Apr 13, 2021
07 Dec, 2023
Claude Mathis is “that” dude and DeSoto High School has become “that” program.
The Eagles face Southlake Carroll in an epic matchup Saturday at 2 pm in Allen Stadium for the right to advance to the Class 6A DII State Final.
DeSoto “U” will be there with all their swagger, their star players and their State Title rings from a year ago.
DeSoto holds the title that the rest of Texas is chasing.
It has taken some time for Mathis to climb to the top of the Texas high school mountain -- after previous stints at Sommerville, Austin LBJ, DeSoto (previously), University of Houston (RB coach) and Marshall -- but he’s been back at DeSoto and isn’t taking the pedal off the gas.
“When they hired me here, they knew I was a disciplinarian,” Mathis said. “We are going to be a discipline football team, if not, you aren’t going to win a lot of ball games. The kids know the rules, because me and the staff remind them every day. We keep our players humble and we keep the pressure on them to be disciplined. We don’t let up, ever.”
After winning his first state title in 2022, Mathis has the Eagles and the community wanting more… including himself.
“In the world we are in today, people judge me on state championships,” he said. “I was the first African American coach to win a Class 6A State Championship. That was last year. A few hours later, Coach (Reginald) Samples did it at Duncanville. A lot of coaches can win one state championship, but not many have won two or certainly not back-to-back. Those are things that stick out to me. I don’t talk about it much, but I want that for myself. To show other African American coaches that they can do it too.
“It takes a lot for all this to happen. It’s about this team, this coaching staff and all the great people and administration that surround and support this program. Winning is about all of us.”
South Dallas is loaded. DeSoto, Duncanville and South Oak Cliff have been dominating Texas football of late.
“I credit to some great coaching and great young men who are playing the game at a high level right now,” he said. “All of our goals are to win s State Championships. You can see the great classes coming through our junior highs, but you can also see when there may be a class that is not as talented. You just have to continue to adjust and we have in the I-20 corridor.”
This is one of those special classes.
QB Darius Bailey (Sam Houston-commit) has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards and 38 scores. He hands the ball to Marvin Duffey (1,370 yards) and Tiger Riden (National Recruit). WRs Daylon Singleton (SMU) and Antonio Pride are the big-play pass-catchers on the outside. The OL is led by Ronnel McLain (UH) and Byron Washington, among others.
“What’s good about our team is that we have dogs at every position,” he said. “Iron sharpens iron here. On offense, it’s DJ (Bailey), Tiger and our offensive line. On defense, Brandon Booker, Keylan Abrams and Marshall Kirvenare the alphas.”
They will have their hands full against one of the most decorated programs in the history of Texas – Southlake Carroll – which has won eight state titles.
“The keys for us will be to just continue the way we are playing,” he said. “We have to score on offense, keep the penalties down, know our alignments, stop their run and tackle well. The experience of winning state last year has helped us along the way this season.
“But I tell the team that they aren’t going to see any better and tougher competition than they see every day in practice,” he said.
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Jeff Riordan built the Code Red brand at Crosby High School in east Houston years back, bringing a winning vibe to the Cougar program.
He's done the same at Chapel Hill with Code Blue. Riordan has built a power program that has been to the State Semis the past three seasons. This year they face Davenport for the right to play in the State Finals a week from now.
VYPE's Matt Malatesta caught up with Riordan on the eve on the State Semis.
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07 Dec, 2023
To the surprise of no one, the state superpower Westlake is back in the Final Four of the Class 6A-Division I championship bracket.
And it is no surprise that they face North Shore... again. This will be a rematch of last year’s State Semifinal match, in which the Chaps fell to the now Willie Gaston-led Mustangs by a score of 49-34.
However, the game-plan doesn’t change for Salazar and company.
“I’ve reflected on the game from last year, watching the game film, and it was the big plays that killed us. We played well, but when they had a big play it went for a touchdown, and you can’t do that against a good team like them."
Per the usual, after entering the district portion of their schedule, the Chaparrals have gone on a rampage in the Texas high school football scene.
It all begins with their stingy defense, which has allowed a mere 9.7 points per game entering the State Semis, and features the likes of Judson Crockett (Sr. DB), Elliot Schaper (Jr. LB), Denim Collins (Sr. DB), Caden Boenig (Sr. DL) and Cullen Devine (Jr. DL).
“I think we’ve been very complementary of each other all year long,” said coach Tony Salazar. “Our defense tends to start up fast, which makes it that much easier on our offense because of the short fields and quick touchdowns, and from there we keep it rolling.”
Speaking of offense, the emergence of sophomore QB Rees Wise has been one of the more exciting developments this Fall.
Since stepping on the field in Week No. 4, Wise has thrown for nearly 2,000 yards through the air, with over 400 yards on the ground, and 30 total touchdowns on the year.
“We needed a little spark in the first game against Lake Travis, and we put him (Wise) in there and he provided it,” said Salazar. “From there, our football team has gained confidence in the young quarterback, and obviously he has delivered.”
Of course, he hasn’t done it all by himself on the offensive side of the ball.
It can’t hurt to have the second all-time leading rusher for the Chaparrals, senior RB Jack Kayser (1119 yds/19 TDs in 2023), with you in the backfield.
“It’s no secret that our offense runs through Kayser,” Salazar said. “He’s small in stature but he’s big on game. He’s just a workhorse who shows up every week ready to work, and he’s the energizer bunny who we look to for the big plays.”
With a holistic approach to this State Semi, the Chaps know the assignment.
"We have to protect the football, capitalize in the red-zone, control the line of scrimmage and tackle effectively on defense," Salazar said. "If we can also eliminate the types of plays that lead to points, then I like the chances of the Chaparrals being around next week.”
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