The question going in to Friday’s Class 6A Division I regional football game was whether or not Arlington Lamar could find a way to score against Duncanville’s rock-solid defense.
The answer was no.
Duncanville quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson broke open a close game at the half, scoring two of three third-quarter touchdowns, as the Panthers rolled to a 45-6 win over Lamar at Newsom Stadium.
Duncanville (12-0), No. 5 in the final Associated Press Class 6A state poll, advances to the quarterfinals and will meet No. 6 Southlake Carroll (13-0). The game is tentatively set for 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Ford Center in Frisco.
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Lamar (11-2) moved the ball early, but while the Vikings’ drives led to field goals, the Panthers were scoring touchdowns.
The Vikings took the opening kick and drove 68 yards in seven plays down to the Duncanville seven yard line, but had to settle for a 24-yard, Alejandro Garcia field goals. Lamar’s next drive covered 71 yards in eight plays, but again Garcia was called on for a 21-yarder.
In between Lamar three pointers, Jackson capped a Duncanville drive with a 13-yard scoring run to give the Panthers a 7-3 lead with 4:40 left in the first quarter. Lamar looked to have Jackson surrounded for a five-yard loss, but the junior wiggled free and jogged into the end zone.
Duncanville defensive back Stacy Brown ended Lamar’s third drive when he picked off a pass at the Panthers 22 and returned it 47 yards to the Vikings 31. That set up a five-yard Trysten Smith scoring run that gave Duncanville a 14-6 lead with 6:56 left in the first half.
From that point Lamar picked up only four first downs the rest of the game as the Duncanville defense put the clamps on the Vikings. Lamar outgained Duncanville 170-143 in yards in the first half, but only managed 64 total yards in the second half.
“They’re really relentless and they believe in each other,” said Duncanville head coach Reginald Samples on his defense that had given up 44 points in 11 games coming in. “They work hard in practice and we have our best players over there.”
The game was delayed two hours and 50 minutes due to lightning in the area at the 12 second mark of the second quarter. The long break seemed to energize the Panthers who scored 21 third quarter points.
A 63-yard pass play from Jackson to Zeriah Beason set up a one-yard Smith scoring run on the opening drive of the second half.
Lamar’s Deshawn Gaddie returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards to midfield, but the Vikings lost the ball on downs at the Duncanville 13.
The Panthers scored the next four times they had the ball highlighted by a 70-yard Jackson to Roderick Daniels Jr. scoring pass that gave Duncanville a 28-6 lead with 5:38 left in the third quarter.
“Basically everything was working,” said Jackson, who rushed for 139 yards on 16 carries and threw for 160 more. “It wasn’t anything we couldn’t do we just had to put our minds to it and put effort into it.”
With Southlake Carroll on the horizon both Samples and Jackson are confident.
“They’re a great team and we’ll have to be at our best,” said Samples. “They’ve wiped everybody out, but we’re going to go and prepare. We know it’s a big task, but they have to play us too.”
“They’re a good team and since I’ve been in high school I’ve never played against them so it should be interesting,” said Jackson. “Nobody should miss this one, it’s going to be a show.”
Game was over when: Trailing 21-6 with 9:48 left in the third quarter, Lamar had a chance to get back in the game after a 48-yard kickoff return by Deshawn Gaddie gave the Vikings the ball at their own 49. A 35-yard pass play from quarterback Jack Dawson to Treyon West gave Lamar a first down at the Duncanville 11. But a two-yard loss and three incomplete passes against Duncanville’s steallar secondary turned the ball back over to the Panthers. Five plays later Jackson found Daniels wide open over the middle and Daniels turned on the jets to out race Lamar defenders to the end zone. That gave the Panthers a 28-6 lead with 5:38 left in the third.
Play of the game: Lamar had trouble tackling Jackson all night, but late in the third quarter he ran through almost every Lamar defender on his way to a 31-yard gain that gave Duncanville a first down at the Lamar 25. Five plays later Jackson ran it in from four yards out to push the lead to 35-6.
Offensive player of the game: Jackson completed 7-of-13 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 139 yards on 16 carries with two TDs. Lamar quarterback Jack Dawson threw for 186 yards, but only 63 in the second half.
Defensive player of the game: Stacy Brown led a Duncanville secondary that hounded Lamar receivers all night. Chris Thompson Jr., Tre’Shon Devones, Ennis Rakestraw, and Thailan Scott were in perfect position to make plays when Dawson was on target. Dawson completed only 16-of-36 passes against Duncanville and was one-of-eight for three yards inside the Duncanville 19 yard line.
Unsung hero of the game: Duncanville’s defensive line and linebackers stymied the Lamar rushing game, escpecially in the second half. Lamar picked up one yard rushing after halftime and had 48 total rushing yards on 19 carries for the game.