Sitting in a five-way tie atop the District 9-6A standings, foes Mansfield Summit and DeSoto understood the importance of Friday’s game.
DeSoto ensured that it would keep itself right in the mix for a district title.
Tyson Alexander and Roston White each ran for a pair of touchdowns and Shun’Darion Ward added a TD pass and run as the Eagles, ranked No. 9 in The Star-Telegram Class 6A poll, shook off a slow start on their way to a convincing 40-21 homecoming victory at Eagle Stadium on Friday night. Ward accounted for 265 total yards of offense with 155 coming through the air and another 110 with his feet.
DeSoto improved to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in district while Summit dropped to 4-4, 3-2.
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The Jaguars played well in the first half in an attempt to spoil the Eagles’ homecoming.
Josh Diamanche ran a draw play from 38 yards out with 9:38 left in the first quarter, capping off a four-play opening drive for Summit which gained a 7-0 lead. It was the first of two touchdowns on the night for Diamanche who added a 3-yard run with 17 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
DeSoto answered with a 3-yard run by White later in the first quarter and got a 33-yard touchdown run 57 seconds into the second quarter from Alexander, who finished with 116 rushing yards on just eight carries, for a 14-7 Eagles lead.
Summit immediately answered with an 86-yard kickoff return from Jalen Rock to bring the Jaguars even at 14-14.
But DeSoto capitalized on a critical running-into-the-kicker penalty called late in the second quarter on Summit — a 44-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide of the uprights gave the Eagles a new set of downs — and the Eagles scored on a 22-yard pass play from Ward to Bryon Hanspard on the very next play for a 21-14 lead.
DeSoto rode that momentum into the third quarter, where it received a 71-yard run from Ward, a 46-yard sprint by Alexander and a 19-yard touchdown run by White, for a commanding 40-14 lead.
Play of the game: Ward appeared like he was going to be tackled behind the line of scrimmage but shed that target and out-ran the Summit defense for a 71-yard touchdown run two minutes into the third quarter for a 28-14 DeSoto lead.
Offensive player of the game: Ward. He heated up after a slow start in which several passes were off-target. He completed 16 of his final 23 pass attempts after completing just two of his first six.
Defensive player of the game: DeSoto’s Jabbar Muhammad earns the nod with his second-quarter interception that led to the Eagles’ third touchdown in the first half. The Eagles had two interceptions cancelled on plays in which they were ruled out of bounds by the officials.
Unsung hero of the game: DeSoto’s defense allowed only two offensive touchdowns to Summit and improved with its tackling as the game went along as the Jaguars were held to 237 yards of total offense.
It was over when: White ran a draw play up the gut for a 19-yard touchdown and a commanding 40-14 DeSoto lead with eight seconds left in the third quarter.
What’s next? Mansfield Summit hosts last-place Waxahachie, Friday, Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m. DeSoto faces another crucial district contest at South Grand Prairie, Thursday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m.