It took a long time — more than 40 years — for two schools from the Fort Worth school district to meet in the playoffs.
On Friday, Nakia Cox and Dunbar’s defense turned in a performance people will be talking about for a while.
The quarterback ran for 228 yards and three touchdowns on runs of 79, 23 and 67 yards, while the defense borrowed a moniker from the school’s storied basketball program, flying from sideline to sideline in Dunbar’s 25-19 victory over Wyatt a Class 5A Division II bi-district game at Clark Stadium.
The Wildcats held the Chaparrals to 189 yards and collected four turnovers in advancing to the second round next week.
Dunbar (5-6) will meet Saginaw Boswell in the area round at a site and time to be determined. The game marks a rematch from Week 2 of the season. The Pioneers got the best of the Wildcats in that game, winning 39-7.
Cox didn’t play quarterback in that game. He missed most of the first half the season with an ankle injury.
The game represented the first postseason matchup between Fort Worth schools since 1975 — when Eastern Hills defeated Southwest 14-3 — and the teams made a good crowd of observers wait a tad longer, each taking timeouts to start their opening possessions.
While Wyatt (5-6) punted on its first drive, Cox got going on Dunbar’s. The senior, showing no ill effects from his injury, bolting 79 yards on the second play to put the Wildcats up early. Up 12-7, Cox ran 23 yards on third down late in the first half to give Dunbar a 19-7 cushion.
Willie Evans had a 2-yard run in the second quarter.
Dunbar, with Cox in the secondary, stymied Wyatt’s offense. The Chaparrals had 46 yards on the game’s opening drive, but only 41 the rest of the half. Dunbar finished with 318 total yards. Bryan Wilson and Leon’te Cooper each had interceptions for the Wildcats.
“They played well, some minor mistakes in the passing game that we need to fix this week,” Dunbar coach Todd Lawson said. “I know they can do it because they’ve showed it. We’re going to have to be better against Boswell.”
The victory was Fort Worth’s first in the playoffs since Arlington Heights in 2014.
Dunbar next tries to match Fort Worth’s deepest run in the playoffs since Wyatt went three rounds deep in 2000.