DUNCANVILLE — A clear, cool night would be perfect for a football game, but under these Friday lights, the city of Duncanville proudly wore red, white, and blue to celebrate the end of the season and Duncanville High School’s first state champion football team. since 1998.
After a storied season in the making, Duncanville was crowned Division I 6A State Champion for the final time with a parade and ceremony. It was also a celebration for the city itself, attended by council members, hundreds of students, and many proud family and friends.
Due to their most recent title, Duncanville has won 26 state championships in all sports since 1976. It is for this reason that Duncanville calls itself the City of Champions.
“This is a city of champions and these kids have done their part,” said Duncanville resident Linda Lydia, who came to show off her local pride.
Despite the darkness, the main street was filled with people, and they cheered wildly for team coach Reginald Samples, who led the parade.
The December state title was a rematch against Galena Park North Shore. The game was dragged out by the Panthers when their defense stopped the Mustangs almost on first down late in the fourth quarter at the Duncanville 12-yard line.
It was a satisfying victory for a team that lost the 2018 state title to the North Shore team when the Mustangs hit a 45-yard Hail Mary touchdown in the final game to win 41–36. The North Shore also defeated the Panthers in the 2019 and 2021 title games.
Samples also came very close to a championship in 2004 with Lincoln High School and in 2011 and 2014 with Skyline High School.
However, The Godfather persevered through decades and a painful medical injury in 2018 to finally claim his state title. Samples is the best black head coach in state history with 323 wins.
The city of Duncanville declared December 20 Reginald Tryout Day, Mayor Barry Gordon announced at a ceremony following the parade.
Part of the heritage
Jerry Scales III proudly waited for the ceremony to begin as players, cheerleaders and the entire parade filled the amphitheater at Armstrong Park. He was a senior on Duncanville’s last championship team in 1998, and this year he saw his son – senior left back Jerry Scales IV – win for the next generation.
“He should have felt the same way as I did when I won,” he said. “Now they are part of the City of Champions.”
Kaden Durham, a junior running back and championship offensive MVP, said it took “the same thing as last year to get into the state title game. Hard work and dedication, trust the process and trust our coaches.”
Durham said he’s focused on the track season right now. After that, he said, it was time to “go back.”
Senior offensive lineman Josiah Drake said “a lot went through my head” when he realized they had won. “I was there last year when we lost. It’s just wonderful.”
Samples told the crowd that he was incredibly proud of his team.
“We started talking about winning the championship last spring and worked to the end,” he said.
The samples had the crowd cheering and acknowledging an offense that averaged over 40 points per game, followed by a defense whose stunning stoppage sealed the deal.
“We are known for turning them off on defense,” he said.
The coach also thanked his coaching staff, the parents and teachers of the players, the student body, and the Duncanville High School administration.
“We have already started work again,” he said. “Our goal is back to back. We’re going to win it again.”
Finally, he thanked the community for showing up Friday night and throughout the season.
“When we win, we win like Duncanville,” Samples said. We are the city of champions.