Panthers Victorious in State Championship Over North Shore
State Championship Game


Duncanville High School Panthers are 6A-D1 State Championships after winning in Saturday's game against North Shore Mustangs, 28-21. For the fourth time in the past five years, the Panthers and Mustangs have met at the championship game, but the Panthers didn't secure a win previously.

In the past, the two teams faced in 2018, 2019, and 2021 in state championship games, and now again in 2022: but it's the fourth time that was the charm for the Panthers. With the victory, Duncanville wins its second championship in school history, and head coach Reginald Samples gains his first championship win after having a perfect 15-0 season 2022-2023. Samples, as a high school football coach,  has had a career of more than 30 years with over 300 career wins as head coach. The victory over such a tough rival has proud such pride to the DHS Athletic department. "It's such an amazing experience, for Coach Samples, for the players, for all of his coaches; this team is the hardest working team in Texas," says Interim Athletic Direct Kenya Landers-Larkin. 

Coach Samples didn't go into the game without being cautious about the talent of the opposing team. "They've got a lot of good players. Our hope is that we play our best game," explains Samples. "I just knew that if we played a good game like we've played against other teams like DeSoto, like South Oak Cliff, like Waxahachie, then we would have a chance to win."

State Championship Game

It wasn't just the strategic coaching by Samples that won this championship game; it was also the effort of the players that led this team to its historic victory. Players Caden Durham and Keelon Russell scored four rushing touchdowns and lockdown defense in the second half to block out the Mustangs from a victory. Russell's 88-yard touchdown put the Panthers ahead early in the second quarter, 14-0. North Shore responded with two touchdowns of their own to tie the game. Coach Samples is not surprised at all by the talent displayed by his players. 

State Championship Game

In the second half of the game, the team shined and locked out their opponents to gain more scores. In the third quarter, Durham scored a 9-yard touchdown, and Colin Simmons led the Panthers' defense to keep the Mustangs from scoring in the second half of the game. Durham's diligent work in the game and the payoff caused to reflect on what it took to win. "It took trusting my whole line. It took trusting my coaches. It took trusting my whole team. We stood and stayed together, and we won," says Simmons. 

Head Coach Samples gives the credit to his team of coaches for those winning plays. "I have to give credit to my coaches," Samples said. " North Shore's coaching staff does a good job. They were doing some things with some formation, and the [players] didn't pick it up. It was new, and we hadn't prepared for it. Once we got in at half-time, we got on the board and made some adjustments. We started playing better. We had kids out of place to their formation. We made adjustments, and our kids responded." 

The community of Duncanville ISD is beyond proud of Samples and the Panther team. Superintendent Dr. Marc Smith expressed his pride after defeating a major football rival in the State Championship game. "I am so happy for Coach Samples, the team, and the players who put in such hard work," says Smith. "I can't tell how good a feeling it is to see [Samples] win this state championship."

After winning the game, defensive player Colin Simmons won defensive player for 6A-D1. "It feels good! We're in the AT&T Stadium. For me to come out here on the big stage and me winning Defensive MVP, it means a lot," says Simmons. "We've fought, argued, all of that, but that's what families do, but they get over those humps, they get over those lumps, and they're disciplined." 

Here's to next year, boys.