Duncanville, TX - Not many high school football teams in the country have had to overcome heartbreaking state championship losses like Duncanville (Texas) over the last five years.
In 2018, the Panthers were one play away from winning their first state title since 1998 but North Shore (Houston) connected on a 45-yard Hail Mary with no time on the clock to pull out a 41-36 win.
The following season, North Shore (Houston) repeated as Class 6A Division 1 state champs with a 31-17 win over Duncanville, which lost star quarterback Ja'Quinden Jackson to a torn ACL in the semifinals.
After a semifinal exit in 2020 against Quinn Ewers and Southlake Carroll (Southlake), Duncanville made it back to the title game in 2021 but lost 17-10 to North Shore (Houston).
Those gut-wrenching losses helped write the story for Reginald Samples and Duncanville in 2022.
In his eighth season as head coach at the school he led the Panthers to a 15-0 record and the school's first football state title in 24 years. After losing three of the previous four years to North Shore (Houston) in the 6A Division 1 championship, they finally got by the Mustangs with a 28-21 win.
Duncanville finished ranked at No. 7 in the final MaxPreps Top 25 and No. 1 in Texas.
The Panthers had five wins over teams that finished ranked in our expanded top 100 — No. 9 North Shore (Houston), No. 21 DeSoto (Texas), No. 67 South Oak Cliff (Dallas), No. 76 Jones (Orlando, Fla.) and No. 94 Westfield (Houston).
Samples has led the Panthers to a 92-17 record. After a disappointing 3-7 mark in his first year, the Dallas-area program has won at least 10 games in every season since. The 'Ville has made it to the semifinal round or beyond in each of the last five seasons, finishing with a spot in the MaxPreps Top 25 in each of those campaigns.
Prior to Duncanville, Samples had long runs at Lincoln (Dallas) and Skyline (Dallas). He started at Lincoln in 1990 and led the Tigers to a 122-48-1 record during 15 seasons there, including a trip to the Class 4A Division 2 state title game in 2004. Samples then spent 10 years at Skyline, going 110-22 with nine district titles and trips to the state semifinals in 2011 and 2014.
During his 33 years as head coach Samples has gone 326-87-1 and was elected to the Dallas ISD Athletic Hall of Fame in 2022. He is the seventh coach from Texas to be named MaxPreps Football Coach of the Year joining Tony Heath, Hal Wasson, Tom Westerberg, Gary Joseph, Jon Kay and two-time winner Todd Dodge.
The other five finalists for the 2022 MaxPreps National Coach of the Year included Trent Dilfer of Lipscomb Academy (Nashville, Tenn.), Jube Joseph of Central (Miami), Josh Lovelady of Mill Creek (Hoschton, Ga.), Chris McDonald of Basha (Chandler, Ariz.) and Jason Negro of St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.).
Past MaxPreps National Coaches of the Year
2008 — Mike Alberghini, Grant (Sacramento, Calif.)
2009 — Mike Newsome, Butler (Matthews, N.C.)
2010 — Tony Heath, Pearland (Texas)
2011 — Hal Wasson, Southlake Carroll (Southlake, Texas)
2012 — Bob Ladouceur, De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
2013 — Jason Negro, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)
2014 — Tom Westerberg, Allen (Texas)
2015 — Gary Joseph, Katy (Texas)
2016 — Kenny Sanchez, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
2017 — Bruce Rollinson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
2018 — Jon Kay, North Shore (Houston)
2019 — Jason Negro, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.)
2020 — Todd Dodge, Westlake (Austin, Texas)
2021 — Todd Dodge, Westlake (Austin, Texas)