Written by Corbett Smith
DeSoto concedes go-ahead TD to get ball and orchestrate last-second drive to beat Euless Trinity
WACO — All DeSoto coach Claude Mathis wanted was the ball in Desmon White’s hands.
Spectacular all season, the senior quarterback had been instrumental in a gutsy fourth-quarter comeback in a third-round win against Coppell. So, as Euless Trinity drove the ball into scoring position late in the Class 5A Division I Region I final Monday, with a potential touchdown and extra point giving Trinity a lead, Mathis made the call.
“Let ’em in,” Mathis said. “I’ve got enough confidence in our offense. Our offense needed the ball back, so let’s go score.”
Mathis’ instincts were right. Following Trinity’s go-ahead score with 2:31 remaining, White orchestrated a 10-play, 73-yard drive, ending in a 1-yard touchdown by running back Larry Nixon with six seconds remaining, as DeSoto rallied for a 48-41 win at Waco ISD Stadium.
DeSoto (14-0) will face Allen (14-0) in a rematch of last year’s 5A Division I semifinal. The game is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium, unless an agreement is reached to play Sunday.
“We weren’t trying to rush anything — just let it come to us,” White said. “Eventually, we knew we were going to get down there.”
Such confidence was built from experience. The teams combined for 991 yards rushing and traded touchdowns on five fourth-quarter drives before Trinity’s last-gasp, hook-and-lateral play ended near midfield as time expired.
“We put our trust in our O-line, our quarterback and ourselves — the running backs — and we just put our team on our back,” DeSoto running back Jatory Brown said.
Trinity (11-3), which trailed by 14 points at halftime, took its first lead of the second half on the surrendered score.
Tyler Natee’s 13-yard run was set up by Trinity’s two main running threats. Senior Isaac Ellsworth, who finished with 306 yards on 17 carries, converted a fourth-and-3 deep in Trinity territory with a 24-yard option pitch. Sophomore Ja’Ron Wilson immediately followed with a 48-yard gain on a sweep.
“I wish we hadn’t had scored so quick,” Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver said. “You know, it’s not like we could score anytime we wanted to. You better take it while you can.”
DeSoto’s plan nearly backfired on the ensuing kickoff, as it fumbled, then recovered, the kick return.
But White, who led DeSoto with 186 yards rushing, was near perfection on the last drive. He completed three of four passes for 35 yards and two first downs, getting two more first downs on scrambles.
“There was no pressure,” White said. “We knew what we were capable of; we did it to Coppell. We just had to go out there and execute.”
Follow Corbett Smith on Twitter at @corbettsmithDMN.