Allen defeats DeSoto with big third quarter

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas– Trailing 21-14 at halftime, DeSoto had to like its chances in the second half of Saturday night’s Class 5A Division I semifinal game at SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

After all, the home of the Mustangs was the same field where just one week prior, Claude Mathis’ Eagles had trailed 24-21 at the break against Southlake Carroll and advanced with a heart-stopping 49-45 win over the Dragons that saw them stop Southlake QB Kenny Hill cold at the goal line on the final two plays of the game to preserve the win.

But a similar storybook finish wasn’t in the cards for DeSoto as Allen junior defensine back Mayomi Olootu took the opening kickoff of the second half 85 yards for a touchdown just 21 seconds into the third quarter to make it 28-14. The Eagles then went ahead by three scores at 35-14 when Kyler Murray found the end zone for the second time in the game with a 20-yard scamper about five minutes later.

Allen then most likely punched its ticket to next weekend’s 5A DI state final against Houston Lamar at Arlington’s Cowboys Stadium on DeSoto’s next series when Tay Evans intercepted a pass from Eagle junior quarterback Desmon White and returned it 40 yards, giving Allen 21 unanswered in the third quarter and a 42-14 edge.

DeSoto did cut it to 42-20 late in the third when Rickey Daniels caught a four-yard pass from White, his first of two touchdown receptions in the game, but the Eagles had an uphill climb ahead of them in the final 12 minutes against Allen, who prevailed 51-36.

However, the most impressive thing about the Eagles’ win over DeSoto might have been how Tom Westerberg’s talented squad reached that final score. All told, Allen racked up 489 yards of total offense but 394 of that came on the ground, not a big shock for anyone who has watched Allen play this season.

Senior running back Marcus Ward did most of the heavy lifting for Allen, finishing with 228 yards on 32 carries but Eagles sophomore signal caller Kyler Murray also did his fair share, averaging an impressive five yards per rush en route to a 20-carry, 100-yard and two-touchdown performance. Murray also threw for 95 yards and another touchdown through the air.

However, as great as the Allen offense was, the Eagle defense might deserve the game ball for their outstanding performance against the No. 1 team in 5A. In last week’s win over Carroll, the Desoto offense racked up 620 yards of total offense, including an impressive 244 on the ground as White ran for 139 yards on 18 carries and senior running back Dontre Wilson, who was slowed a bit by injury finished with 74 yards on 15 carries and one score.

But the Allen D stepped up big against the top-ranked team in the state and against a team in DeSoto that was ranked second in at least one national poll. The Eagles did amass 473 yards of total offense but 371 of that came through the air and DeSoto didn’t crack the 100-yard barrier in rushing yards until the final quarter.

Allen’s defense was in the face of White for much of the night, sacking him four times and Wilson, who was most likely still bothered by the injury he suffered in last weekend’s win over Carroll, had just 39 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown.

Besides a pretty solid showing by White under center for DeSoto, the other bright spot of the night was the game Daniels delivered in what proved to be his final game for the Eagles. The senior wide receiver caught nine passes for 147 yards and a pair of scores, a very valiant effort as DeSoto saw their season end with a 14-1 record.         

Allen will now face a Houston Lamar team that has allowed just seven points in each of its last three games, including Saturday’s 15-7 win over San Antonio O’Connor in the other 5A DI state semifinal. Allen and Lamar will square off at 8 PM next Saturday in Arlington, a game that will be carried live by Fox Sports Southwest. That title tilt will mark the last of nine champions that will be crowned at Cowboys Stadium from Thursday through Saturday and it promises to be an enthralling matchup to say the least.