DESOTO — A propensity for the big play has quickly become a recurring theme for the Waxahachie Indians this postseason.
Waxahachie soundly defeated (9-3) South Oak Cliff 45-15 Friday night at Eagle Stadium in DeSoto to advance into the third round of the 5A Division II football playoffs.
The Indians, who are now 8-4 on the season, await the winner of Lucas Lovejoy and Frisco Lone Star. The two play Saturday, Nov. 25 at AT&T Stadium at 8 p.m.
The last time the Indian football program reached the regional quarterfinals was in 2009 after defeating Texarkana Texas High 35-21 in the area championship. Waxahachie finished that season 13-1, eventually losing two weeks later to Longview 50-26 in the 4A Division I quarterfinals.
HOW IT HAPPENED
One week after taking a Bryse Salik pass 69 yards for a score on the first play from scrimmage, Demani Richardson again found paydirt on the Tribe's first snap. The junior carried a Salik handoff 80 yards to the house for a 7-0 Waxahachie lead with 6:43 to play in the first quarter.
Richardson again found the end zone for a 14-0 Waxahachie lead when he caught a Jerreth Sterns pass for a 54-yard touchdown with less than one minute to go on the first-quarter clock.
Richardson finished the game with 141 total yards of offense, which included six carries for a team-high 95 yards.
South Oak Cliff did challenge the two-score lead, though.
Golden Bears running back Ricky Wren capped an 11-play, 67-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown to cut into the deficit. All 11 plays remained on the ground.
The Golden Bears put two more points on the board three plays later when Salik (9-12, 177 yards, 3 TD) was tackled in the end zone for a safety. The Indians led just 14-8 with 7:38 to play in the first half.
But, as the clock ticked toward halftime, Salik found Sterns in the flats.
The senior juked a few jocks to the turf, landed a ferocious stiff arm and ran away for a 62-yard touchdown. The Raymond Kennedy extra point put Waxahachie ahead 21-8 with a little under two minutes to play in the half. It was more than enough for the opportunistic Indian defense.
The first turnover of the ballgame came on the Golden Bears' first possession of the second half and after an Indian punt. Simms attempted to stretch out for a couple of extra yards when the football was swiped out of hands.
Salik and the Indian offense made the most of the short field when the senior gunslinger found Jeffrey Alexander in the back corner of the end zone. Alexander kept one foot inside the boundary for an 8-yard touchdown with 7:50 to play in the third quarter.
A second Golden Bear turnover, this time on downs, led to another Indian touchdown with 3:41 to play in the third quarter. Salik called his own number for a 1-yard score and a 35-8 lead. The score came after Salik hit Tevin Wofford for a 50-yard completion to the 1-yard line.
Wofford found the end zone on the next Indian possession when he caught a rocket from Salik for a 14-yard touchdown to all but seal the victory. The touchdown pass put Waxahachie up 42-8 with 11:14 to play in the ballgame.
Wren later hauled in a 20-yard pass from South Oak Cliff quarterback Sean Simms to pull within 42-15. Kenndy then added a 24-yard field goal for the 45-15 final.
Waxahachie outgained South Oak Cliff 412 yards to 275, despite the Golden bears picking up five more first downs (16-11).
South Oak Cliff gained 202 yards on the ground behind 21 carries and 99 yards from Simms.
Salik connected with seven different receivers on the evening, led by Sterns (1-62), Tevin Wofford (2-62) and Richardson (2-46). Will Morgan was the only other target with multiple catches, as the tight end finished with two grabs for 12 yards.
Richardson led the Indian ground attack with six carries for 95 yards. Jaden Watson carried the football five times in the fourth quarter for 81 yards.
If Frisco Lone Star wins, the Indians will play in the regional round of the 5A Division II playoffs at The Star in Frisco. The date and time are to be determined.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith