ROASTED! DeSoto's defense leaves Cedar Hill picking up peanuts

"DeSoto who?"

That's the phrase Cedar Hill players chanted as they exited their warm up huddle.

The taunt didn't have much effect.

However, that question -- "DeSoto who?" -- was more valid than you might think. The same could be said with regards to Cedar Hill.

After all, what we saw during this year's rivalry game didn't even come close to resembling your average "Battle of The Beltline."

Which is kind of fitting, considering that's no longer the formal name of this rivalry... seemingly.

Now we have the Peanut Bowl.

The Peanut Bowl? The Peanut Bowl.

DeSoto and Cedar Hill have combined for an average of 67 points in the last five installments of this annual home-and-home series.

On Friday night, the scoreboard showed... well... peanuts by comparison.

The Eagles and Longhorns combined for just 28 points, tied for the second lowest scoring total in the 12-year history of the battle. The high-flying, high-scoring antics we wanted were nowhere to be seen.

In a defensive showdown that didn't see its first score until late in the second quarter, No. 4 DeSoto outlasted Cedar Hill 21-7. Eagles' running back Kelan Walker, receiving his first touches since DeSoto's season opener against Jesuit, ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries.

“That was his first game back,” DeSoto head coach Todd Peterman said postgame. “I wasn’t going to play him tonight, but I looked in his eyes and said, 'Are you ready?' And he was ready to go.”

Quarterback Courtney Douglas completed 10-of-18 passes for 157 yards and a score. Wide receiver La'Vontae Shenault hauled in that scoring pass, along with four others for 76 yards receiving. Three other DeSoto receivers caught passes, all of whom averaged 16 yards per catch.

Cedar Hill QB Yizalle Whitfield completed 11 passes for 115 yards despite effective pass coverage shown by the Eagles' secondary. WR Josh Fleeks was limited to 15 yards on two catches. Zakhari Franklin caught six passes for a team-leading 86 receiving yards. RB Cameron Fleming rushed for 93 yards on eight carries while Quin Bright rushed for the Longhorns' only score.

"It's defense," Peterman said. "Both teams had really, really really good defenses. They left some points on the board, I felt we left 21 on the board."

Peterman may have been onto something. DeSoto and Cedar Hill combined for a total of 10 drives that ended in the opponent's territory without a score, including two stops in the redzone.

What was more shocking? The amount of yellow laundry on the field.

Flags were flying everywhere. That's not surprising for a heated rivalry such as this, but they seemed to come at the worst moments.

Penalties cost Cedar Hill dearly. Whenever the Eagles were on their heels, the officials became their best friends. DeSoto was given more help than it needed.

"We had multiple drives stopped by penalties," Peterman said, "but we did have some drives extended by penalties as well. But I bet if you add them up, I bet it's a balance of a zero."

Not quite.

DeSoto was penalized seven times for 53 yards. Bad, but not bad enough to cost the Eagles the game.

Cedar Hill on the other hand...

Nine penalties for 107 yards. Ouch.

But the Longhorns' offense was penalized only once – a block in the back call that negated a 45-yard touchdown run. Cedar Hill never moved itself back, but couldn't help but move DeSoto forward all game long.

The best example came near the middle of the third quarter.

After stopping the Eagles on third and short inside their own 10-yard line, DeSoto was forced to punt.

The ball was snapped and chaos ensued

A flag came out near the kicker. A flag came out where the ball was caught. A flag came out where the returner was brought down.

Aww nuts.

Roughing the kicker on Cedar Hill gave DeSoto a first down. Two personal fouls, including a targeting penalty and ejection, tacked on an extra 20 yards, moving the Eagles up to the 35. Another personal foul was called two plays later. And before the drive finished with a DeSoto touchdown, two pass interference calls on Cedar Hill had also been handed out.

The Longhorns gifted the Eagles over 60 yards in one drive. Mind you, the series should've ended all the way back at the 10.

But the game wasn't officiated to death. Both DeSoto and Cedar Hill made some nice defensive stands.

Early in the second quarter, DeSoto got stuck on Cedar Hill's goal line after Longhorns' defensive tackle Shabazz Dotson levied two huge tackles on RB Dylan Lawrence and a scrambling Douglas. Dotson was a force for Cedar Hill all night.

The Eagles later returned the favor, stopping the Longhorns at the 3-yard line in a jumbo set. Cornerback Gemon Green also hauled in an interception.

Much like the sudden fall temperatures, a defensive battle was a welcomed change of scene.

Both of these teams will be heading to the playoffs. Let's hope they're storing some nuts for winter.

Twitter: @ReeceKelleyG

 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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