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Red Oak senior CJ Palmer carried the load and the offense for the Hawks during a 29-21 upset victory against No. 8 South Oak Cliff on Friday.

Red Oak upsets No. 8 South Oak Cliff to take control of 6-5A

By Travis M. Smith | KBEC Sports

CJ Palmer and the Red Oak offense capitalized on several South Oak Cliff miscues to upset the eighth-ranked team in 5A on Friday night.

Though there are still six regular-season games to play, the 28-21 victory against No. 8 South Oak Cliff and a favorable schedule down the stretch have the Hawks in the driver’s seat to win the District 6-5A championship.

“When we come out with the right mindset, we can win anything,” Palmer told KBEC Sports after the win. “If we keep on coming out like this and giving it all that we got, we can win anything.”

“[…] I love this team. Our goal is to win state. Watch out for Red Oak.”

Though sweet, the victory didn’t come easy for the Hawks in the KBEC Sports Game of the Week. The Hawks did remain disciplined, however, and made the most of 16 Golden Bear penalties for 110 yards and four turnovers on the evening.

The Red Oak offense amassed just 187 total yards during the victory, a far cry from the 352 total yards compiled by the Golden Bears.

Palmer, though, had himself quite the game for Red Oak, as the senior running back carried the football a game-high 22 times for 117 and two touchdowns.

Palmer looks for a crease Friday night against No. 8 SOC. (Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports)

Palmer scored the first of his two touchdowns on a 55-yard scamper with 3:28 to play in the second quarter. That touchdown run put the Hawks up 21-14, which held through the end of the first half.

The score was later equalized when Cam Davis rushed in from 3 yards out to tie the game at 21-all with 6:50 remaining in the third quarter.

The SOC defense then did its part to stop the ensuing eight-play Red Oak drive and force a punt. But a costly muffed punt was recovered by the Hawks and put Red Oak in business at the 3-yard line of the Golden Bears.

Two rushes by Palmer later and Red Oak was on top, 28-21, with 3:20 to play in the third quarter.

It looked as though Palmer and the Hawks offense would add to their lead late in the fourth quarter, needing just five plays and two defensive penalties to move inside the 5-yard line of the Golden Eagles with under six minutes to play in the ball game.

Palmer was stuffed on third- and fourth-down-and-1, forcing the Hawks to turn the football over on downs.

The talented Red Oak defense promptly forced a three-and-out of the SOC offense and eventually watched Elijah Shaw intercept a Rodney Hudson pass late in the fourth quarter to seal the 28-21 upset victory.

Red Oak head coach Chris Ross stalks the sidelines during Friday’s 28-21 victory against South Oak Cliff. (Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports)

“All it is right now is that we are 1-0 and that’s where our focus has to be,” Red Oak head football coach Chris Ross said. “South Oak Cliff has owned this district, so its a big win for our kids and this area. I am extremely proud of our kids and how they performed tonight.”

Ross added, “Our guys know how to fight for four quarters. Did we play a perfect game? No, we did not. We made lots of mistakes but, ultimately, the kids did what they needed to do to win the football game.”


Red Oak junior quarterback Joshua Ervin got the scoring started when he completed a 35-yard touchdown pass to Raymond Gay with 6:05 to play in the first quarter.

Joshua Ervin avoids the pass rush and looks downfield. (Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports)

Ervin finished the game 3-of-10 for 58 yards with one touchdown and one interception.


Coby Cavil added an electric 94-yard kickoff return to put the Hawks up 14-6 with 5:30 to go in the first half. He also pulled in two passes for 23 yards.

Hudson led SOC with 154 passing yards on 8-of-19 through the air with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also rushed 15 times for 95 yards and one score.


Red Oak will enjoy a hard-earned bye week and return to action at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 at home against Dallas Thomas Jefferson.


All photos by Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports


Fred Phipps/KBEC Sports contributed to this report. 


Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith


About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith is the owner and content director of Ellis County Sports and has over a decade of award-winning sports coverage. He most recently served as the digital sports director for KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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