ARLINGTON - It was the matchup we all wanted. And while the end did not have the theatrics of last year, it still had some big moments as North Shore was able to assert itself defensively in the second half to a 31-17 win over Duncanville to claim its second straight 6A DI state championship.
In the first half, the teams traded blows and it was clear it was an evenly contested matchup. As Duncanville was with Ja'Quinden Jackson and North Shore without Zach Evans, other playmakers had to step up. Duncanville (15-1) relied on Roderick Daniels to ignite its offense and lessen the burden on freshman quarterback Chris Parson, who was making his first high school start.
North Shore turned to Dematrius Davis, who made crucial plays with his arms and legs all game long.
After going into the break tied at 17, North Shore (15-1) completely put the clamp down defensively with the tide turning all the way in its favor after recovering a botched snap on a Duncanville punt. Four plays later, North Shore retook the lead.
Duncanville could only muster 42 yards of offense as the North Shore defense began to key in on the Duncanville run game and force Parson to make plays through the air.
With the game in the balance in the fourth quarter, North Shore iced it as Davis hit Charles King on a 44-yard touchdown to seal the victory for North Shore. Duncanville bit on the slot receiver, leaving King wide open for the score and the game.
Charles King wiiiiiiiide open! North Shore takes a two-score lead! #UILState pic.twitter.com/Y0mDJXePXs
— Dave Campbell's Texas Football — TexasFootball.com (@dctf) December 22, 2019
Duncanville turned the ball over on downs on the ensuing possession, sealing the game and the title for North Shore.
North Shore's Zach Evans is considered by the national recruiting pundits as a 5-Star running back.
He is the most coveted recruit in the country.
On the eve of the Class 6A DI State Title Game against Duncanville, Evans was sent back home to Houston.
The news started hitting social media this morning and rumors were a plenty.
The North Shore Mustangs were asked to give up their phones last night to focus on their much-anticipated rematch with Duncanville.
Everyone complied. Zach Evans did not.
He was asked repeatedly. He would not.
Knowing coach Jon Kay, athletic director Vivian Dancy and superintendent Dr. Angi Williams, every "I" was "dotted" and every "T" was crossed. Galena Park ISD is first class and always does the "right" thing.
According to sources close to the situation, the decision went up the chain-of-command and the decision was made. Zach Evans, the nation's top recruit, was sent home.
Keep in mind, this is not an isolated incident. Evans was suspended earlier in the season for three games. It was handled in-house.
What Jon Kay, Vivian Dancy and Dr. Angi Williams did last night should be applauded by every high school coach in the state.
If the No. 1 player in the country can be suspended for the Class 6A DI State Title Game, then anyone can. It sets the entire tone for the overall program. No wonder the 'Stangs are so successful.
It starts at the top. These coaches do EVERYTHING in their power to help their student-athletes. The hours away from their families are countless. They are more than fair. They don't do it for the money. They are fearless in teaching life lessons to kids that some parents are afraid to do.
One player does not make a team. There is no "I" in team. No one is bigger than the team. Team, team, team!
Evans didn't comply.
Coaches in every sport regardless of gender preaches this every day. EVERY DAY!
Don't get it twisted. This is a gut-wrenching decision for a coach. It will keep you up at night. It probably did for Jon Kay, his assistants and the rest of his team.
North Shore is the beacon of light for Houston's rough-and-tumble #Eastside. Now it might be the guiding light for the entire state as they make the right decision on the biggest stage.
And it has nothing to do with X's and O's.