DeSoto battled back from a 14-point deficit to defeat Klein Collins 42-31 in the 6A Division II State Semifinal Saturday night at NRG Stadium in Houston. Four straight turnovers on Klein Collins’ final four drives of the game set into motion a collapse of epic proportions.
Two defensive touchdowns in the fourth quarter fueled a DeSoto comeback and propelled them to their first State Championship Final in school history. Head coach Todd Peterman subscribes to the lasting mantra about the importance of team defense.
“Defense wins championships” Peterman said. “That’s what happened tonight. We put our defense in bad situations all night. They responded by scoring touchdowns. The defense’s will to win showed itself.”
The DeSoto defense isn’t normally asked to score points for the Eagles. Powerhouse quarterback and TCU commit Shawn Robinson entered Saturday’s game averaging 218 yards passing, 80 yards rushing and three touchdowns per contest. The run-and-gun specialist was only able to strike for 133 yards passing against the Tigers, but his 114 yards on the ground kept drives alive for DeSoto. Robinson’s only score came on a 43-yard sprint in the third quarter. DeSoto running backs Richie Washington II and Kelan Walker also had rushing touchdowns for the Eagles.
The Klein Collins offense has been working through a transition over the past several weeks. According to the Houston Chronicle, Klein Collins’ leading passer Bryson Powers has not thrown the ball for the Tigers since injuring his elbow in Week 9 of the regular season. He was replaced by senior quarterback Brett Bridges. Although soreness paused Powers’ impact as a passer, it did not prevent him from taking meaningful snaps from behind center.
Powers scored two rushing touchdowns for the Tigers in the first half from the Wildcat Formation. His stand in as signal caller, Bridges, had one rushing and one passing touchdown in the first half. Powers and Bridges combined for four touchdowns in the first two quarters and gave Klein Collins a 28-14 lead heading into halftime.
After Thompson’s 43-yard touchdown run and a Klein Collins field goal, the score heading into the fourth quarter was 31-21. It was a spot that DeSoto was familiar with, since they trailed by ten in the fourth quarter against Abilene High in the third round of the playoffs. The Eagles would go on to win that game 49-45. Richie Washington’s second rushing touchdown polished off an 84-yard drive and brought DeSoto within three. Klein Collins got the ball back with the intent to secure a massive playoff victory, but a series of disastrous mistakes triggered the Tigers eventual demise.
A Klein Collins fumble on their first drive of the fourth quarter was scooped and scored by DeSoto linebacker Ashton Brooks. 23 seconds later, DeSoto safety Isaiah Stewart came through with a strip-six to put the Eagles up 42-31. Interceptions by DeSoto defensive backs Gemon Green and Byron Hanspard Jr. on Klein Collins’ final two drives sealed the Tigers’ fate. DeSoto head coach Todd Peterman, soaking wet from the ceremonial Gatorade bath, was concise and to the point in his post game interviews. He attributed his team’s resolve to their senior leadership.
“We got 67 seniors and they believe.”
After making the three-and-a-half-hour drive from DeSoto to NRG Stadium, the Eagles will head back to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to take on 14-1 Cibolo Steele in the 6A Division II State Championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
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