South Oak Cliff celebrates back-to-back championship with hometown parade

In 2020, ISD Dallas has not won a state football championship in over 60 years. On Saturday morning, the city celebrated its second title in two years thanks to the South Oak Cliff High School Golden Bears.

South Oak Cliff proved its dominance last month by winning the 5A Division II state title game for the second year in a row, becoming the first ISD school in Dallas to win back-to-back championships. The two turfs were commemorated with a hometown parade that was attended by prominent members of the community, decades of alumni, and the entire neighborhood filled with pride.

Angela Cole, a ’77 graduate, has been on the parade with many friends since her days at South Oak Cliff. She described high school graduates, neighbors, and football fans as supportive, strong, and involved.

“When everyone comes together, this is what happens: legendary,” she said.

South Oak Cliff High School’s “Nu Soul of the South” band performs during the Golden Bears Class 5A Division II state championship parade.(Juan Figueroa / staff photographer)

Tony Mumphrey, a graduate of ’82, was ready for the parade in advance.

“Been a bear all my life,” he said as he waited for the festivities to begin, just a few streets away from where he grew up. “I hope they can do it again next year.”

On a cool sunny morning, hundreds of people lined the street outside South Oak Cliff High School. The crowd played music and danced as the parade of corvettes, neighboring sports teams, cheerleaders and horsemen passed.

Former cheerleading captain Alexis Ivey, who graduated in 2017 and attended two championship games, yelled during the parade, “Good day to be a Bear!”

The crowd cheered with pride as the team climbed to the top of the hill on Marsalis Street. The players carried their trophies and wore the 2022 state championship medals – some of them also had last year’s medals and they jingled against each other as they walked.

“Not Finished Yet”

The championship for South Oak Cliff is more than a sport, which was emphasized during a ceremony on the school’s football field after the parade.

In 2015, students left the school to apply to Dallas ISD to renovate their dilapidated campus. In January 2020, the county completed a $52 million renovation, including a new soccer field, and the team won a championship two seasons later.

“This is what justice looks like,” parade marshal and 1977 alumnus Rev. Horace Bradshaw. said during the ceremony. “Our children deserve nothing less than the best.”

South Oak Cliff didn’t just go down in history. He rewrote the narrative of the city’s schools.

Bradshaw highlighted the history and tradition of sportsmanship at South Oak Cliff and praised the students who led the strike demanding equal opportunity for their school.

The team and coaching staff gathered on stage behind head coach Jason Todd, who thanked the players’ parents, their teachers and coaching staff by name for a historic season. He praised the academics and the character of his players.

“A lot of people said we couldn’t do it,” said Todd, who has been head coach since 2015. “As I said last year, we are not done yet.”

Todd became the first black coach in state history to win two titles at the same school, and the third to win two titles overall.

“When I was walking down Marsalis in that parade, no amount of money could make me feel the way I felt there,” he said. “You really know people and people know you.”

At the end of his speech, Todd asked the audience, “Do you want a three?” Encountered with applause and shouts: “We want three,” he said, “then we will get your trinity.”

Hundreds of people lined the parade route to South Oak Cliff High School, home of the state football champion Golden Bears.

“Always a goal”

Quarterback and title game offensive MVP William Little said players have been eyeing the prize since the start of the season.

“That has always been the goal,” he said. “Returning to the state championship is our ultimate goal every year.” The rising senior said the team was ready for a triple.

Little’s mother, Shannon Little, said that as she watched the team win at AT&T Stadium, she was thrilled that her son was part of history.

“He got the opportunity to do what he loves and lead his team. He is a humble gentleman on and off the field,” she said. “That’s why I’m very proud of him.”

As principal Willie Johnson Jr. gave his speech, someone in the crowd yelled, asking if the team would win the title next season.

“Save the date,” he said.

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