Written by Corbett Smith
Sweet revenge: Cedar Hill feasts on Katy miscues, leans on DaMarkus Lodge for 5A Div. 2 title
ARLINGTON — Cedar Hill wanted nothing to do with someone else’s coronation.
With Katy playing for its eighth title — attempting to tie the state record held by Southlake Carroll and Celina — Cedar Hill snatched the crown with 24 unanswered second-half points, upending the defending champs with a 34-24 win in the Class 5A Division II title game in front of 30,285 at AT&T Stadium.
“Everybody underestimated us coming into this game,” Cedar Hill junior wide receiver DaMarkus Lodge said. “We came out with the win and proved everybody wrong.”
Cedar Hill won the second state football title in school history, both under head coach Joey McGuire, in a rematch of last year’s title game.
The win also gave the Dallas-Fort Worth area five state champions — Aledo, Allen, Argyle, Cedar Hill and Denton Guyer — with a sweep of the 5A and 4A titles for the first time since 2005.
In a game of runs, Cedar Hill (14-2) had the final and most emphatic surge.
It had surrendered a 10-point lead late in the second quarter with three quick Katy scores, capped by a 77-yard fumble recovery by JoVanni Stewart that gave Katy a 21-10 halftime lead.
Katy (15-1) drove to the Cedar Hill 7-yard line on its first drive of the second half before a 25-yard field goal by Manny Mendoza made it a two-touchdown game.
Lodge, however, wouldn’t let Katy go quietly.
On a fourth-and-3 on Cedar Hill’s 38, Lodge broke free on just his second rushing attempt of the night, scoring on a 62-yard touchdown run — and bringing his team back to life.
“We felt like he was the best player on the field, and that’s what we needed to do,” McGuire said. “He made a huge play on that fourth down.”
Cedar Hill’s defense stiffened on the next two Katy drives, first thwarting running back Rodney Anderson on a fourth-and-1 attempt at midfield and later blocking a Katy punt.
TaDarrian Luster blocked and recovered a feeble punt attempt by Devin McFarland, who let the deep snap go through his hands. The block gave Cedar Hill the ball at Katy’s 13, and Brooks Ralph chipped away at the deficit with a 25-yard field goal, drawing Cedar Hill within 24-19.
“It came down to everybody doing their job and staying with the game plan,” Cedar Hill defensive end Xavier Washington said.
At that point, things to a turn for the bizarre — with Katy’s winning mystique crumbling in the game’s final minutes.
On the subsequent drive, Katy running back Kyle Porter fumbled on an inside trap, the ball stripped by Washington, named the defensive MVP. Kyle Goss scooped the ball up and would have scored, had he not stumbled and fallen at the Katy 36.
Aca’cedric Ware rushed for 32 yards on the next play, setting up Justin McMillan’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Lodge — who tiptoed at the goal line while make a tough catch. Lodge’s score gave Cedar Hill its first lead in the second half, padded by a successful two-point conversion on a trick play — and pass — from Tuvarius Walker to Mason Ruzicka.
The coup de grace came on the following kickoff, when Katy returner Tony Mullins fumbled twice, with Cedar Hill’s Aaron Lewis recovering on the 16-yard line.
Aca’cedric Ware, who finished with 131 yards on 16 carries, scored six plays later on a 4-yard run, giving Cedar Hill a two-score lead with 3:17 remaining.
Follow Corbett Smith on Twitter at @corbettsmithDMN.