- Tyler Harden
Second half comeback leads DeSoto past Spring to advance to region final
Photo Credit: Laredo Morning Times
WACO, TEXAS— The DeSoto Eagles and the Spring Lions came into Saturday night’s regional semifinal matchup with two different mindsets, but the same end goal: survive and advance. DeSoto is a Top 25 team in the country according to MaxPreps, and they are led by five-star defensive end and Texas A&M signee, Shemar Turner. The Eagles are used to making deep runs in the playoffs, as they are arguably one of the best high school football programs in the state of Texas. However, the Spring Lions, who came into the matchup undefeated at 9-0, had another reason to win the game other than advancing to the next round. They had to prove they were for real, and the Lions knew knocking off DeSoto would prove that.
Spring started the first quarter with the ball, and in order to win the game, the Lions would have to match the speed of DeSoto. Spring quarterback, Bishop Davenport, started connecting with his receivers from the first play from scrimmage. The Lions threw the ball on ten straight plays to lead them to the DeSoto 22-yard line. After the DeSoto defense forced a fourth down, Spring decided to gamble and go for it, and Bishop Davenport was able to find Kaleb Jones for a first down at the DeSoto 9-yard line. But the Eagles kept the Spring offense in control, forcing another fourth down. This time Spring decided to attempt a 26-yard field goal, which was wide right, and DeSoto took over at their own 16-yard line.
The Eagles marched down the field all the way to the Spring 35-yard line. However, the Lions forced a fourth down after a big sack by Dorian Pittman. The Eagles decided to take a gamble as well, and try to convert on fourth down. But quarterback, Samari Collier, missed his receiver in the end zone, and the Lions took over at their own 34-yard line. After both teams were forced to punt the ball, the first quarter ended 0-0.
Bishop Davenport led Spring down the field to the 50-yard line to start the second quarter. He continued to connect with his receivers, as he found Vincent Bass on 3rd and 1 for a 50-yard touchdown to give the Lions a 7-0 lead (PAT good). DeSoto didn’t flinch, as the Eagles went down the field to the Spring 25-yard line. However, after a pass interference play pushed DeSoto back to the Spring 40-yard line, Samari Collier’s pass was intercepted by cornerback, Dorian Friend, and the Lions took over at their own 6-yard line.
After the Lions were brought to fourth down, they decided to use a trick they had up their sleeve, as Cadyn Bradley faked the punt and ran for a first down to their own 18-yard line. Bishop Davenport took over from there, as he led Spring to the DeSoto 3-yard line. The Eagle defense forced a fourth and goal, and Spring decided to go for it again. Davenport was able to find Travis Sims for a touchdown, and Spring took a 14-0 lead (PAT good). After a block in the back penalty pushed DeSoto back to the Spring 49-yard line, Spring cornerback, Jeffery Foster, was able to intercept a pass from Samari Collier to give the Lions the ball at their own 38-yard line. After DeSoto forced a punt from Spring, the first half ended with Spring in the lead 14-0.
DeSoto made their adjustments during halftime, and stepped on the gas to start the second half. Samari Collier led the Eagles all the way to the Spring 7-yard line, and capped off the drive with a touchdown pass to Shemar Turner to make the score 14-7 (PAT good). After Bishop Davenport brought the Lions to their own 43-yard line, the DeSoto defense stopped the momentum, and forced a punt. After a strong run game from Collier and Christopher Henley Jr., Samari Collier found wide receiver and Arkansas signee, Jaedon Wilson, in the end zone for a touchdown to tie the game (PAT good). The Eagle defense continued to dominate, forcing another Spring punt to give the offense the ball with good field position at their own 40-yard line. Collier then found Jaedon Wilson again for a wide open 60-yard touchdown to take a 21-14 lead and end the third quarter (PAT good).
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for DeSoto from there. After a forced Spring punt, Collier completed a pass, the ball was fumbled in the end zone, and recovered by Spring for a touchback. But the powerful DeSoto defense did their job, forcing yet another Spring punt. The Eagles took over with great field position at their own 43-yard line. Samari Collier took advantage, and was able to find Texas Tech signee, Jerand Bradley, in the end zone to give DeSoto a 27-14 lead (PAT good).
Spring had one more chance to stay in the game. Bishop Davenport was able to lead the Lions all the way to the DeSoto 21-yard line. He capped off the drive with a pass to Vincent Bass, in which he broke tackles and ran into the end zone to make the score 27-21 (PAT good). Spring tried to get the ball back with an onside kick, but DeSoto was able to pounce on the ball at their own 42-yard line. After Samari Collier led the Eagles to the Spring 8-yard line, they secured the win.
DeSoto continues their quest for a 6A D1 state championship, which is arguably the most competitive high school football playoff bracket in the country. The Eagles improve to 10-1 and will take on rival, Duncanville, who is a Top 5 team in the country according to MaxPreps, on Saturday, January 2nd, at 8:30 PM ET. The Spring Lions end their season at 9-1.