For a moment, it seemed as though plans were falling apart in DeSoto’s search for a first UIL state football title.
Eagles quarterback and TCU commit Shawn Robinson was fighting off an apparent injury in the fourth quarter, and then DeSoto was on the verge of losing an 18-point lead.
That’s when Isaiah Stewart and the DeSoto defense stepped up.
Stewart forced a fumble, had the championship-sealing pass deflection and DeSoto defeated Cibolo Steele 38-29 to win the Class 6A Division II state title on Saturday at AT&T Stadium.
“It feels really good,” DeSoto coach Todd Peterman said. “This is a confident group of young men and when you’re super talented and smart, you have a chance.”
Steele (14-2) was looking to take its first lead of the game, trailing 35-29 with 6:19 left and at its own 25-yard line. But four plays later Stewart knocked the ball loose and Caleb Ervin recovered to give DeSoto the ball at the Steele 26. Cristian Gonzales’ 24-yard field goal put the Eagles up nine with 2:06 to play.
Steele’s last hope ended when Stewart batted down a fourth-down pass in the end zone with seconds left. He was voted Defensive MVP.
“People were talking about the play I made last week,” Stewart said of his 42-yard fumble return for a touchdown against Klein Collins in the state semifinals. “They said make another big play and I came up with a big play.”
DeSoto led 28-10 at halftime off Robinson’s 267 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. He hit K.D. Nixon for a 28-yard score as time expired in the second quarter.
“We wanted to get him going early and often,” Peterman said. “We were able to do that and put some points up early.”
Robinson also had a 17-yard touchdown run to give DeSoto a 14-0 lead with 2:41 left in the first quarter, and threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to Laviska Shenault Jr. for a 35-17 lead in the third quarter for the Eagles (16-0).
“It’s been unreal,” said Robinson, who finished with 419 total yards, three touchdowns, and was voted Offensive MVP. “Our bond is crazy, I can’t explain it. Really starts with my offensive line, running backs and receivers making plays. They make my job easy.”
Kelan Walker capped off a 14-play, 92-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead with 5:34 left in the opening quarter.
Trailing 14-0, the Knights ran 14 plays, but DeSoto held them to Matthew O’Brien’s 23-yard field goal with 9:58 left in the second.
Steele’s JayVeon Cardwell intercepted a DeSoto pass on the ensuing drive, but Josh Jynes helped force a fumble on the return, and Antondre Smith recovered for the Eagles. Four plays later, Walker had his second 1-yard touchdown run to extend DeSoto’s lead to 21-3 with 6:24 until halftime.
Xavier Martin did all he could for the Knights, throwing for 256 yards with touchdown passes of 45 and 34 yards and running for scores from 15 and 20 yards.
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