Category: Texas

VIDEO: Oak Cliff Faith Family wins Texas high school basketball title on walk-off dunk

One of the more exciting finishes to a high school basketball state title game came in a surprisingly small classifications.
With the Texas Class 4A state championship game somehow knotted at 51 — Oak Cliff Faith Family Academy, from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, had entered as significant favorites — Faith Family got one more chance to win the game and regulation.
With 20 seconds remaining after Liberty Hill knotted the game on a layup, Faith Family brought the ball up the floor and worked the clock. With the final seconds ticking away, a drive to the lane opened up a backdoor, baseline cut from freshman forward Jordan Walsh, who received a spot perfect pass, elevated and flushed home a game and state-title winning dunk as the final tenths of a second expired.

OMG!!!!! 4A state
Freshman Jordan Walsh buzzer beating DUNK @OnlyJWalsh
Faith Family 53, Liberty Hill 51#SCtop10 @ESPNAssignDesk pic.twitter.com/4rlXGveW0u
— Hoopinsider.net (@hoopinsider) March 10, 2019

Game, set, match and title, Faith Family. 53-51.
Here’s another look:

Game winning dunk!!! @uiltexas @hoopinsider Oak Cliff Faith Family vs Liberty Hill 4a state championship!!! pic.twitter.com/JMKAeTRovL
— Ryan Carrington (@nupesolo) March 10, 2019

“I feel on top of the world. I feel like I’m the man,” Walsh told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram after the game, which was played in San Antonio’s Alamodome. “Glad my teammates made it available for me.”
They made it available, but the 6-foot-6, 175-pound first year breakout star absolutely made it his, slamming home the season’s most decisive points with authority.
“Just like we drew it up, right,” Faith Family coach Brandon Thomas told the Star-Telegram. “I can’t even believe we’ve done it. To win it in that fashion, it’s unreal. It’s a story-book ending.”
And if there was any question that the coaching didn’t end at the final whistle, here’s Thomas, consoling a Liberty Hill player after the hard fought loss:

FINAL: Oak Cliff Faith Family 53, Liberty Hill 51. Freshman Jordan Walsh with the dunk at the buzzer to win it. Nice moment with Oak Hill coach Brandon Thomas consoling a Liberty Hill player. #UILState pic.twitter.com/kVikimKsR5
— Matt Young (@Chron_MattYoung) March 10, 2019

Will the walk-off dunk prove to be the most dramatic finish of a state title game in 2019? It’s certainly in contention, and the crowd reaction will be awfully hard to beat.

Legendary Texas girls basketball coach resigns amid recruiting investigation

One of the most decorated girls basketball coaches in Texas state history has resigned just as her most recent accomplishments are suddenly being thrown into question.
As reported by Dallas-Fort Worth NBC affiliate KXAS, longtime Duncanville (Texas) High School girls basketball coach Cathy Self-Morgan, the winner of an astounding eight state championships, resigned Wednesday, before the findings from an internal investigation into Self-Morgan and alleged recruiting practices were made public.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the University Interscholastic League (which governs high school sports in Texas) had already mandated an investigation into allegations that Self-Morgan wrongfully recruited other area athletes to Duncanville. While the findings from that internal investigation have not been made public, it’s widely assumed that the investigation found significant evidence that Self-Morgan responsible for recruiting violations.
That, in turn, may have been what truly pushed Self-Morgan over the line. In a closing statement to the Duncanville fans, the longtime coach said it was time for a change:
“I have been in Duncanville for 19 years, and some of those have been the highlight of my coaching career,” Self-Morgan said in a statement to the media. “I have loved my Pantherettes and our amazing fans, but after 42 years of coaching it’s time for me to step away. That’s why on February 4, I submitted my letter of retirement. I will always cherish the memories I have from this district and with my Pantherettes.”
While it is unknown what sparked the investigation, the acrimonious departure of superstar post player Hannah Gusters — who transferred to Irving MacArthur in mid-December — may have played a factor. Here’s more on that from the Morning News:
Gusters’ mother, Sheridane, said she has copies of text messages between Self-Morgan and a local trainer/AAU coach that her attorney sent to the District 6-6A executive committee and that were then sent by the DEC to the UIL for her daughter’s eligibility hearings.
If true, that might be the closest thing to a smoking gun in the case against Self-Morgan at Duncanville. While school officials have insisted that Self-Morgan planned to retire, the timing of her departure with the ongoing investigation remains fishy, at best.

ALL-USA receiver Bru McCoy enters NCAA's Transfer Portal

Nineteen days after committing to USC at the All-American Bowl, Bru McCoy, a receiver who is ranked No. 13 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25, has entered the NCAA’s Transfer Portal, according to multiple reports.
McCoy, who was already enrolled at USC, had a dominant senior season, posting 78 receptions for 1,428 yards and 18 touchdowns for Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.), who finished No. 1 overall in USA Today’s Super 25.

RelatedAll-American Bowl Diary: Bru McCoy reflects on Mater Dei's championship seasonTwo teams leading race for Chosen 25 WR Bru McCoy
Early indicators are that Texas is the likely landing spot for the talented receiver. The Longhorns and the Trojans were McCoy’s top two before his commitment, and he’s a big fan of the Texas wide receiver coach, Drew Mehringer.
McCoy was named to the ALL-USA first team this past season.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

North Shore couldn't capture a national title, but their run to No. 2 may be even more impressive

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Oh so close, but no national title.
North Shore High School (Galena Park, Texas) came extremely close to earning the first public school Super 25 national title in more than half a decade. The Mustangs capped a fairytale 16-0 season with a Hail Mary to win the state title with no time remaining in a thrilling see-saw encounter with new No. 10 Duncanville. The two teams entered the game ranked No. 5 and No. 6, with the North Shore victory vaulting the Mustangs near the national title.
Rankings: Super 25 Football Final Rankings
North Shore’s win capped two very impressive weeks of games played in NFL stadia. First, the Mustangs ran completely roughshod over a very talented Austin Lake Travis team which had been ranked in the Super 25 throughout the first half of the season and had just one loss before their semifinal ouster. Then came the victory against a Duncanville squad that had decisively eliminated Super 25 No. 1 Allen, ending a 30-game winning streak in the process.

So what made the difference between the teams? It was all about the overall strength of schedule. North Shore finished with four very impressive victories — the wins against Lake Travis and Duncanville and not one, but two wins against traditional Texas super power Katy, one of which came in the playoffs.
That was impressive, but it couldn’t quite keep up with Mater Dei’s resume. The defending champions beat traditional national contender Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 42-0. They edged past fellow top-five program IMG Academy, 28-24. They routed California contender Servite, 35-0, blew out an Orange Lutheran squad led by South Carolina QB commit Ryan Hilinksi, and then went on a remarkable playoff run that included wins against Mission Viejo, Corona Centennial, then No. 1 St. John Bosco and then No. 6 De La Salle.
There were clear drawbacks, yes; the 41-18 blowout loss to St. John Bosco in the regular season was a significant black eye, and the forfeited season-opening victory against Bishop Amat counts for something (even if not much). But balancing the good with the bad, with no fewer than six eye-popping victories, Mater Dei was virtually impossible to top.

That shouldn’t discount what North Shore accomplished, particularly given their remarkably young core. The Mustangs are led by the nation’s top junior running back, five-star prospect Zachary Evans, and a sophomore quarterback Dematrius Davis who already holds scholarship offers from the likes of Baylor and Memphis. There’s more then enough sophomore and junior talent for North Shore to sustain its excellence, though the gauntlet of Texas’ Class 6A may be even tougher next year.
That’s what makes this year’s run all the more remarkable and impressive. It can’t be overstated how impressive those two wins against Katy are. The Tigers were 11-0 outside of their matchups with North Shore, allowing just 109 points in 11 games; North Shore scored 74 points against the Tigers in their two games alone.
To put those wins in perspective, consider this: Katy, which plays in one of the nation’s newest, most lavish high school facilities, lost just nine games in the prior eight seasons. If they have ever lost the same team twice in one season, we couldn’t find proof of it.
Until North Shore.
Will the Mustangs be able to duplicate what they accomplished this year? It’s anyone’s guess. And it certainly doesn’t matter when it comes to what they accomplished this season. Though it didn’t net a national title, 2018 should absolutely go down in history as one of the most remarkable campaigns in North Shore, Houston-area and even Texas history.

Texas High School Football book hits on all the legends you do and don't remember

Here’s the scenario: It’s Christmas eve, and you need a unique gift for your sports-loving friend or family member. We have your solution, and it will teach you more about Texas high school football than you could imagine.
And hey, coming after one of the most epic Class 6A title games in history — heck one of the most remarkable title games in any state’s history — with North Shore’s walk-off, Hail Mary win against Duncanville, it’s hard not to be excited about that, isn’t it?
High School Football in Texas: Amazing Football Stories From the Greatest Players of Texas is the new book from Jeff Fisher, the man behind the High School Football America website and national rankings. The relocated Texas native was drafted in to report and write the definitive volume on legendary Texas high school football players, with a view directly on their scholastic experiences rather than what they accomplished thereafter. 
The result is a nearly 300-page tour de force of reminiscent fandom and pseudo-voyeuristic insight that explains precisely why Texas football is the nation’s greatest, one anecdote at a time.
The book is structured to focus on players of distinct accomplishments in their groups, from NFL Hall of Famers (and surefire future Hall of Famers) to NFL contributors and Heisman Trophy winners. And it reminds the reader that the greats of the game in the sport’s most sacred state all reached their pinnacles via unique pathways. Sure, there are plenty of sons of coaches, like Raymond Berry, but also the outliers like Saints MVP candidate Drew Brees, who never played tackle football until ninth grade.
And that includes legendary Sealy running back Eric Dickerson, whose Class 4A title game rushing record was finally topped by Cuero’s Jordan Whittington just Friday.
It’s hard to overlook or pick a favorite of the unique anecdotes that Fisher dredges out of his subjects, but some of the forgotten chapters from even the more recent stars are illuminating.
Sure, everyone remembers Johnny Manziel’s star turn and money flashing at Texas A&M. Far fewer remember his dominance at Kerrville (Texas) Tivy High, including one of his few regular season setbacks against a fellow Texas legend in current Rams running back Malcolm Brown (Brown’s Cibolo Steele edged out Tivy in a ridiculous back-and-forth battle).
All of these stories provide a lot to work on in the New Year, and a lot to feed off in a Christmas present. So what are you waiting for? If you’re in Texas, go find the book at a local bookstore. If you’re not? Don’t worry. Just blame the shipping delay on the overworked Postal Service. They don’t deserve the blame, but your friends and family won’t know that, and they’ll definitely appreciate the Texas football knowledge.
You can order Fisher’s book on Amazon right here.

VIDEO: No. 6 North Shore tops No. 5 Duncanville for state title with insane 45-yard Hail Mary on final play

The two teams were so well matched that the state title in Texas’ largest division literally came down to the final play. On this occasion, No. 6 Galena Park (Texas) North Shore had the ball, and No. 5 Duncanville (Texas) was left with the heartbreak.
RELATED: USA TODAY Super 25 Football Rankings
Trailing 36-35 with just three seconds remaining, North Shore found its Texas Class 6A state title hopes resting on a miracle, 45 yards from the end zone with just one snap to cover the ground. Mustangs sophomore quarterback Dematrius Davis dropped back, danced in the backfield to buy his teammates time, then heaved a monster pass to the right corner of the end zone. He had two receivers in the vicinity, with three Duncanville defenders between them.

WOW!! What an ending to the #UILState Championships!! North Shore 41 Duncanville 36 HAIL MARY!! pic.twitter.com/3Efnwcx0oU
— Tim Dennis (@TDennisSportTog) December 23, 2018

As good a pass as it was, there are no logical circumstances under which the ball should have been caught. But this was no logical game. The game featured two epic collections of underclass talent — 31 Division I scholarship holders and growing — and generated even more attention after Duncanville eliminated state superpower (and previous USA TODAY SUPER 25 No. 1) Allen a week earlier.
On Saturday, Duncanville appeared poised to be the team to escape with the last-minute bragging rights, scoring to take a 36-35 victory with just 1:08 remaining. Given the fierce defense played by both sides, that appeared too little time for North Shore to mount a final rally … but it did. Davis connected with receivers to move down the field quickly, then let loose with his now already famous heave which landed in the hand of receiver A.J. Carter for the game-winning touchdown.
The loss cost Duncanville coach Reginald Samples his first-ever state title — he previously fell short in double overtime when leading Dallas Lincoln — and kept Duncanville from its first state crown in an even 30 years. Samples’ reaction alone was so priceless and painful that it immediately gave berth to a series of memes online.

Duncanville loses a heart breaker #FSSW #Texasfootball #Duncanville #UILSTATE Those poor kids pic.twitter.com/u5D3PW5Kji
— Dustin Bortzfield (@DBortz918) December 23, 2018

And then there was the Duncanville sideline:

The @Duncanville_Fb sideline after that Hail Mary.
Tough to see. #UILonFOX pic.twitter.com/vTBX5Ga9PX
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) December 23, 2018

The loss was epic, but was so was the game. North Shore led 29-20 by halftime with a controlled passing attack, but Duncanville’s explosive offense kept pace just as its dominant defense got its footing back in the third quarter. That set the stage for Duncanville’s late comeback, and North Shore’s even later rally, capping the kind of play that makes any game an instant classic. This was certainly no exception.

Texas HS football player shot, killed by uncle days before state semifinal

A Houston-area high school football player was shot and killed by his own uncle Monday night after a dispute broke out between the two at the Houston home they shared.
As reported by the Houston Chronicle, Drew Conley, a varsity football player at Fort Bend Marshall (Texas) High School, was shot and killed by his uncle, whose name was not divulged. The two were allegedly involved in an argument when Conley’s uncle shot him in the leg with a rifle.

Conley’s death is a crushing blow to the Marshall program, both on a personal and competitive level. A senior, Conley was a safety who emerged as a steadying force in the defensive backfield of a team that is just days away from a state semifinal against traditional power Corpus Christi Calallen (Texas) High School. In what turned out to be his final game, Conley finished with five tackles in all, four unassisted to help Marshall past Huntsville.
Naturally, the first factor was a much more pressing concern than the second for a group of Texas teenagers who never saw such a violent  end coming for one of their own.

Playoff games in Texas, S.C. moved to Friday to avoid winter weather

The weather outside is frightful, but the football is so delightful. So long as they can play more, let it pour let it pour let it pour.
Just don’t let it snow.
Apparently that’s the message for state playoff games scheduled for Saturday in the Texas panhandle and South Carolina, where expected winter weather forced up the intended schedule so that games could be played on Friday as well to accommodate the full playoff slate.
As reported by Amarillo CBS affiliate KFDA, the games in Texas are all regional finals (i.e., state quarterfinals) with the exception of one state semifinal between Jayton (Texas) High School and Follett (Texas) High School.
The matchups in South Carolina are state championships to be held at Brice Williams Stadium, home of the University of South Carolina football program. Two state title games in the state’s smallest classifications were already scheduled for Friday at Benedict College and will be played as planned.
“The safety of our student-athletes, as well as the strong fan base they have garnered this season is our primary focus,” South Carolina High School League commissioner Jerome Singleton told the Charleston Post and Courier. “We realize this is an inconvenience for some but we hope everyone can understand the priority for this weekend must be providing the safest environment possible. Knowing the high school sports fans of South Carolina, Friday is sure to be the biggest day of football for the entire state.”
Of course, all this preventative planning requires the weather to actually cooperate, of which there’s no guarantee. The weather in Lubbock looks particularly harrowing, with temperatures scheduled to be in the lower 30s with rain or wintry mix, combining for a real-feel temperature in the 20s for much of the day.
The weather in South Carolina appears more moderate, with temperatures in the 40s and 50s throughout the day and the chance of precipitation peaking at just 15 percent.
Given the arrangements already made to avoid even worse expected weather on Saturday, all games will almost certainly go ahead on Friday.

VIDEO: Check out Kings star De'Aaron Fox dunking in middle school

De’Aaron Fox is blazing fast. He has the quickness of a fox and a social media handle with a subtle nod to Dora the Explorer.
In other words, he’s a heck of a lot of fun. And here’s something about De’Aaron Fox that’s even more fun: De’Aaron Fox dunking in middle school.

De’Aaron Fox was dunking in MIDDLE SCHOOL @swipathefox (via Lorrainefox5/YT) pic.twitter.com/zKC2tff4Vg
— Overtime (@overtime) December 5, 2018

Yes, De’Aaron Fox, a relatively diminutive (sure, he’s 6-foot-3, but this is the NBA, right?) point guard, was already throwing down dunks when he was in middle school.
Fox’s soaring to the rim speaks to the athleticism that would become the hallmark of his game. Also his tenacity, which was obvious on the steal itself.
The point? Sometimes NBA stars were NBA stars long before they were NBA stars, if you know what we mean. De’Aaron Fox has been that guy since just about forever. Or at least middle school.

Twenty-six of the 32 coaches in the Texas football playoffs earn more than $100,000 per year

The latest report on Texas high school football coaching salaries is particularly timely, with the state playoffs entering the quarterfinal round this weekend. With that framework in mind, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram took a look at the salary of each coach still leading their respective teams in the Class 5A and 6A playoffs.
Given two divisions within each classification, that makes for 32 head coaches. And the results are pretty startling: Of those 32 coaches, 26 earn more than $100,000 per year, and the other six are very close.
Per the Star-Telegram, only one coach still alive in the playoffs has an annual salary of less than $90,000; Beaumont West Brook’s Eric Peevey, who is paid $86,000.
For the record, the two highest salaries both come from powerhouse programs out of Austin: Lake Travis’ Hank Carter is paid $158,512 while Westlake’s Todd Dodge earns an even $150,000.
Terry Gambill, the coach at Super 25 No. 1 ranked Allen, earns $125,365 per year, only the third-highest in Class 6A Div. 1 and sixth highest across both divisions of Class 6A.
The Texas salaries paint a stark comparison to a similar study taken of coaches of the Alabama teams competing for state titles at that state’s Super 7 event.
According to AL.com, three coaches at the very top end of Alabama’s highest classifications earn salaries that are similar to their Texas counterparts, ranging from $112,000 to $129,000. The story is far different lower down, where some coaches were leading their programs while only being paid a traditional coach’s stipend, as little as $7,345, with a top range full salary of $92,000.
Naturally, that’s nothing to shake a stick at, but the disparity within the salary range in Alabama is perhaps the striking take away from both exercises. The top range salaries for the mega-programs in Alabama may still be eye opening, but in Texas, the salaries at all successful programs are eye opening, and that’s before one considers the relative pittance paid the average public school teacher statewide.