying skills that set him apart. He rushed for 1,972 yards and 23 touchdowns and scored a team-leading 142 points.

2011 FOOTBALL AWARDS
Dec. 27: Coaches of the year
Dec. 28: Games of the year
Dec. 29: Newcomers of the year
Dec. 30: Best of the rest
Jan. 2: Defensive POYs
Jan. 3: Offensive POYs
Jan. 4: MVPs
The Wolves finished tied for third in the District 5-5A standings and had to deal with the mid-October loss of offensive coordinator Cody McCarty, who died from sudden heart complications. McCarty, 29, was Taylor’s position coach.

Taylor and his teammates kept the memory of their coach as a focal point in the their Class 5A Division II playoff run, taking down Colleyville Heritage, Flower Mound Marcus, Abilene and Abilene Cooper before losing to eventual state champion Spring Dekaney, 56-19, in a state semifinal.

In the 29-25 regional playoff win over Cooper in Abilene, Taylor ran 25 yards for the winning touchdown with 16 seconds remaining.

In November, the versatile Taylor signed a letter of intent to play baseball at UT-Arlington. He is an outfielder.

Class 4A: RB Cameron Washington, Corsicana

The 6-foot, 190-pound senior was a textbook example of an athlete raising his level of play when the postseason arrived.

In playoff wins over Manor, Sulphur Springs, Frisco Centennial and Kilgore, Washington carried 121 times for 1,085 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Corsicana (13-2) was eliminated from the playoffs in a state semifinal by eventual Class 4A Division II state champion Aledo.

Washington was a Tigers’ workhorse, carrying 352 times for 3,136 yards and 46 touchdowns. Along the way, Washington broke the school’s single-season rushing record. He averaged 8.9 yards per carry and scored 46 touchdowns, finishing the season with 286 points.

Washington crossed the 200-yard rushing barrier in 11 games with a high game of 320 yards in a 47-33 area-round playoff win over Sulphur Springs.

He scored at least one touchdown in all 15 of his team’s games and notched five touchdowns in a game twice, in the final regular-season game against Forney and in the bi-district win over Manor.

Washington was named to the Associated Press’ Class 4A all-state first team.

Cedar Hill-Duncanville could be offensive show

November, 2, 2011
11/02/11
7:21
PM CT
No. 9 CEDAR HILL (7-2, 6-0 5-5A) vs. DUNCANVILLE (6-3, 4-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Duncanville’s Panther Stadium

When we saw them last: With Jared Rayford leading the way with 191 yards, Cedar Hill rolled up 421 rushing yards and averaged 11 yards per rush in a 49-16 rout of 3-6 South Grand Prairie. Meanwhile, Duncanville quarterback Deandre Grimes threw for five touchdowns and ran for another in a wild 64-50 shootout win over 2-7 Mansfield Legacy.

2010 result: Since-graduated quarterback Driphus Jackson threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes, the last one with 32 seconds remaining, in a 35-31 Cedar Hill victory at Longhorn Stadium.

What’s at stake: Both teams have secured playoff berths, but bragging rights for the two rivals that share a South Dallas County boundary line can never be overlooked.

Key matchup: Duncanville’s defense, which struggled in the second half of the Legacy win, has to find a way to slow down Cedar Hill’s big-play run game. Since Damion Hobbs took over at quarterback when district play began, the Longhorns have averaged 44.5 points per game.

Players to watch: Laquvionte Gonzalez and Rayford are a dangerous tandem of runners for the Longhorns and Hobbs is a threat as well. Jaquan Cole has already gone over the 1,000-yard rushing mark for Duncanville and receiver Jeff Thomas is Grimes’ favorite with 45 catches for 693 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Prediction: Cedar Hill is playing the better defense of the two teams and a couple of stops can go a long way when so much offensive talent is on the field: Cedar Hill 38, Duncanville 28.
MANSFIELD, Texas -- After their win over Duncanville on Friday, Mansfield Timberview players raised their heads to the sky after sharing a prayer, with several pointing toward the heavens to celebrate a 39-28 come-from-behind victory at R.L. Anderson Stadium.

“We wanted to win this one for him. And that’s what we did,” quarterback Chuck Taylor said.

"Him" was Timberview offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Cody McCarty, who died Sunday at the age of 29, leaving the team and community in a state of shock.

[+] EnlargeMcCarty
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com Signs were posted at Mansfield's R.L. Anderson Stadium in memory of Timberview assistant coach Cody McCarty, who died Sunday.
The team and coaches scrambled to prepare for Friday’s key District 5-5A matchup with Duncanville, attempting to fill the big shoes McCarty played in the program while balancing a juggling act of emotions.

The duty of play calling was picked up by head coach Mark Walker, who had not held that responsibility in seven years and was, admittedly, fairly rusty.

Timberview (6-2, 3-2) came out on an emotional high, tying the score 7-7 early in the second quarter on a 27-yard run by Cameron Chambers.

However, Timberview’s adrenaline rush ended in the middle of the second quarter as Duncanville (5-3, 3-2) jumped to a 21-7 lead at halftime.

“I’m going to be honest. Filling Cody’s shoes is tough and I didn’t know if anyone really wanted to do it, so I stepped in and did that and I probably didn’t call a very good first half to be honest with you,” Walker said.

It took some soul searching in the Timberview locker room for the players and coaches to realize they were fighting for a greater cause than a share of third place in the district.

“We talked about Coach McCarty – how he wouldn’t want us to play like we were playing in the first half,” defensive back Edward Paris said. “After we heard that, it was instant. We needed to play hard, 100 percent.”

Timberview answered the call with a 34-yard scrambling touchdown run by Taylor on a broken pass play and a 29-yard field goal that narrowed the margin to 21-17.

The rallying cry rang true to Taylor, who was especially close to McCarty, his position coach.

“It means a lot to me because he was my coach and we were like that,” Taylor said crossing his fingers. “I just wish he was here to see it.”

Duncanville put a damper on Timberview’s roll with a 27-yard touchdown grab by Jeff Thomas to make it 28-17, but this time the Wolves didn’t lose their edge.

Timberview pulled within three points on the next drive, scoring on a 3-yard run by Josh Smith and a two-point conversion run by Taylor.

Momentum shifted completely on Duncanville’s next drive when a fumble gave Timberview the ball back at the Panthers' 32. The Wolves cashed in on the turnover with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Rickey Gross that put them on top, 32-28.

Smith added one more for good measure with five minutes to go in the game, running 29 yards to provide the final margin.

The field after the game was a giant huddle of smiles and tears as almost every one of the players gave McCarty’s wife and children hugs to celebrate the win.

“Nothing is going to replace the hurt of missing Coach McCarty, but we did it our way – the Timberview way,” Walker said. “It’s not just the right now. It will be weeks from now and months from now, but we’ll always be a family.”

Cedar Hill holds off Mansfield for lead in 5-5A

October, 22, 2011
10/22/11
12:21
AM CT
MANSFIELD -- Cedar Hill players heard nonstop danger warnings from their coaches leading up to Friday's District 5-5A showdown with Mansfield.

Credibility issues arose when Cedar Hill opened a three-touchdown lead in the first quarter at Vernon Newsom Stadium.

"We thought the coaches lied to us," said Cedar Hill running back Laquvionte Gonzalez, "but when Mansfield came back at us, we knew they were right."

Challenged in the second half by a Mansfield comeback, Cedar Hill turned it on again for a 42-34 win and sole possession of the 5-5A lead with two regular-season games remaining.

Gonzalez, a 5-11, 170-pound junior, totaled four touchdowns on the evening. He had two in the first quarter to build the lead and two more in the second half when Cedar Hill (6-2, 5-0) was fighting off the Tigers' rally. He finished with 11 carries for 130 yards.

For good measure, Gonzalez recovered an onside kick late in the game after Mansfield (7-1, 4-1) closed to within eight points.

"I was on my game tonight," Gonzalez said. "We really wanted to beat Mansfield. I had a couple of fumbles and got down for a minute, but my teammates told me to let it go and so did my coaches."

From the first play, a 63-yard touchdown by Gonzalez, it was obvious it was going to be his night. He took Damion Hobbs' short pass, ran a couple of steps and fumbled, but the ball bounced back in his arms and he never broke stride.

After Mansfield closed to 21-20 early in the second half, Gonzalez capped a 64-yard Longhorns drive with a 14-yard run on the jet sweep for his third score.

In the fourth quarter, with Longhorns leading 35-26, Gonzalez raced 44 yards for what turned out to be the winning points.

"I've coached 50 or 60 Division I athletes including William Cole, who was amazing, and I have to say Laquvionte Gonzalez is as good in the open field as any player I've coached," Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire said. "He can be going full speed in one direction, plant his foot and be going full speed in the other direction before you know it. He's special."

McGuire said his team appeared to lose focus, a trait a young team must guard against, but he approved of the way it reacted to the Tigers' comeback.

Senior quarterback Jerod Evans threw two touchdown passes and caught another to fuel the Tigers' comeback. Evans completed 17 of 28 passes for 169 yards.

Junior Kenneth Burks ran for one Mansfield touchdown and scored on a nifty 22-yard screen pass and a conversion run that helped close a 16-point gap to eight in the final two minutes.

On the verge of being blown out on homecoming, Mansfield, No. 8 in the ESPNDallas.com Class 5A rankings, began its rally in the final six minutes of the first half.

Jerod Evans capped a 54-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to his younger brother Lance Evans to cut the lead of No. 10 Cedar Hill to 21-7 with 2:37 to go in the half.

The Tigers got the ball back at midfield a minute later when a blindside hit by Moufadhil Adebo on Cedar Hill quarterback Damion Hobbs knocked the ball free and linebacker Chad Whitener recovered. Despite the turnover, Hobbs played well, completing 7 of 8 passes for 150 yards.
DUNCANVILLE (5-2, 3-1 5-5A) at MANSFIELD TIMBERVIEW (5-2, 2-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Mansfield’s R.L. Anderson Stadium


When we saw them last: Duncanville edged South Grand Prairie, 20-16, on two fourth quarter field goals by Hector Sifuentes. Timberview took care of Grand Prairie, 45-13.

2010 result: Duncanville handled Timberview, 47-22, in a game riddled with turnovers. Timberview lost two fumbles and threw an interception, but it still couldn't pull off the win despite five turnovers by Duncanville.

What’s at stake: Timberview is teetering on the edge of the playoff line, tied for fourth with Mansfield Legacy. A win would put them in the mix to not only make the playoffs, but move into third place past Duncanville.

However, much more than football will be on the minds of all in attendance Friday as Timberview still morns the loss of offensive coordinator Cody McCarty, who died Sunday at 29 from unknown causes. Everyone on the Timberview side of the stadium will be full of emotion, playing and cheering for much more than a district win or future playoff positioning.

Key matchup: Quarterback performance. Both teams boast skilled dual-threat quarterbacks that will make or break the team’s offensive performance. Timberview QB Charles Taylor has rushed for 11 touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards this season and is on the verge of surpassing the 1,000-yard passing mark. Grimes is slightly more proficient through the air, throwing for more than 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns. Look for the team with the better quarterback Friday to win this game.

Players to watch: Duncanville’s ground attack is spearheaded by Jaquan Cole, who can pass the 1,000-yard mark with a decent game Friday. Grimes also favors wide receiver Jeff Thomas, who leads the team with six receiving touchdowns. Timberview has many threats on offense and has plenty of tricks up its sleeve to catch defenses off guard.

Prediction: Timberview wins this one for the McCarty family, 31-28.

Cedar Hill-Mansfield winner clinches playoff spot

October, 19, 2011
10/19/11
11:31
PM CT
No. 10 CEDAR HILL (5-2, 4-0 5-5A) vs. No. 8 MANSFIELD (7-0, 4-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Mansfield’s Vernon Newsom Stadium


[+] EnlargeKenneth Burks
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comMansfield running back Kenneth Burks is averaging 176 rushing yards per game so far in district play.
When we saw them last: Jared Rayford rushed for 161 yards and three touchdowns in Cedar Hill's 63-13 mashing of Midlothian. Quarterback Jerod Evans added to Mansfield’s storybook season by throwing for 169 yards and rushing for 108 in a 45-14 rout of Mansfield Legacy.

2010 result: Cedar Hill only ran 33 plays but scored touchdowns on six in a 49-7 trouncing of Mansfield at Longhorns Stadium.

What’s at stake: The winner clinches a playoff berth and sole possession of the District 5-5A lead.

Key matchup: The Longhorns’ defense, allowing opponents an average of 138 yard per game, will be tested by Mansfield running back Kenneth Burks. The 5-foot-8, 175-pound junior is averaging 23 carries and 176 rushing yards per game in district play. Cedar Hill has scored 63 points in each of its last two games. Mansfield has played the tougher district schedule to this point.

Players to watch: Since he started taking the majority of snaps, Cedar Hill quarterback Damion Hobbs has completed 28 of 36 passes for 525 yards and four touchdowns. Jared Rayford has taken over the team rushing lead and Laquvionte Gonzalez is the most productive Longhorns receiver. Mansfield relies heavily on two-way quarterback threat Evans, who has had a hand in 17 touchdowns. Evans' brother, Lance Evans, is Mansfield's top receiver with 17 catches for 280 yards. Texas commit Hassan Ridgeway is a top Tigers defender at end.

Prediction: Mansfield 27, Cedar Hill 24.

Mansfield a lofty 6-0 after beating Duncanville

October, 7, 2011
10/07/11
11:20
PM CT
MANSFIELD, Texas -- For the first time in 41 years, the Mansfield Tigers have started a football season with six straight wins.

With the churning legs of junior tailback Kenneth Burks constantly sending Mansfield in the right direction, the Tigers defeated Duncanville, 27-20, Friday night at Mansfield’s R.L. Anderson Stadium.

Mansfield (6-0, 3-0), No. 9 in ESPNDallas.com Class 5A Top 10, shares the District 5-5A lead with Cedar Hill. Duncanville (4-2, 2-1) saw its four-game winning streak come to an end.

Burks scored a pair of touchdowns and a crucial two-point conversion for a Mansfield team that never trailed but had a hard time shaking Duncanville.

“We remembered the game last year when Duncanville beat us at the end and we didn’t want that to happen again,’’ said Burks, who rushed for 194 yards on 28 carries. “The offensive line did a great job opening holes for me tonight.’’

Burks’ signature play for the game was his leap over a defender to score a two-point conversion for a 27-13 lead with 8:11 to go in the game.

“I just flipped over the guy,’’ Burks said. “I didn’t get into the end zone until I landed.’’

Mansfield coach Jeff Hulme said the 5-8, 175-pound Burks “works hard and is hard to bring down.’’

Hulme informed the Tigers on Monday they had a chance to be the first Mansfield team since 1970 to go 6-0. But it wasn’t easy. The teams were deadlocked at halftime, 13-13.

“It was a heavyweight fight like we expected, but we’ve been a good second half team all season and we were again tonight,’’ Hulme said.

Mansfield took the lead for good with a 79-yard drive in the third quarter, capped by a 5-yard run by fullback Bryan Shanklin.

A holding penalty stopped Duncanville’s next possession. Panthers coach Jeff Dicus chose to punt from the Mansfield 42 on fourth-and-19 late in the third quarter.

Mansfield crossed up the strategy by going 85 yards in 12 plays, with Burks supplying the finishing touch, a 6-yard touchdown run.

The Panthers made it interesting with a 65-yard touchdown pass from Deandre Grimes to Jeff Thomas midway in the fourth period to close to within a touchdown.

Duncanville’s final possession ended on downs at midfield with three minutes remaining. Mansfield ran out the clock.

Tigers quarterback Jerod Evans accounted for both of Mansfield’s first-half touchdowns, racing 15 yards on a keeper for a 7-0 lead and putting the Tigers up, 13-6, on a fourth-down screen on 18 yards to Burks.

Duncanville drove 88 yards to answer the Tigers’ opening score. Jaquan Cole sprinted 46 yards for the touchdown and the extra point was blocked.

The Panthers went 69 yards in the second period, scoring on a 1-yard run by Aaron Piper with under four minutes to go before half.

Burks was the final Mansfield player to leave the field. He stood on a bench talked to members of his family on the bleacher railing.

"Got to talk to the family. A great night!'' he said.

Duncanville, Mansfield meet in 5-5A showdown

October, 5, 2011
10/05/11
5:39
PM CT
DUNCANVILLE (4-1, 2-0 5-5A) vs. No. 9 MANSFIELD (5-0, 2-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday at Mansfield’s R.L. Anderson Stadium


When we saw them last: Duncanville rallied from a 31-17 deficit by scoring 21 points in the final 13 minutes to defeat Midlothian, 38-31. Mansfield opened a 41-7 lead after three quarters and breezed to a 41-28 road victory over South Grand Prairie.

2010 result: In a wide-open offensive show, Duncanville amassed 491 yards and defeated Mansfield, 41-35, at Panther Stadium in Duncanville.

What’s at stake: The winner is assured of at least a share of first place in District 5-5A.

Key matchup: Both teams are run-oriented with productive backs in the Panthers’ Jaquan Cole (676 yards, 8 TD) and the Tigers’ Kenneth Burks (691, 8TD). The team that can force its will on the opponent through its running game should be the winner.

Players to watch: Quarterback Deandre Grimes and receiver Jeff Thomas of Duncanville have combined 27 times for 384 yards and five touchdowns. Mansfield quarterback Jerod Evans has thrown for 10 touchdowns and defensive end Hassan Ridgeway is a Texas commit.

Prediction: Four touchdowns may not be enough to win for a couple of offenses averaging over 425 yards a game: Mansfield 35, Duncanville 31.

Mansfield stings Timberview on last-second TD

September, 23, 2011
9/23/11
11:50
PM CT
MANSFIELD --- Jerod Evans had one thought when the stepped into the Mansfield huddle with 40 seconds on the clock and his team trailing by four points.

“I was praying that I would be the hero today,’’ the senior quarterback said. “I’ve never had a comeback win in my whole life.’’

He does now.

His 52-yard touchdown pass to his brother, junior Lance Evans, with one second remaining sent Mansfield over Mansfield Timberview, 29-27, Friday night at Vernon Newsom Stadium.

“I was running a skinny post,’’ Lance Evans said. “I didn’t think the ball was coming to me. But I got past the cornerback and I saw the ball. I caught it and just kept running.’’

It was the third and final lead change in the wild final four minutes.

Jerod Evans said the two hooked up on long passes like that a hundred times a day to win imaginary games. This time, though, it was for real.

“I’ve been in games that went to the wire plenty of times,’’ Mansfield coach Jeff Hulme said. "But I can’t remember one that was decided with one second left. Our kids never gave up.’’

With 3:45 left, Jerod Evans lifted Mansfield (4-0, 1-0 District 5-5A) to its first lead of the night, 23-21, on a 38-yard pass to Montreal Taylor. The scoring play came on third-and-18 and was a hint of things to come. The quarterback completed 9-of-17 for 153 yards and three touchdowns.

Timberview (3-1, 0-1) answered with a clutch 71-yard touchdown drive to retake the lead, 27-23, on a 10-yard run by Rickey Gross with 40 seconds left.

“We’re still inexperienced for how far we’ve come,’’ Timberview coach Mark Walker said. “Big games are still new for us. Mansfield’s been in a lot of them. We missed on too many opportunities against a good football team. You can’t ever let up.’’

Walker said his defense was in deep coverage on Mansfield’s winning score.

Timberview forged a 21-10 halftime lead, mixing the runs of 5-foot-5 Josh Smith with the darts of left-handed quarterback Chuck Taylor.

Mansfield began its comeback with a fourth-down stop of Smith at the Tigers 42.

Kenneth Burks, who led the Tigers with 132 rushing yards on 11 carries, bolted 58 yards on the first play after the change of possession to bring Mansfield within four points. 21-17.

A fumble recovery by Mansfield defensive end Hassan Ridgeway set up the Tigers’ go-ahead score.

“We’ve just got to let this one go,’’ said Timberview’s Walker.

Said Jerod Evans: “It was the brother-to-brother connection tonight.’’

District 5-5A football season preview

August, 16, 2011
8/16/11
12:01
AM CT
[+] EnlargeJared Johnson
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.com Quarterback Jared Johnson helps make South Grand Prairie a contender in District 7-5A.
DISTRICT 5-5A

  • Cedar Hill (8-4, 6-1), lost in DII area. Coach: Joey McGuire.
  • Duncanville (8-4, 6-1), lost in DI area. Coach: Jeff Dicus.
  • Grand Prairie (2-8, 0-7). Coach: Gary Bartel.
  • Mansfield (8-3, 5-2), lost in DII bi-district. Coach: Jeff Hulme.
  • Mansfield Legacy (1-9, 1-6). Coach: Chris Melson.
  • Mansfield Timberview (3-7, 3-4). Coach: Mark Walker.
  • Midlothian (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Lee Wiginton.
  • South Grand Prairie (6-5, 4-3), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Brent Whitson.
THE BIG QUESTION: Will the district title again be decided in the Week 10 Cedar Hill-Duncanville game?

Last season, Cedar Hill staged a fourth-quarter rally to edge Duncanville, 35-31, and both teams finished with 6-1 district records.

Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire’s plan is to use two quarterbacks, last year’s varsity backup Andre Anderson and Damion Hobbs off the junior varsity.

Duncanville must rebuild its defense after graduating all but two starters. Junior Cordray Love moves from cornerback to free safety and tackle Jamaal Fears lends experience up front.

The Longhorns and Panthers graduated significant skill players including their respective quarterbacks, giving hope for potential contenders South Grand Prairie and Mansfield.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

OG Aderius Epps, QB/WR Andre Anderson, DE David Harris, LB Steven Taylor, Cedar Hill; WR Jeff Thomas, WR/DB Malcolm McKenney, RB Aaron Piper, Duncanville; WR Devante Lacy, Grand Prairie; DE Hassan Ridgeway, QB Jerod Evans, WR Gary Davis, Mansfield; LB Montreal Jett, QB DeCarlos Humphrey, Mansfield Legacy; QB Charles Taylor, DE Rene Lawson, Mansfield Timberview; LB Slater Gravens, QB Bryce Murphy, Midlothian, QB Jared Johnson, DB Abraham Hall, South Grand Prairie.

DID YOU KNOW?

Brent Whitson, fresh from an overhaul of the program at Richardson High, is South Grand Prairie’s fifth head coach in the school’s 43-year history. ... In Lee Wiginton’s debut season as head coach at Midlothian last year, the Panthers’ win total of five was four more than they had in their final season in Class 4A the previous year. ... Mansfield defensive end Hassan Ridgeway, a Texas commit, is hard to miss at 6-5 and 240 pounds, but Tigers opponents will try to do just that. … Cedar Hill has won or shared district titles in five of its last six season. ... Duncanville running back Aaron Piper averaged nine yards every time he touched the ball as a sophomore last season.

PROJECTED PLAYOFF TEAMS

  1. Cedar Hill
  2. Duncanville
  3. South Grand Prairie
  4. Mansfield

Cedar Hill ends trying week as 5-5A champs

February, 12, 2011
2/12/11
1:00
AM CT
CEDAR HILL, Texas -- In a trying week that would test any team’s focus, the Cedar Hill Longhorns dealt with a wide spectrum of emotions.

The longest week ended with the satisfaction of winning a championship.

It was impossible to tell Cedar Hill was playing its fourth game in five days Friday, the way it hounded an explosive South Grand Prairie team from end to end in a 53-47 victory at the Cedar Hill Ninth Grade Gym.

The win set off a celebration of the Longhorns clinching the District 5-5A title.

The week started under much different circumstances.

Cedar Hill players learned of the death of their former coach, David Milson. The funeral for the only high school head coach the players had known until this season was last Saturday.

On that same day, it was discovered that pipes had broken and flooded Longhorn Gym, rendering the Cedar Hill home floor unplayable for the remainder of the season.

Maybe it was a good thing that the weather the previous week forced Cedar Hill (19-2, 13-0 in District 5-5A) to play four games this week. The players didn’t really have time to dwell on all that had happened.

“We just had to be strong together,’’ said Cedar Hill guard Billy Johnson.

The plan against South Grand Prairie (22-8, 9-4) was to keep the ball out of the hands of senior guard Trey Norris. The University of North Texas signee scored 24 in a 60-57 home loss to Cedar Hill last month.

“We always want to keep the ball out of the hands of the other team’s best player,’’ Cedar Hill coach Tim Thomas said. “He hit some shots on us in that first quarter and I wasn’t sure if we could hold him down, but our defense did a better job in the second half.

“When we hold a team to less than 50 points, I feel like we’ll win 99 percent of the time.’’

Norris led South Grand Prairie with 16 points, but he was held to eight in the final three quarters. He attempted only eight shots all evening.

Johnson was assigned to guard Norris, an AAU teammate. Often, he was joined by another Longhorn in a double-team, forcing Norris to pick up his dribble. South Grand Prairie turned the ball over 24 times.

“He’s very quick,’’ Johnson said of Norris. “I tried to back up and give him a little room. To play good defense, you have to think smart and listen to your coach.’’

Said South Grand Prairie coach Brandon Bennett: “Cedar Hill defended us well. They doubled Trey and took him out of the game and we couldn’t counter. But this is our fourth game in five days. We’ve had only one practice in two weeks.’’

Cedar Hill's Thomas Gipson, a 6-foot-7 Kansas State signee, led all scorers with 19 points.

Cedar Hill, No. 3 in ESPNDallas.com Class 5A rankings, will try to wrap up an unbeaten district season at Duncanville on Tuesday.

South Grand Prairie, ranked No. 6 and a dangerous team in the playoffs, hosts rival Grand Prairie on Tuesday.

No. 5 Cedar Hill solidifies hold on 5-5A lead

January, 22, 2011
1/22/11
12:11
AM CT
CEDAR HILL, Texas -- Less than two minutes into a game against its biggest rival, first-year Cedar Hill basketball coach Tim Thomas faced a difficult decision:

Allow Thomas Gipson, Cedar Hill’s best player, to stay on the floor against Duncanville after two quick fouls, or go by the book and bring him to the bench.

Gipson, a Kansas State signee, stayed on the floor. It proved to be a good move.

Cedar Hill, No. 5 in ESPNDallas.com Class 5A Top 10, led for all but 50 seconds and delighted a packed Longhorn Gym with a 54-44 victory Friday night.

“Thomas is a smart player with a lot of experience,’’ the coach explained afterward. “He just needed to play smart. Several times this year he’s played with three and four fouls.’’

Cedar Hill (23-2, 7-0 in District 5-5A) retained a one-game lead on South Grand Prairie and opened a two-game advantage on No. 7 Duncanville (18-6, 5-2) at the halfway mark in league play.

Gipson finished with eight points, six rebounds and four fouls. His 235-pound presence inside helped Cedar Hill outrebound the Panthers, 29-19.

“I love the atmosphere we had tonight,’’ Gipson said. “I really wanted to win this one because of what happened last year.’’

In last year’s home game against Duncanville, Gipson was fouled as he sank the tying basket at the buzzer and had a chance to win the game with a free throw. But he missed, and Duncanville eventually won in overtime.

“I thought about it,’’ Gipson said.

The rivals played at a frantic tempo and combined for almost as many turnovers (37) as field goals (38.)

“Sometimes it works that way,’’ Thomas coach. “Everybody expects a high-scoring game and it turns into a defensive battle. The difference was we got some easy baskets off our defensive plays.’’

Luke Mergerson, Duncanville’s 6-foot-8 post, kept his team within six points at halftime with a big second period of eight points and five rebounds. He finished with 12 points and a game-high nine boards.

“It seemed like we settled for jump shots in the second half," Mergerson said. "But it happens that way sometimes. Cedar Hill’s defense was pretty good. They rotated three guys on me. Thomas Gipson, I've been playing against him since the seventh grade.’’

Working in Duncanville's favor in the second half of district play are home games against South Grand Prairie and Cedar Hill.

Girls: Duncanville 49, Cedar Hill 47

The Pantherettes, No. 4 in ESPNDallas.com Class 5A Top 10, squandered a lead but managed to hold off unranked Lady Horns in the opening game Friday.

Guard Empress Davenport scored 21 points to lead Duncanville (23-6, 9-0 District 5-5A).

Cedar Hill (17-10, 6-3) trailed by 11 starting the fourth quarter. A three-point play by leading scorer Alecia Smith (12 points) with 1:39 remaining brought the Longhorns within one.

Kileah Mays, a 6-foot-2 senior, came up with big block to preserve Duncanville's lead in the final minute.

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