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Waxahachie hangs 39, defense corrals Cedar Hill Longhorns to open ‘District of Doom’ slate

By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports

CEDAR HILL — Eighty-three yards. 

If that number doesn’t seem like much, it’s because it’s not. Yet, 83 yards is what the Waxahachie defense allowed in the second half against host Cedar Hill in a 39-21 statement on Friday at Longhorn Stadium.

There are a dozen ways to spin the statistics that came from the (4-0, 1-0) Waxahachie win in its District 11-6A opener.

Waxahachie was ultimately outgained 246 total yards to 194, though both teams combined for just 134 second-half yards. There were also 23 accepted penalties for 189 total yards.

But that Waxahachie defense…boy.

The Indian defense forced four Longhorn turnovers and scored touchdowns on all four. Two of those scores were the result of defensive returns.

Waxahachie started its 32-0 scoring onslaught with a 47-yard Ramon McKinney Jr. touchdown run with 6:53 to play in the second quarter. The touchdown run came two plays after a fumble by Cedar Hill third-string quarterback Kyler Granville-Gilbert. It also pulled the Tribe within an extra point, 14-13. The attempt sailed wide right. 

McKinney Jr. finished with 7 carries for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns rushing while also adding 36 yards and 1 touchdown to 1 interception on 3-of-8 passing. 

The ensuing Cedar Hill possession saw the Longhorn offense use 11 plays to march inside the Indian red zone as the second-half clock ran under 60 seconds. 

Thanks largely to pressure by Jermy Jackson Jr., De’Marion Cooper then picked off a Granville-Gilbert pass and used incredible down-field blocking to return the football 94 yards for a 20-14 halftime lead for the Indians.

Cedar Hill outgained the Waxahachie offense 163 total yards to 143, with 126 of those coming through the air. 

Granville-Gilbert completed 10-of-his-13 passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns to the one pick-six interception. Behind McKinney Jr.’s 94 yards, the Indians outrushed the Longhorns 129 yards to 37. 

The Longhorns received the second-half kick and promptly faced a punting situation.

As he’s done weekly, Jackson Jr. left his official mark on the game by returning the ensuing blocked punt 27 yards to extend the Indian lead to 26-13 with 9:08 to play in the third quarter. 

At that point, the rout was on and momentum was in hand for the Tribe.

McKinney Jr. added a 14-yard rushing touchdown to cap a 5-play, 39-yard drive. 

Running back Ta’Modrick Davis-Robinson followed with a 1-yard score to extend the Waxahachie lead to 39-14 as the game headed into the fourth quarter. His touchdown came after junior defensive back Michael Esparza Jr. snagged his first interception of the season at the 2:40 mark of the third quarter. Esparza Jr. has filtered into a larger role after playing in 5 games as a sophomore. 

Cedar Hill added a useless touchdown as time expired for the 39-21 final. 

LAST TIME OUT

Under third-year head coach Shane Tolleson, the Waxahachie defensive unit has allowed just 28 points over 6 first-half quarters. Cedar Hill has not scored in the third quarter but has “piled on” 28 points in the fourth quarter of those three matchups.

The Indians led 51-7 after three quarters in 2022, ultimately winning 51-21. The Longhorns won 14-10 in come-from-behind fashion in the final seconds of their nail-biting homecoming win in 2021. 

The long-feared Longhorns are a longshot at this point in rivalry. 

As for this season, Waxahachie defeated Grand Prairie 24-3 in the Tribe’s final non-district tune-up. 

Cedar Hill had losses against Rockwall (56-21) and Southlake Carroll (31-6) sandwiched around a road win versus Arlington Martin (33-2). 

UP NEXT

Waxahachie will quickly shift its focus to No. 3 (3-0, 1-0) DeSoto. The game will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium. 

_____

Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

tsmith@elliscosports.com

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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