Submitted from Athletics
Riding a 16-game playoff win streak, South Oak Cliff High School is vying for a third consecutive appearance in the state championship as it faces Frisco Emerson High School on Friday at The Star in Frisco.
The Golden Bears advanced to 12-2 on the season, dominating Lucas Lovejoy High School 42-0 in the regional final at Choctaw Stadium last Saturday. The ground game spearheaded the offense, while the defense secured crucial fourth-down stops, limiting Lovejoy to only 118 yards passing to keep the Leopards off the scoreboard.
“We’re just trying to play our best game each week,” said Jason Todd, SOC’s head coach, following the win over Lovejoy. “Last year, we got up big on them, and they scored some points late. Coming in, we said we were going to play all 48 minutes and never let up. They did what they were capable of doing. Hopefully, we can bottle that up for next week.”
South Oak Cliff has clinched four consecutive playoff wins this season, including victories over Everman, Melissa, and Midlothian Heritage. The only setbacks for SOC this season came against the 2022 6A state champions, Duncanville and DeSoto, who are still contenders in the playoffs.
With just one more win needed, SOC aims to return to the state 5A Division II championship game, where they previously defeated Liberty Hill in 2021 and Port Neches Groves in 2022. The opponent from the other side of the bracket will emerge from the Friday night clash at Cy-Fair Stadium near Houston.
In 2021, the Golden Bears secured the first state championship for Dallas ISD since 1958 and the first UIL state championship since 1950. Last year, they became the district’s first repeat champion. Now, they seek to become just the eighth school in the UIL’s top two classifications to win at least three consecutive state titles since 1980, when Class 5A was established.
However, their path to a three-peat must first navigate past Emerson, led by head coach Kendall Miller, a Dallas ISD product who assumed his first head coaching position in 2009 at South Oak Cliff. Miller guided the Golden Bears to a 26-9 record in three seasons. A three-sport athlete at Skyline High School, Miller became the inaugural coach at Emerson when the school opened in 2021, departing from his post at Garland Lakeview Centennial. His father is a former head football coach at Samuell High School.
Emerson and athletic quarterback Michael Hawkins have reached the semifinals with playoff victories over Grapevine, Canutillo, Rider, and Colleyville Heritage. Emerson opened the season with wins over Hillcrest and Woodrow Wilson and holds a 12-2 record. Emerson’s losses came against Argyle and Lake Dallas.
“We need everybody out there and pack that thing out, kind of like it’s a (Dallas) Cowboys’ practice or game. We need to show Frisco how Dallas gets behind South Oak Cliff and keep this thing going.”
Kickoff between South Oak Cliff and Emerson is at 7 p.m. at The Star in Frisco. Advance tickets are now on sale at https://tickets.friscoisd.org. Prices are $12 for adults and $10 for students. All tickets will increase at the gate.