DALLAS - In a game that saw two Carthage Bulldogs set single-season school offensive records, the Bulldogs' defensive stalwart made perhaps the most momentous play on virtually one leg to secure Carthage's second consecutive state championship.
Senior defensive tackle DeShun Williams stood up Graham's Dylan Fulford at the 4-yard line on a two-point conversion attempt that would have given the Steers a lead with 1:22 left as Williams dragged Fulford to the ground to preserve a 13-12 Bulldog win in the Class 3A Division II state championship at SMU's Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
Carthage junior wideout Jalen Claiborne covered Graham's ensuing onside-kick attempt to seal the win, which is the Bulldogs' 29th straight and gives them a 39-5 record in three seasons under head coach Scott Surratt.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," Surratt said. "You've got to give all the credit to our players and our assistant coaches."
The win gives Carthage a 16-0 record for the first time in school history, as well as its fourth team sport state championship in the past 4 1/2 years (two baseball, two football). Carthage is now 2-for-3 in football state-title appearances, winning 3A Division II crowns in 2008 (14-2) and 2009 and finishing as a 15-1 4A runner-up in 1991.
Carthage held Graham quarterback Case McCoy to 55 yards on 2-for-10 passing in the first half. McCoy, who is a Texas commit and the younger brother of Longhorn quarterback Colt McCoy, finished 10-for-21 for only 128 yards, one touchdown and an interception by sophomore safety Edward Pope on fourth-and-goal from the Carthage 8 that turned the Steers away on their second half-opening drive.
Graham outgained Carthage 216-53 in the second half.