ARLINGTON – When it comes to state championship appearances, it’s been a long time coming for the DeSoto Eagles.
Over each of the past four seasons, the Eagles have been eliminated by the eventual state champion or state semifinalist, which all happen to be Allen.
Whether DeSoto was happy or not when they drew 6A Division II for the 2016 playoffs, one class lower than Allen, is irrelevant. DeSoto will be playing for a state title on Saturday while Allen will be at home.
DeSoto will make their first state championship appearance in school history on Saturday when they clash with Cibolo Steele, a school they’re actually familiar with despite being 244 miles apart.
In 2015, DeSoto and Steele met in Belton on a Thursday night in which the Knights squeezed out a 35-33 victory, while in 2014 DeSoto edged out the victory 29-24 at McLane Stadium over Steele.
The rubber match between these two teams will be for all of the marbles as the winner will take home the 6A Division II crown.
The clear difference in this game aside from the other two is who DeSoto has leading their 2016 campaign.
DeSoto quarterback Shawn Robinson is in his first and only year at DeSoto after transferring from Denton Guyer in the offseason and he is already setting a high standard for future teams to come.
The TCU commit has thrown for 3,171 yards while rushing for an additional 1,272 yards. Altogether, Robinson has 44 total touchdowns.
To finish off the best season in school history with a state ring, Robinson and the Eagles will need to hold off a scorching hot Cibolo Steele team that is looking for their first state title since 2010.
The Knights come in with a 14-1 record, with their only loss coming in overtime to a 6A Division I state finalist, Lake Travis.
Steele will carry their rushing attack into this one, led by junior running back Brendan Brady, who has over 1,500 yards for the season. Brady and the running game had to accelerate their production mid-season whenever quarterback Xavier Martin went down with a high ankle sprain against Smithson Valley.
Now with the Texas Tech quarterback commit back at 100% for the playoffs, the sky’s the limit for the Knights as they have a lethal offensive leader and a healthy running game to set up play-action.
This one will be as close as it has been the past two years these teams met and will feature the same excitement.
Shawn Robinson will pass for more than 350 yards, but Steele will pull off the upset in the closing minutes.
DeSoto has shown weaknesses in the playoffs – they needed second half heroics to defeat Southlake Carroll, Abilene, Cedar Hill and Klein Collins – and Steele will attack those soft spots and pull it off in the end.
Steele by four.