Football exits turf in playoffs for final time this season


Anna Frost

Junior quarterback no. 10 Alexander Franklin hands the ball off to junior running back no. 7 Matthew Mainord. The final score of the game was 42-37.


On Saturday, Nov. 19, the football team took the field for the last time in the 2022 season. The leopards closed out the season with a 42-37 loss to South Oak Cliff in the second round of playoffs. 

“I was dissatisfied with the outcome of the game, but that’s life, no matter how hard you work or how much blood, sweat and tears you put into something that doesn’t guarantee you anything,” senior wide receiver Jaxon Lavender said. “We gave it our all and maximum effort every day, and that’s all you can ask for.” 

The team rematched against the South Oak Cliff Bears who are ranked three in the 5A division. The leopards started slow, finishing the first half down 28-10. The team ramped it up in the fourth quarter scoring three touchdowns in five minutes. In addition, the defense held the bears from scoring in the fourth quarter.

“The energy from the team was too low throughout the beginning of the game,” senior linebacker Bennett Slaughter said. “It wasn’t until we started scoring and realized we can still win, but it was too late at that point. We had great energy and intensity towards the end of the game, and we made a great effort to stay in the game.” 

Senior wide receiver Kyle Parker had two touchdown catches; Lavender had one; senior quarterback Braden Hagle ran the ball for one, and junior running back Matthew Mainord also ran a touchdown.

“South Oak Cliff has some really talented players,” Parker said. “As a receiver going against two division one defensive backs was challenging. We were able to execute our offense though and get into a rhythm later into the game.”

Junior Alexander Franklin started as the quarterback and the two other quarterbacks, seniors Braden Hagle and Austin Gonzalez, rotated into the game. All the quarterbacks had scoring plays. 

“It was good to have all three quarterbacks in rotation,” Lavender said. “They all have different talents, and they all excelled and made a difference when their number was called. They all did their job, and they produced.” 

The team finished the season with an 8-4 record while also having a 6-1 record in district play. The teams completed the season in second place in the district. 

“We’ve had the toughest season I think I’ve ever seen,” Slaughter said. “We had no easy opponents, and we had to work and fight for everything.”

The majority of the team’s starters took off their jerseys for the last time on Nov. 19. The underclassmen will start their off-season and start preparing for next year’s season. 

“All of the life lessons you learn from football and the connections you make playing on a team like ours is what makes me love the sport,” Lavender said. “I will carry the lessons and memories with me for the rest of my life.”