Dallas South Oak Cliff should be a model for all of Texas


Fans packed AT&T Cowboy Stadium above the South Oak Cliff team bench during a 5A High School Division 2 State Championship football game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Dec. 18, 2021.

Bob Booth

The Dallas South Oak Cliff State Football Championship last December doesn’t mean every downtown Texas team is suddenly in contention.

Reality must be part of this conversation.

Hope too.

What SOC has done is providing both for every school in downtown Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth.

SOC’s greatest achievement may not be the Class 5A, Division II state title it won last season, but the fact that it made hope a potential reality for every school like this one.

It’s still high school football and the players are kids. No need to overwrite everything of their dreams for now.

For the past 30 years, success in Texas high school football’s biggest classifications has steadily flowed to the suburbs of every major metropolitan area across the state.

South Lake. Aledo. Katie. plan. Allen. Austin Westlake and Austin Lake Travis.

(Of course, there’s always Highland Park, which is in Dallas but is its own self-contained island surrounded by Dallas ISD.)

For too long, players, coaches and students at all downtown schools didn’t think they had a chance to do anything but make the playoffs and maybe have a little run.

Nothing beyond that had happened in their lifetime.

The start of Texas high school football 2022 is (thankfully) here, and every player, coach, and student at these schools should watch South Oak Cliff.

It can happen.

“For me, it’s a step-by-step process, and I’m not going to say, when we haven’t won a playoff game in ages, that we’re going to win a state championship all of a sudden. ” It doesn’t work, he says,” North Side coach Joseph Turner said in a phone interview.

“But there were huge upsides to South Oak Cliff winning this championship. It just helps with player buy-in.

South Oak Cliff’s title last season was the first for an ISD Dallas football school since 1958.

Dallas Washington won a Prairie View Interscholastic League title that season; the PVIL existed from 1920 to 1970 and was intended for black high schools in Texas during segregation.

Dallas Carter won the UIL state title in 1988, but that championship was stripped by the UIL for the use of an ineligible player.

Specifically, the Dallas Carter team is forever known for beating Odessa Permian in the state semifinals that year, the season in which author Buzz Bissinger chronicled their every move for a book called “Friday Night Lights”.

According to the history book, the last time an inner-city school won a Texas UIL high school football title before SOC last year was Houston Yates and his “Crush Groove” team in 1985. .

After that season, as Texas grew, the championships began to spread to suburbs across the state.

If you’re wondering about Fort Worth’s history when it comes to state football championships, this is the size of a post-it note. A little.

In 1962 and 1963, Fort Worth Kirkpatrick won the PIVL titles. Arlington Heights won the UIL state title in 1948 by defeating Houston Lamar, 20-0.

The only other time a Fort Worth school achieved the state title was in 1932, when Masonic Home lost to Corsicana by the final score of 0-0. Corsicana won on penetrations.

Masonic Home is the team made relevant to this generation by Jim Dent’s bestseller, “12 Mighty Orphans,” which was made into a Hollywood movie starring Luke Wilson.

The last playoff victory for an FWISD team to win a playoff game was Dunbar, in 2016.

There are a multitude of reasons for this development. Resources. Silver. Facilities. Silver. Silver.

Downtown schools often don’t have the luxury of developing their own from middle school. Statistically speaking, children from these regions are more likely to move house.

In places like Aledo, Carroll, Allen, Katy, or Argyle, a kid who wants to play football for middle school and then high school is in the same “system” starting in seventh grade.

“A lot of our kids have to work and we understand that because they’re trying to support their families,” Turner said. “We want to make sure their academics are aligned. There are 1,000 different things.

“Our goal is to send kids to college and prepare them for life after college and overall success.”

A state title for Turner, and schools like North Side, are way off because of 1,000 different things.

But what South Oak Cliff has proven is that it can be done and in doing so has given a little hope to all schools like this.

Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist with extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He covered high schools, colleges, the big four sports teams as well as the Olympics and the world of entertainment. It combines dry wit and first-person reporting to complement an almost unfair hairdo.
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Rebecca R. Santistevan