High School Football

Is championship destiny finally on DeSoto’s side this year?

In a day when you can find a Starbucks on just about every city block, it’s interesting that not one university in the country has set up a recruiting store front for football players at the junction of Interstate 20 where Cedar Hill, Duncanville, and DeSoto all meet.

That area produces Division I FBS football players like GM does cars.

All have state football titles at Texas’ highest competitive level, except one: DeSoto, which will again be vying for its first state-final appearance, this time in a Class 6A Division II state semifinals game against Klein Collins (13-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Houston’s NRG Stadium, home of the NFL’s Texans.

If destiny indeed smiles on any one DeSoto team, this would appear to finally be the Eagles’ year.

DeSoto (14-0) has 21 players who have been offered scholarships to play in college, including 17 at the FBS level.

Among those are three high school All-Americans: Offensive guard Edward Ingram (Under Armour game, Jan. 1), who has elected to play at LSU after weighing offers from coast to coast, including Alabama; center Xavier Newman (Under Armour), who’s going to Colorado, and TCU pledge Shawn Robinson, a quarterback. Robinson is playing in the Jan. 7 U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Yet, despite being ranked No. 2 in Texas and No. 4 in the country by USA Today, destiny is finicky and fussy about her needs. No one can possibly predict the timing of a funky, no rhyme-or-reason bounce that doesn’t go your way.

Things happen.

“I’ve been where DeSoto has been,” said Eddy Peach, who came oh so close, yet so far in 40 seasons at Arlington Lamar. “You’re disappointed when you don’t win, but understand there’s a lot of good football teams that get close and yet don’t quite win it.”

Peach’s Vikings went through a stretch of state and national rankings while losing just three games from 1989 to 1991, but all the losses were to eventual state champions. Odessa Permian denied Lamar in ’89 and ’91, while Houston Aldine beat Lamar for the 1990 Class 5A championship.

DeSoto has had a nemesis as well. The Eagles’ state aspirations were ended the past four years by Allen, including losses in the state semifinals in 2012 and 2013.

Allen won’t be an issue this year. Those Eagles are in 6A Division I. Allen (14-0) is seeking its fourth title in five years. Allen meets The Woodlands (14-0) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Austin.

“You just look around the Dallas-Fort Worth area … it’s just really, really difficult to get out of this area,” Peach said. “There are just so many good teams and programs.”

Among the eight-10 players the program sends to FBS schools annually, DeSoto also boasts NFL names such as Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, Cyrus Gray, Patrick Crayton, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Byron Hanspard, Marcus Tubbs, Tatum Bell, Ellis Hobbs and Zach Orr, among others.

But even with all that history, and 21 consecutive playoff appearances, this version of Eagles football can do what none has done before it.

“They are impressive,” said Peach. “They’re typical DeSoto. They really have good people and they’re impressive to watch.”

Reach John Henry at jfhenry1970@gmail.com.

Twitter: @John_F_Henry

DeSoto (14-0) vs.

Klein Collins (13-1)

4 p.m. Saturday, NRG Stadium, Houston

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