Third time the charm for Reginald Samples, will the Panthers win the state title?


Reginald Samples was asked on Tuesday how often he relives the legendary Hail Mary who denied him his first state championship three years ago.

“Not at all,” said the Duncanville football coach. “We don’t forget it, but it’s a thing of the past. I have a lot of memories of coaching, and if I worked through all the bad memories I had, I wouldn’t be able to move forward.

That miraculous 45-yard touchdown pass from Dematrius Davis to AJ Carter in the back corner of the end zone in the last game of the 2018 Class 6A Division I State Championship game gave Galena Park North Shore a superb victory. 41-36 on Duncanville in front of 42,363 fans at the Cowboys AT&T Stadium. Duncanville was one game away from winning his first state title since 1998, only to see Carter grab the ball somehow while surrounded by three defenders, making it instantly perhaps the most memorable game in Texas high school football history.

Duncanville defensive lineman Quincy Wright was on the sidelines that day after being transferred from the freshmen to the varsity squad during the playoffs. Now a three-star rookie who signed with Oregon State on Wednesday, he still can’t believe Duncanville lost.

“I had no words for it. It was just shocking,” Wright said.

Duncanville somewhat recovered from that heartbreak to reach the state championship game the following year. North Shore was the opponent again, and this time, with Duncanville playing without injured All-America quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson, North Shore won 31-17 while shutting out the Panthers in the second half with one of the largest crowds in state history. (47 818) watching.

On Saturday at 3 p.m. at AT&T Stadium, we’ll get Duncanville vs. North Shore Part III. Once again, the state title of Class 6A Division I is on the line. Once again, Samples has a chance to win that elusive first state championship he nearly reached in Lincoln (a loss state final), Skyline (two losses in state semifinals) and Duncanville (two state final losses).

“It would mean a lot,” Samples said. “It would be the culmination of a lot of hard work.”

Could the state’s record of 54,347 for the Allen final against Pearland in 2013 be in jeopardy? You have powerful programs again from the Dallas and Houston areas going head-to-head, and this time the City of Dallas will be well represented in the previous game with South Oak Cliff playing in the 5A Division II title game against Liberty. Hill at 11 a.m. Saturday. .

The Duncanville v North Shore rematch almost took place last year, but both teams lost in the state semifinals. How much has Duncanville talked about those 2018 and 2019 title games this week?

“We didn’t do it,” Samples said. “The reason is that it does not affect anything. We have to stay focused on what we have to do on Saturday. Remembering doesn’t help.

So think of this as a clean slate for a 6A Division I state title game that will feature two of the state’s top 10 rookies – five-star North Shore cornerback Denver Harris and lineman. Duncanville Omari Abor’s four-star defense, both Under Armor All-Americans. Together, the two teams have eight of Texas’ top 100 rookies in the 2022 class.

North Shore coach Jon Kay did not respond to messages from The morning news from Dallas Seeking commentary on this game, therefore, it was left to Duncanville to answer any questions about the No.8 (Duncanville) and No.20 (North Shore) ranked teams in the country by MaxPreps.

Keep in mind this is a Duncanville side that were embarrassed 45-3 by the nation’s number one team Mater Dei (Calif.) In the season opener. Duncanville was edged 406-191, including 269-49 in the air.

But Duncanville senior quarterback Solomon James, a transfer from Corsicana, hit a milestone the following week, scoring 13 for 18 for 166 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-27 win over South Oak Cliff. It started a 13-game winning streak, which continued last week when James was a perfect 12-for-12 for 164 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-9 win over nationally-ranked Southlake Carroll the runner-up. State 2020.

“We have improved in the passing game. Now we can throw it instead of just throwing the ball every play, ”said James. “We worked as a team. We stayed after [practice] a lot to forge paths with each other and to work on chemistry.

Much of the focus on Saturday will be Duncanville star, running back Malachi Medlock (signed at Toledo), an offensive line anchored by Jaylen Early (signed with Florida State) and Cameron Williams (signed with Texas) and a defense that has allowed nine points per game in the playoffs. On the North Shore side, quarterback Kaleb Bailey could be the state’s top freshman, and he netted four touchdowns and 325 total yards of attack in last week’s 49-21 win over six-time state champion Austin Lake Travis.

But James could be the unsung hero, especially if he replicates the preparation he put on the day before Carroll’s game.

“My dad and I stayed awake for hours watching a movie,” James said. “We just knew what they were going to do and when they were going to be there.”

Duncanville is well aware of what a win in what has become one of the state’s main playoff rivalries would mean.

“It would mean a lot to the city. They have wanted it since 1998, ”said James. “That’s why we worked all summer and all year.

“[Samples] deserves to get a state championship ring. He is a legendary trainer in this region and in the state of Texas.

Wright added: “[The past] was very frustrating, but we’re back and we’re going to finish this time.

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