DALLAS — Horace Bradshaw might be South Oak Cliff’s biggest fan, but he should be.
He played football there. His two siblings played there. His mother and father were alums and his son is a wide receiver on the team and set to graduate in May.
“I got the helmet from the 1999 year,” Bradshaw said. “I have the flag that we run out of the tunnel with from game to game. I got my son’s picture on me and I got a mask. Representing South Oak Cliff all day long.”
But Bradshaw wasn’t even alive the last time the team made it this far in the state playoffs and his parents were still in elementary school.
“It’s been a long time coming for South Oak Cliff,” he said.
A week after beating 10-time champs Aledo, the team blew out Lovejoy on Saturday 42-21 in a game that was never close.
Now, they have their first semifinals appearance since 1970. It’s the district’s first team to make it this far since 2014.
Dallas ISD hasn’t had a UIL state champ since 1950. Booker T Washington won in 1958, when the Prairie View Interscholastic League existed before integration. Dallas Carter won in 1988 but that title was forfeited after an investigation into a grade change for a player on the team.
“Got to good team to get ready for next week,” South Oak Cliff Head Coach Jason Todd said after the win Saturday. “No time to celebrate. Got to get back, get ready and focused.”
Brianna Hogg works at SOC and is the secretary of the "Bear Cave" alumni group.
“I feel amazing. I feel great! Like I lost my voice after the game,” Hogg said. “This is legacy. This is history makers.”
To outsiders, SOC is a Cinderella team trying to avoid midnight but not here.
“They thought because we’re an inner-city team we couldn’t do it, but we’re proving that the impossible is possible,” Bradshaw said.
South Oak Cliff is a community as tight knit as its team.
“It feels real good that all of Dallas and DISD have supported South Oak Cliff,” Bradshaw said. “It feels great that they could come out and 10,000 go away to Frisco to see the team.”
All bandwagon fans are welcome -- even if they don’t bring their own flag.
“You see students coming together, creating signs. You see teachers coming together, supporting students,” Hogg said. “Seeing the community supporting them, the city, seeing mayor Johnson with his towel just waving around everywhere, it was a beautiful thing."