Late fumble by Aledo sends South Oak Cliff to upset win, ends 3-year state title run

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Dallas South Oak Cliff gave all Aledo could handle on Friday.

But with the game on the line and the ball in the red zone, an Aledo fumble sent SOC to an upset win.

Aledo fumbled away a fourth-and-1 snap at the SOC 14 with under a minute left and the Golden Bears upset the top-ranked and three-time defending state champ Bearcats, 33-28, in a Class 5A Division 2 regional round showdown at Newsom Stadium.

SOC (11-1), No. 5 in the 5A D2 state rankings, will play Friday night’s winner between Lucas Lovejoy and Mansfield Timberview in next week’s state quarterfinals.

Aledo (12-1) snaps a 23-game winning streak and had reached the state quarterfinal round in eight consecutive seasons. The Bearcats previously didn’t reach that round when they lost to Denton Guyer in the second round in 2012.

South Oak Cliff running back Ke’Undra Hollywood (12) gains yards up the middle during a high school Class 5A Division 2 Regional football game at Newsom Stadium in Mansfield, Texas, Friday Nov. 26, 2021. South Oak Cliff led 27-14 at the half. (Special to the Star-Telegram Bob Booth)
South Oak Cliff running back Ke’Undra Hollywood (12) gains yards up the middle during a high school Class 5A Division 2 Regional football game at Newsom Stadium in Mansfield, Texas, Friday Nov. 26, 2021. South Oak Cliff led 27-14 at the half. (Special to the Star-Telegram Bob Booth)

The Bearcats trailed 27-14 at halftime, but the Aledo defense held SOC to a punt on its first drive of the third quarter.

Aledo then drove 80 yards in 14 plays (11 carries), running over eight minutes off the clock, capped by a touchdown on fourth-and-6 from quarterback Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi to Texas commit BJ Allen.

The score cut the SOC lead to 27-21 with 2:24 left in the period.

Aledo trailed by that score entering the fourth quarter, only the second time that’s happened for the Bearcats this season. They trailed 21-20 against Timberview on Oct. 15 before winning 35-21.

It appeared to be headed that way again, when Aledo’s defense forced another SOC punt and took the lead on the ensuing drive. Running back Sammy Steffe rushed four times and Allen rushed the final three with his last resulting in a 6-yard touchdown that gave Aledo a 28-27 edge with 9:58 to go in the fourth.

But the Bears finally clicked at the right time.

The Bears answered the Aledo score with an 11-play drive capped off with an 18-yard touchdown pass and catch from quarterback Kevin Henry-Jennings to Randy Reece. On the drive, the Bears converted a fourth-and-6 and the go-ahead touchdown came on a third-and-12.

Aledo’s potential go-ahead drive lasted nearly four minutes and 11 plays. The Bearcats picked up three straight first downs and got to the SOC 14, but after a timeout on fourth-and-1 and in a goal-line jumbo package, Aledo couldn’t secure the snap and SOC recovered with 44 seconds on the clock.

The Bearcats beat out the Bears in nearly every category; rushing yards and total yards, first downs and time of possession, but SOC had two takeaways while Aledo had none.

Aledo got off the first punch when the Bearcats took the opening drive 79 yards in nine plays and killed nearly five minutes off the clock. Steffe shed off a tackle to score on a 27-yard touchdown on third down that gave the Bearcats a 7-0 lead with 7:11 left.

The Bearcats’ defense looked to stop South Oak Cliff on its first possession, but the Bears picked up 17 yards on a third-and-16. SOC would drive down the field for the game-tying score on a 2-yard run from Ke’Undra Hollywood with 3:32 to go in the period.

The SOC defense made the first stop on the next drive when Aledo had to punt.

South Oak Cliff took advantage and the lead, 14-7, on a 6-yard pass from Henry-Jennings to Jamyri Cauley on the first play of the second quarter.

Aledo marched down the field, eating up eight minutes before Steffe scored on his second touchdown run, from the 5 to tie the game at 14 with 3:49 left in the half.

Steffe had 94 yards on 17 carries in the first two quarters.

He finished with a game-high 197 yards on 32 carries.

But things went sour for Aledo to end the half when SOC scored two touchdowns in a 25-second span. The Bears took a 21-14 lead on a 3-yard run from Henry-Jennings, and then two plays into Aledo’s next drive, Adul Muhammad scored on a 38-yard pick-six.

The point after was no good and SOC led 27-14 with 1:41 left before intermission.

Aledo out-gained SOC in total yards, 359-281 and 240-111 on the ground.

Henry-Jennings threw for 170 yards on 10 of 18 passing. Fowler-Nicolosi was held to 119 yards on 10 of 14.

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