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Dallas ISD's Cinderella story: South Oak Cliff aims to be district's first football state champ in 63 years

SOC knocked off 10-time state champions Aledo this past week.

DALLAS — South Oak Cliff High School is starting to make Dallas believe.

This past weekend, the school’s football knocked off 10-time state champs Aledo to advance to fourth round of the UIL playoffs.

“It feels great,” Senior quarterback Kevin Henry-Jennings said. “Everyone around the school just supporting you, keep pushing, so it feels great.”

SOC is only one of the district’s 22 schools still alive in the playoffs.

“People have been hitting me up on social media telling me to keep going and keep pushing, doing for the Dallas ISD,” Henry-Jennings said.

Dallas ISD hasn’t won a state title since 1958 and hasn’t won a UIL title since 1950. Dallas Carter won in 1988 but that title was forfeited after an investigation into a grade change for a player on the team.

“The pressure is not even bothering them one bit,” Head Coach Jason Todd said. “I think they’re just treating it as another game of football that they’ve been blessed and allowed to see because of their hard work.”

Saturday, Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m. they’ll take on Lovejoy at The Star in Frisco. With a win, they’d be the first Dallas ISD team to even make the semi-final since Skyline in 2014. 

“We’re going to get the city and we’re going to put on a show for the City of Dallas,” Todd said. “They need to come out and support these kids.”

“Our coaches are always telling to keep our head on. Don’t let the hype get to us. Don’t let everybody around us get to us,” Junior defensive back and receiver Malik Muhammad said. “Just knowing that you’re going to come out and get love from all of Dallas. Man, that means a lot.”

Hope can be contagious. It started a practice field just east of I-35E, but it’s starting to spread across all of Dallas.

“Having the whole DISD on your back, that’s a big thing, a real big thing,” Henry-Jennings said.

“We wear it on our shirts. The end date is 12-18-2021. Anything besides that is just – it’s not the final goal,” Todd said. “I think these kids have what it takes to get the final job done this year.”