ARLINGTON, Texas (KXAN) — Liberty Hill’s dream season ended just short of a state championship. South Oak Cliff claimed the 5A Division 2 state championship with a 23-14 win. The Bears broke a 14-14 tie in the fourth quarter, scoring twice while shutting out the Panthers in the second half.
South Oak Cliff is Dallas ISD’s first football state champions since 1950. Dallas Carter won the state championship in 1988, but that title was stripped following an investigation that ruled Carter used ineligible players.
The Panthers returned to the state title game for the first time since 2018.
After an 8-2 regular season, the Panthers defeated Bastrop 57-7, Boerne-Champion 51-14, Leander Rouse 56-33, Alamo Heights 43-40, and Crosby 42-14 to make it to the 5A Division II state championship game.
Liberty Hill played inspired football with the slogan — “Walker Tough”. The Panthers’ former head coach Jeff Walker passed away from cancer before the team’s playoff run in 2020. Walker’s brother Kent took over as head coach, leading Liberty Hill to the state semifinals in 2020 and the state title game in 2021.
Liberty Hill won state championships in 2006 and 2007.
This live blog will be updated with highlights, news and notes during the Liberty Hill-South Oak Cliff state championship game.
Liberty Hill vs. South Oak Cliff live blog
SOC WINS: Liberty Hill fumbled the ensuing kickoff after the South Oak Cliff touchdown, and that will seal it for the Bears.
South Oak Cliff wins its first-ever state championship. This is Dallas ISD’s first UIL state championship since 1950. Dallas Carter won the state championship in 1988, but that title was stripped following an investigation that ruled Carter used ineligible players.
FINAL: South Oak Cliff defeats Liberty Hill 23-14
GAME WINNER?: After the fake punt, SOC wasn’t just running out the clock. The Bears strike with a Qualon Farrar rushing touchdown for a two-score lead over Liberty Hill with less than three minutes to go.
It’s been a great season for Liberty Hill, but it will likely end just short of a state championship.
SCORE: South Oak Cliff leads 23-14
FOURTH DOWN: Liberty Hill facing a must-convert situation with less than five minutes to go in the game. The Panthers faced fourth down at its own 30-yard line. Instead of punting back to SOC, Liberty Hill attempted the fake punt. Liberty Hill appeared to convert, but a holding penalty pushed the Panthers back to 4th-and-16.
Liberty Hill went for it again with a fake punt. The pass attempt fell incomplete. SOC is in position to win its first state title.
FIELD GOAL: South Oak Cliff is back in front as we head down the stretch of the 5A Division 2 state title game.
SOC kicker Diego Varela hits a 29-yard field goal for a 17-14 Bears lead with 8:30 left in the fourth quarter.
SCORE: South Oak Cliff leads 17-14
WILD PLAY ALERT: After all of this…the ball fell incomplete.
SPECIAL TEAMS STRUGGLES: Liberty Hill misses its second field goal of the game. The third-quarter attempt would’ve given the Panthers the 17-14 lead.
STILL FIGHTING: Liberty Hill handled SOC’s first punch and countered with an excellent second quarter, tying the game at 14 in the final seconds of the first half.
Andon Thomas scores his second touchdown of the day from the 1-yard line. Liberty Hill is back in business.
SCORE: South Oak Cliff and Liberty Hill tied at 14
MOMENTUM: It took Liberty Hill’s offense some time to get adjusted, but it’s clicking in the second quarter.
Joe Pitchford breaks loose for a 62-yard run down the left sideline. Liberty Hill is in business at the SOC 4-yard line with a minute to go in the half.
PIVOTAL ANSWER: Liberty Hill is on the board.
Andon Thomas bullies through the South Oak Cliff defense for a 10-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter. Liberty Hill desperately needed a score with the state title game potentially slipping away. It’s a new ballgame with four minutes to go in the half.
SCORE: South Oak Cliff leads 14-7
DIME: South Oak Cliff’s Kevin-Henry Jennings and Jamyri Cauley linked up for the touchdown of the state championsip weekend. Henry-Jennings threw to the corner of the end zone where only Cauley could catch it. The sophomore receiver didn’t disappoint, diving for the touchdown.
Liberty Hill is in a big hole, trailing SOC 14-0.
SCORE: South Oak Cliff leads 14-0
BACK ON TRACK: Liberty Hill’s Slot-T offense doesn’t get stopped often, but SOC was up to the challenge on the Panthers’ first drive, forcing a three-and-out.
The Panthers put together a strong second drive, moving to the Bears’ 14-yard line before missing a 36-yard field goal. A fast first quarter ends with South Oak Cliff leading 7-0.
SCORE: South Oak Cliff leads Liberty Hill 7-0.
TD SOC: South Oak Cliff is on the board during the first drive of the game. Liberty Hill just couldn’t stop the Bears on the third and fourth down. Corinthean Coleman catches SOC’s first-ever state championship game touchdown.
SCORE: South Oak Cliff leads 7-0
FAST START: Neither team is holding anything back during the first moments of the 5A Division 2 championship game. Liberty Hill was unsuccessful in an onside kick attempt on the opening kick off.
South Oak Cliff converted on 4th-and-6 to keep its first drive alive.