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Duncanville, Waxahachie, DeSoto look to continue District 11-6A’s dominance of Region II

Duncanville and DeSoto are a combined 10-0 against out-of-area opponents in Region II since 2020.

Duncanville running back Caden Durham
Duncanville running back Caden Durham (29) gets past DeSoto defensive back DeMichael Porter (11) on a 10-yard touchdown run during the first half of a District 11-6A high school football game on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in Duncanville.(Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer)

By Greg Riddle

District 11-6A is one of three Dallas-area districts that will have three schools playing in this week’s regional semifinals. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Duncanville, DeSoto and Waxahachie all make a regional final.

Since Duncanville and DeSoto moved to Region II in 2020, they are a combined 10-0 against out-of-area opponents through the first four rounds of the playoffs. They have outscored the opposition by a combined 515-159 in that span, an average margin of victory of 35.6 points per game.

Waxahachie got in on the fun this year, beating Temple 30-21 in the opening round. That was significant, because Temple had ended Waxahachie’s season the last two years.

This week’s games have nationally ranked Duncanville (11-0) playing The Woodlands (10-2) and Waxahachie (10-2) facing Spring Westfield (11-1) in Division I and DeSoto (10-2) battling Tomball (8-4) in Division II. Tomball was a Division II state semifinalist last season before losing to Denton Guyer, while The Woodlands is a two-time state runner-up (2003, 2016).

The only team that has beaten DeSoto in the playoffs the last two years was Duncanville, both times in the 6A Division I Region II final. This year, both have a shot at winning a state title, as Duncanville remained in the Division I playoff bracket, while DeSoto moved to Division II for the first time since 2017.

Westfield finished the regular season ranked No. 7 in the state in 6A, but it has been no match for 11-6A teams the last two years. Duncanville destroyed Westfield 56-0 in the third round two years ago, then DeSoto beat Westfield 34-17 in the third round last season.

Westfield’s only loss this season was 55-25 to defending 6A Division I state champion Galena Park North Shore. Led by quarterback PJ Hatter (41 touchdown passes), Westfield is averaging 55 points, but it will face a Waxahachie defense that shut down a high-scoring Rockwall team until the final minutes in last week’s 31-25 win.

It will be interesting to see if Hatter stays away from Waxahachie four-star cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt, who is committed to Ohio State. Simpson-Hunt had an interception in last week’s win, and in the first half he helped held Clemson pledge Noble Johnson of Rockwall to one catch for 8 yards.

Hatter threw only nine passes in last week’s 41-38 win over Klein Collins, but he ran for 230 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries, and Westfield had 403 yards rushing as a team. Hatter has 10 touchdown runs for the season, second on the team behind 1,000-yard rusher Taji Atkins (15). Atkins ran for 172 yards last week.

The Woodlands is averaging 48.3 points for the season and 58.8 points during an eight-game winning streak. It hasn’t seen a defense like Duncanville possesses, led by five-star edge rusher Colin Simmons, and the Panthers are coming off a 41-0 win over Wylie in which they allowed 22 yards of total offense.

Tomball looks like a much different team than a year ago, finishing third in its district and allowing more than 30 points six times. A defense like that is a recipe for disaster against DeSoto, which averages 42.5 points behind big seasons from quarterback DJ Bailey (2,934 passing yards, 36 touchdowns) and five-star wide receiver Johntay Cook II (1,151 yards, 18 touchdowns), who is committed to Texas.

DeSoto has three running backs with 100 or more carries — Deondrae Riden (107), four-star Texas pledge Tre Wisner (100) and Jaden Trawick (100). Riden leads the team in rushing with 714 yards and 11 touchdowns, and he ran for 102 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 52-7 rout of Rockwall-Heath. Wisner had just one carry for 4 yards in that game.

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