By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports
DESOTO — There was an opportunity for the Waxahachie Indians to make an early statement Friday night against No. 6 DeSoto.
Unfortunately, the Eagles and their defense returned to earth in plenty of time to secure the 42-6 District 11-6A victory.
With sophomore quarterback Roderick Hartsfield under center, the Waxahachie offense wasted no time in finding the endzone at Eagle Memorial Stadium in DeSoto. It was actually Hartsfield himself who found paydirt when he carried the third snap of the ballgame 64 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
Entering the game, (1-4, 0-1) Waxahachie had used a dual-quarterback system between Hartsfield (6-19, 40yds) and senior Casey Kelley. Hartsfield (14-108, TD) took every snap Friday until he exited with a minor injury late in the second half.
Hartsfield and the Tribe offense quickly found themselves back on the field when the Eagles fumbled the ensuing kickoff inside their own 20-yard line.
Eight plays later and facing a fourth-and-10 from the Desoto 28, Hartsfield completed a 21-yard pass to BJ Hawkins along the Indians’ sideline. Hawkins was eventually forced out of bounds at the Eagles’ 7 — and just a few steps away from an ominous yellow hanky.
The Indians were flagged for a costly 15-yard personal foul (block in the back) and forced to reset at the Eagles’ 23-yard line. Waxahachie was unable to convert a second time but remained in front, 6-0.
With the opportunity to steal the early momentum gone, DeSoto flexed its muscles and began to lean on its strengths — physicality and depth.
The Eagles defensive front — led by Waymon Smith (Northwestern commit), Byron Murphy (Baylor commit) and Shemar Turner (Alabama commit) — also became quickly acquainted with the Indians’ backfield for the ensuing three-and-a-half quarters.
DeSoto scored its first of three first-half touchdowns when Samari Collier completed a 33-yard pass to Jerand Bradley with 2:39 to play in the first quarter.
Robert Richardson ultimately capped both ends of the second quarter with short rushing touchdowns for a 21-6 DeSoto advantage at the half.
The Eagles added three more second-half touchdowns for the 42-6 final in the 11-6A opener for both teams.
STAMPEDE IS COMING
The Tribe had its chance to go up two scores early in the first quarter this past Friday, just as many of the same varsity players did during the 2019 season against then-state-ranked Cedar Hill.
In that contest, the Indians managed to build a 10-0 lead after capitalizing on a Longhorn turnover. They then carried a 24-21 advantage into the halftime break.
Waxahachie grabbed hold of the momentum early and rode it out long enough to make a game of it against a team that was bigger, faster and deeper.
Unfortunately, as was the case this past Friday, the war of attrition played out and Waxahachie ultimately fell in that contest, 62-34. Cedar Hill scored the final 27 points of that contest to pull away in the fourth quarter.
Not to add any salt further, but the Indians will also now shift their focus to (3-0, 1-0) Cedar Hill. The 10th ranked Longhorns will make the short trip to Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium on Friday night for the Indians’ Homecoming game.
Kaidon Salter, a four-star commit to the University of Tennessee, will lead the Longhorns’ offensive charge Friday night.
Through the first two games of 2020, Salter completed 36-of-his-69 attempts for 503 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed 31 times for 190 yards and three touchdowns.
In 2019, Salter finished the win against the Indians 10-of-15 passing for 161 yards with one touchdown and one interception. It wasn’t Salter, though, who hurt the Indians the most in that loss one year ago.
The backfield tandem of Kris Allen (5-foot-8, 180) and Kevin Young (5-9, 180) combined for 351 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 27 carries. If the Waxahachie defense has any hopes of an upset, it’ll undoubtedly have to find a way to contain the Longhorns to far less than 13.0-yards-per carry.
Of course, it was against that always-touted Longhorn defense that Waxahachie senior BJ Hawkins set his career-highs with 15 catches for 187 yards and three touchdowns.
Here’s to hoping the good guys get a repeat performance from Hawkins and company and find a little magic on the defensive end. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday.
SO, ABOUT DESOTO
If you’ve made it this far, you must really want the details on that loss Friday against No. 6 DeSoto.
The Indians ultimately ran 29 plays in the first half for a net of 79 total yards — which included the 64-yard touchdown run by Hartsfield.
Waxahachie had four first-half first downs and was 2-of-10 on third-down opportunities, but did manage to win the time of possession (14:41-9:19).
Even more costly were the eight penalties for 79 yards assessed against the Tribe — non more significant than the block-in-the-back inside the DeSoto 10-yard line on the Indians’ second drive.
The DeSoto offense, meanwhile, amassed 247 total yards (141 passing, 106 rushing) and was 2-for-2 on fourth-down attempts.
Collier was 9-for-17 passing at the break with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed five times for 41 yards to lead the DeSoto backfield.
The Eagles wasted no time in striking in the second half.
Jasin Vining returned the opening kickoff 53 yards deep into Waxahachie territory.
Two plays later, Collier (16-27, 276yds, 3TD, 2INT) found Johntay Cook for a 28-yard touchdown across the middle of the field. The quarterback showed quite a bit of zip on the pass that came with 11:09 to play in the third quarter and put DeSoto comfortably on top, 28-6.
Waxahachie then needed an answer in the worst of ways, only to have Hartsfield sacked for the fourth time in the game on the drive’s first play.
Five plays and one first down later, Hartsfield was sacked for the fifth time — and this time, he lost the handle on the rock.
Collier eventually completed a touchdown pass to Jaedon Wilson (14 yards, 3:42 3Q) and then rushed in an 11-yard score to complete the scoring.
DeSoto put in several backups and cruised to the 42-6 home victory to open District 11-6A.
All photos by Kirk Holt/KBEC Sports
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith