DUNCANVILLE, Texas — A 7-0 deficit proved to be no problem for Duncanville High School as it rallied to down South Grand Prairie 28-14 inside Panther Stadium to remain unbeaten on the season.
The (7-0, 4-0) Panthers continued their unblemished march through the 2017 season while the (4-3, 3-1) Warriors lost their first 7-6A matchup and third game this season, falling to third behind undefeated DeSoto and Duncanville in the district standings.
Both quarterback Trazon Connley and running back Keilon Elder provided a potent ground attack that carved up the South Grand Prairie defense for 183 rushing yards by the end of the first half and gave Duncanville a healthy 28-7 lead at the halfway point. Duncanville’s 21 points in the second quarter — thanks to the aforementioned duo — would be all the firepower needed against South Grand Prairie’s defense.
Connley finished with 50 passing yards and 81 rushing yards and added two rushing touchdowns while Keilon Elder finished with 120 rushing yards and two scores to set up a match of unbeaten rivals for district supremacy between DeSoto and Duncanville next week.
“At the beginning of the year, this was our goal, to be able to play for a district championship…It feels great! This was our goal and we are just glad to be where we planned on being,” Duncanville Head Coach Reginald Samples said following his team’s victory. “What we are trying to do is get better so we can have an opportunity to win the game next week…if you ask me ‘yes,’ I think we are a better team than people give us credit for but when you labor on that, it takes away from something else that is important.”
While Duncanville was able to handle the immediate task of the night — remaining in the race for a district championship — the majority of the first quarter saw both defenses stifle one another. Neither game the slightest advantage to their opposition and both Duncanville and South Grand Prairie saw with their offensive speed put in neutral and seemingly in for an uphill battle.
South Grand Prairie’s Warriors, however, would be the first to switch gears as they regained possession following an inadvertent whistle call that reversed what was initially ruled as a lost fumble recovered by Duncanville.
With the call in their favor, South Grand Prairie’s offense revved their engines as wide receiver Elias Sanchez rushed for 32 yards on a double-reverse play that pushed South Grand Prairie into Duncanville territory. Following the run, quarterback Nakia Brown completed a 23-yard pass and rushed the ball twice for 18 yards, giving running back Jachin Like the opening for a 7-yard score that put SGP on the board first with 1:04 left in the first quarter.
Down 7-0 to a dangerous Warrior team on the hunt to remain undefeated in district, Duncanville sprung into action off the strength of its ground game.
Following the Warriors’ first score of the night, Connley immediately responded as he kept the ball on an option play that caught the defense off guard and left everyone in the rearview mirror on a 56-yard dash to the end zone that tied the game at 7 with 10 seconds left in the first.
That touchdown run sent Duncanville into a frenzy as Keilon Elder and Trazon Connley battled for leading rusher bragging rights with Connley once again using his legs to get the score with a scramble out the pocket for a 7-yard touchdown.
With the 14-7 lead and the challenge issued, Elder would follow suit with his first of two rushing touchdowns on the night with a 2-yard score on 7-play, 41-yard scoring drive that put Duncanville up 21-7. Elder’s second touchdown came from 7-yards out with 45 seconds before the half that put Duncanville at their final point mark of the night.
“It was just good reads! You know we play a zone read and they were crashing in on me hard and focusing on me so Trazon had to just pull it and stretch them out,” said Elder in regards to the run game efforts of Connley and himself.
Despite allowing 284 total yards and 227 rushing yards defensively, South Grand Prairie was able to noticeably slow down the Duncanville offense as Duncanville was unable to hit the 40-point mark for the first time this season.
“That defense is something else. [It’s] really good,” Elder continued. “They were beating me up out there but we stayed cool, fought through adversity and were able to get through it.”
South Grand Prairie did not allow another touchdown in the second half and was able to keep this game manageable but could not find their way into the end zone offensively until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Brown found Keodrick Young on a post route and a 51-yard touchdown reception with 5:47 left in the game — the final score on the night for South Grand Prairie’s Warriors. Duncanville milked the majority of the playing time left and helped seal the 28-14 victory to remain unbeaten on the season.
The victory also secured a first-round home playoff game.
“I think in the second half we started playing not to lose rather than playing to win and they have a good team,” Samples said in regards to the South Grand Prairie defense. “They are a playoff team year in and year out and when it came down to the end, they started fighting just like when they jumped up on us, we fought. But that’s what good teams do. When they get down, they don’t lay down. Coach [Brent Whitson] does a great job with them and they [tightened] up and stopped us.”
Brought To You By