South Oak Cliff residents revel in the success of the state football team

When the South Oak Cliff High School Golden Bears take to the field on Saturday to play for the State Football Class 5A, Division II Championship, it will be the culmination of a season rich in history that may come as a surprise. some.

But not to the community which has supported him for a long time.

Some in South Oak Cliff said they felt a change in the air in the springtime, others saw the pieces of the puzzle fall into place over time. But the only thing the community agrees on is that the success of the team reflects the renewal of the neighborhood.

South Oak Cliff principal Dr Willie Johnson said he was proud of the students, but never always believed in what they could accomplish.

“No one would think that our downtown school would be able to compete at this level because of some of the challenges. It’s Dallas ISD – in the hood, ”Johnson said. “But for us, it’s expected. We expected to be here, and I told our coaches earlier this year.

South Oak Cliff is east of Interstate 35, and the school’s population is approximately 60 percent African American and 30 percent Hispanic. It is in an area which has known plague and neglect, but which also has strong community ties.

Johnson said the team’s success builds on other successes at South Oak Cliff, such as working to improve academic performance or creating a new park a few yards from the school that has become an oasis community.

“All of these things are falling into place,” Johnson said. “All of these things happen. It’s much bigger than football.

South Oak Cliff High School Principal Willie F. Johnson poses for a portrait at Dallas School on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. South Oak Cliff High School will play Liberty Hill High School on Saturday, December 18, 2021 for the Title state. (Rebecca Slezak / The Dallas Morning News)(Rebecca Slezak / Staff Photographer)

If South Oak Cliff defeats Liberty Hill to become State Champion, the team will make history that transcends the neighborhood. It’s been 63 years since a Dallas ISD football team won a state championship.

Cedrick Miles, co-owner of Fade Row, said he bought five sweatshirts to support his alma mater on Saturday. The 1998 graduate has been a staunch supporter throughout the year and noticed the change in atmosphere at South Oak Cliff early on.

Cedrick Miles, co-owner of Fade Row, wears a State Finals sweatshirt at his Oak Cliff store in Dallas on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. Miles spent around $ 150 on state clothing bearing the South Oak Cliff logo .  Miles has already ordered banners and shirts if South Oak Cliff High School wins the state title against Liberty Hill High School on Saturday, December 18, 2021. (Rebecca Slezak / The Dallas Morning News)
Cedrick Miles, co-owner of Fade Row, wears a State Finals sweatshirt at his Oak Cliff store in Dallas on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. Miles spent around $ 150 on state clothing bearing the South Oak Cliff logo . Miles has already ordered banners and shirts if South Oak Cliff High School wins the state title against Liberty Hill High School on Saturday, December 18, 2021. (Rebecca Slezak / The Dallas Morning News)(Rebecca Slezak / Staff Photographer)

“I just came down to school, and the environment, the energy, the people around you – there’s just more pride,” Miles said.

Next to Pan African Connection, Akwete Tyehimba and his son Bambata Tyehimba have cheered on the team all season. When Bambata brought in the Chick-Fil-A football team in April, he said he already felt something good was going to happen.

“I saw the energy that circulated in the locker rooms throughout the spring. So I could tell it was going to be a special season throughout April. Bambata said. “The guys have a great program, great coaches, great kids and I’m really excited for them. “

Even though he wasn’t a South Oak Cliff graduate, he and his mom still feel like part of the community.

“We want everyone to be a part of this energy,” Akwete said. With all the other things going on. You know you hear all of this negative stuff, but we need wins and it’s already a win for us.

Left: South Oak Cliff coach Jason Todd.  Right: Duncanville coach Reginald Samples.

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