The 2022 Texas high school football state championship games were played in Arlington last week, and by the end of the weekend there were five recruits committed to the Texas Longhorns who left AT&T Stadium with state championship medals. Those added to the state championships won earlier this season by a pair of out-of-state Longhorn commits. Below are notes on each of those newly-minted 2022 state champions.
On Friday night, 2023 cornerback Malik “Manny” Muhammad and 2023 edge defender Billy Walton helped lead the defense of Dallas South Oak Cliff in the Class 5A Division II championship versus Port Neches-Groves. SOC trailed 17-12 at halftime, but its defense and special teams units stepped up afterwards, as PN-G’s first three possessions of the second half resulted in a safety, an interception that Muhammad returned 41 yards for a touchdown, and a turnover on downs on a 4th-and-2 play from the SOC 41-yard line with 9:37 left in the 4th quarter.
Hopefully the next four years will feature more Craig Way calls like this one.
PICK 6 FOR THE BEARS— BallySportsTXHS (@BallySportsTXHS) December 17, 2022
The @TexasFootball commit @Returnof7 puts more defensive points on the board!!!
@SOCGoldenBearFB : 31@pngindians_com : 17@uiltexas | @dallasathletics | #TXHSFB | : BSSW Extra pic.twitter.com/QYjj0QPswy
Those defensive heroics helped SOC come back from a 17-5 deficit late in the 2nd quarter to holding a 34-17 lead after a field goal made with 4:18 left in regulation. PN-G got its only points of the second half on a touchdown scored with 1:00 left in the 4th quarter, which cut SOC’s lead to 34-24. SOC recovered the onside kick attempt and kneeled out the rest of the clock.
Muhammad was named the Defensive MVP of the championship game, and he and Walton both took home their second state championship medals. The win was South Oak Cliff’s second consecutive state championship, and the Golden Bears became the first Dallas ISD team to win back-to-back state titles in football.
#Texas commits Malik Muhammad and Billy Walton completed their mission to go back-to-back. Next up, the duo heads to the 40 Acres.— Cole Patterson (@RivalsCole) December 17, 2022
“We are going to win big in Austin.” #HookEm @OBWire
➡️ https://t.co/QXWdA6gMFu pic.twitter.com/GStB3p9IQQ
On Saturday morning, 2024 cornerback Jaden Allen became a state champion for the second time in his high school career as well, as his Aledo team put a 52-14 beating on College Station in the 5A Division I state final. Aledo scored points on eight of its first nine possessions and led 45-0 at the end of the 3rd quarter. College Station was held to 271 offensive yards, about 115 of which was gained in the 4th quarter after Aledo had increased its lead to 52-0.
Allen was also a member of Aledo’s 2020 Class 5A Division II state championship team as a freshman. Aledo, which already held the Texas state record for championships in football, has now won eleven state titles in that sport, and eight of those teams had a future Longhorn on their roster.
Jaden Allen still has one more year of high school football left, and aside from him Aledo’s 2023 team is set to return its starting quarterback, its leading rusher, its top two tacklers, and a budding star in sophomore-to-be wide receiver Kaydon Finley, the son of former Texas Longhorn tight end star Jermichael Finley. It would surprise nobody at all if Aledo claims its 12th state championship trophy next year.
On Saturday afternoon, 2023 wide receiver Johntay Cook and 2023 running back Tre Wisner both played big roles in leading the DeSoto Eagles to a 42-17 win over Austin Vandegrift in the Class 6A Division II state final. Cook caught 4 passes for 110 yards and had a 42-yard touchdown on DeSoto’s first possession of the 2nd quarter that gave the Eagles a 7-3 lead. Cook’s touchdown came one play after a 43-yard reception by Wisner, which brought the ball from DeSoto’s 15-yard line to the Vandegrift 42. Wisner had 5 carries for 75 yards and also caught 6 passes for 135 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the game. Wisner’s first touchdown came less than two minutes after Cook’s and expanded DeSoto’s lead to 14-3. Wisner lined up in the slot and showed off his speed on the last touchdown of his high school career and the last touchdown of DeSoto’s 2022 season, a 62-yard reception with 10:37 left in the 4th quarter that made the score 42-17.
With his 210 yards from scrimmage, Wisner outgained the Vandegrift offense by himself, as the Eagle defense limited Vandegrift to 206 total yards. After transferring to DeSoto from Class 4A program Waco Connally (where he had been his district’s co-Offensive MVP as a junior in 2021), he was one cog in a talented DeSoto backfield and didn’t get a ton of carries, but he finished the year with just under 1,300 yards from scrimmage and scored 11 total touchdowns. Cook had 86 catches for 1,478 yards and 22 touchdowns in DeSoto’s 14-2 season, which brought to 50 his total number of touchdown catches in three seasons on DeSoto’s varsity.
The win gave DeSoto its second state championship and came six years after the Eagles won the 6A Division II crown in 2016. Eight DeSoto Eagles have won letters with the Texas Longhorn football program, but Cook and Wisner will be the first DeSoto products to arrive in Austin as state champions.
With the conclusion of the 2022 high school football season the total number of Longhorn commits to win a state title this year is now seven. Muhammad, Walton, Allen, Cook, and Wisner join out-of-state commits Liona Lefau and Sydir Mitchell, whose teams won state championships during the Thanksgiving weekend in Hawaii and New Jersey, respectively.
When the 2021 season concluded there were four Texas commits/signees who had won state championships: Kristopher Ross (Galena Park North Shore, Class 6A Division I), Ethan Burke and Connor Robertson (Austin Westlake, Class 6A Division II), and Malik Murphy (Gardena Junipero Serra, California Division I-A). Due to subsequent commitments from players in the 2023 recruiting class the record now shows that 11 future Longhorns won state championships while playing for eight teams in five states during that 2021 season, and future commitments from stars of the 2024 or 2025 classes may likewise retroactively increase the number of state champion Longhorns in the 2022 season up from its current seven.
In all, 10 of the 21 current members of the Longhorns’ 2023 recruiting class were part of a state championship team at some point in their high school career: Johntay Cook, Anthony Hill, Liona Lefau, Sydir Mitchell, Malik Muhammad, Spencer Shannon, Colton Vasek, Billy Walton, Derek Williams, and Tre Wisner. Hopefully they are all still part of the class by the end of the early signing period, which starts tomorrow.
The win by South Oak Cliff last Friday ensured the continuation of a streak previously documented in this space. In every high school season going back to 1996 there has been at least one state championship team in Texas that had a future Texas Longhorn on its roster. In a future post I will share the full list of players who’ve helped keep that streak going for 27 seasons, and all other Longhorns known to have been a part of state championship teams, going all the way back to Clarence “Blue” Smith of Cleburne in 1920, who I wrote about at the end of my state championship preview last week.
Congrats to all the future Longhorns who finished the 2022 season as a state champion, and all BON readers certainly hope that they will be part of teams that will win even bigger hardware during their time in Austin.