The Panthers went 14-1 in 2018 and were ranked #10 in the final USAToday national poll. They had two big wins against Southlake Carroll and Allen before their gut-wrenching loss to Gardena Park North Shore in the Texas 6A Division 1 state championship game, on a last-second hail mary touchdown pass.
This is the second straight season the Panthers have had a heartbreaking loss in the playoffs. In 2017, they lost a barnburner to Euless Trinity 28-27 in the 2nd Round. The Panthers were undefeated going into both of their last two playoff games. In 2016, Duncanville made it all the way to the Quarterfinals but lost to Allen to end that season.
Even though they have come up short in the last three seasons, the program has clearly established themselves not only as a state power but also one of the best teams in the country. Their overall record the last three seasons is 36-4.
The returning players from the 2018 team have had a long offseason thinking about how close they were to their ultimate team goal and are more hungry than ever to finish the 2019 season hoisting that state championship trophy.
The Panthers have the personnel, depth, and determination to accomplish that goal but lost several key players off last year’s team that they will miss and have to replace. They have lost 11 All-District players including Stacy Brown (Missouri), Marquez Beason (Illinois), De’Braylon Carroll (Rice), and Treshon Devones (Rice).
Duncanville had one of the most explosive offenses in the country last season, averaging 49.8 points per game and scoring over 50 points in six games. The leader and the University of Texas commit, Ja’Quinden Jackson, is back after earning District MVP and Honorable Mention All-State honors. The 6-foot-2 210-pound dual-threat quarterback completed 110-of-173 passes (63.6%) for 1,580 yards and 15 touchdown passes, and only 3 interceptions. He also rushed 147 times for 1,497 yards and 23 touchdowns. He averaged 10.2 yards per carry.
The Panthers offensive line is extremely talented and has the size up front to dominate. Savion Byrd (6’5 265) will anchor the line and is considered the top 2021 lineman in the state. He already has 20-plus offers including Alabama, Georgia, Texas, and Texas A&M. Kedric Williams (6’4 240) is another 2021 prospect that will provide muscle inside. Josh Qualls will play center after earning 1st Team All-District last season.
Trysten Smith (5’10 205) is the feature back of the offense and was outstanding last season, earning Offensive Newcomer of the Year award in District 6A-8. He rushed for 1,421 yards, averaged 7.9 yards per carry, and scored 23 touchdowns. The strength of the team is running the football with Smith and Jackson. They like to eat up the time of possession, move the chains, and keep their defense off the field. Demarcus Jackson (6’0 205) will be another great option in the running game.
Zeriah Beason (6’1 185) will be Jackson’s main receiver in the passing game. Beason caught 24 passes for 270 yards as a junior and is committed to Oregon State. Rashad Hood (6’1 180), Roderick Daniels (5’7 170), and Anthony Lacy (6’1 180) are all 2021 receivers that will get to show off their talents this year. Tyler Quinn, a 6’4 240-pound tight end, is a 2021 prospect that can catch and is an elite blocker in the run game. Marcus McCall (6’3 220) is another tight end that will contribute this season.
The offense was great in 2018 but the defense was equally as good. They had 6 shutouts and held opponents to under 7 points in 11 out of their 15 games.
The top three returning starters on defense are Chris Thompson (6’2 190), James Mitchell (6’2 270), and Jadarius Thursby (6’0 180). Thompson was 2nd Team All-State and a 1st Team All-District safety. Mitchell was 1st Team All-District and Thursby was the Sophomore of the Year in the District. Thompson and Mitchell have over 50 Division 1 offers between the two of them and Thursby was offered by Arkansas.
The defense has a great core of elite talent and it got even better when Kendrick Blackshire transferred into Duncanville from Mesquite Horn. Blackshire is a 6’2 245-pound inside linebacker and is arguably the best in the 2021 recruiting class. He is a man among boys and will help take the defense to another level. He has 25 Division 1 offers and is leaning toward Alabama, LSU, or Oklahoma.
Blackshire and Thursby will be the top two linebackers but the Panthers have a ton of depth at this position group. Amari Wynn (6’0 220), Khaliq Carr (6’0 215), and Christian Brown-Burton (6’1 185) will all be in the rotation and be impact players. All three players are 2021 prospects.
Mitchell is the leader of the guys in the trenches and will get a lot of help from some talented young prospects. Kevon Ivy (6’5 265) is a 2021 defensive end and their next big-time recruit. Quinn and Byrd will split time at the other defensive end spot. Stephon Dixon and Chris Brantley are both 2021 prospects and Quincy Wright (6’4 248) is a 2022 recruit that will all bring a lot of pressure and depth in the middle of the defense.
Thompson is the veteran leader of a talented secondary. Cameron Mitchell (6’2 180), Enis Rakestraw (6’0 170), and Elijah Keeton (6’1 190) are defensive backs that will all be important pieces to the overall defense.
Duncanville is one of the most talented and deepest teams in the country. They are the #6 ranked team in the USAToday preseason national poll and are loaded at every position from top to bottom. They have a chip on their shoulder after what happened in the playoffs the last two seasons and should skate right through the regular season. The playoffs will be a challenge, but this team has what it takes for their seniors to go out with a championship. They have unfinished business and it will take a powerhouse team’s best punch to take these guys down in 2019.