It’s one of a handful of games that stood out in the preseason as a potential game of the season, so no matter the victor of Saturday’s massive face off between Texas power Duncanville and D.C. program St. John’s, few would have been truly surprised with either winner.
The final score? That might be a surprise given the 35-14 result.
Here’s what we learned from from Duncanville’s statement win:
1) Oft overlooked, running back Trysten Smith set the tone for Duncanville
On a team that features a quarterback bound for Texas, wide receiver headed to Oregon State and a half dozen players ticketed for eventual spots with Power 5 programs, the player who made the biggest difference for Duncanville is a running back committed to Central Arkansas. Trysten Smith has often been overlooked among Duncanville’s collection of prodigious weapons, but he made his presence felt Saturday, bookending Duncanville’s victory. Smith finished with 119 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, a powerful statement in its own right against a tough St. John’s defense.
2) Ja’Quinden Jackson is an elite quarterback, regardless of how the recruiting rankings typecast him
Duncanville quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson, a Texas commit, is widely regarded as an “athlete” prospect, a player who plays quarterback but is expected to shift to a different position because of his athleticism and versatility. That might still be the eventual case with Jackson, but on Saturday he showcased why the Longhorns should at least consider running Jackson out there behind center. Jackson finished with three total touchdowns — two through the air and one on the ground — to lead the Panthers’ huge second half push against one of the nation’s toughest defenses. Everything Jackson did was impressive, and his 29-yard touchdown scamper late in the third quarter felt like a back breaker against St. John’s. Jackson’s development timeline could set himself up as a potential successor to current Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger in Austin … provided he doesn’t get pushed into a role to get him on the field first.
3) St. John’s is a powerful example of cost of ambitious scheduling
St. John’s entered the season with a schedule that not only ranks as the toughest nationwide this year, but possibly one of the toughest in history. After opening with wins against visiting teams from Florida, St. John’s has fallen to St. Joseph’s (Philadelphia, Penn.) in New Jersey and now Duncanville in Dallas. Next up? IMG Academy back home in D.C. Yikes. The Cadets could finish .500 or worse and still be an excellent team. It’s just nearly impossible for the Cadets to play power programs each week as they currently are and expect to win every time out. That’s not to diminish Duncanville’s victory; the Panthers were the better team. It’s just putting what St. John’s is attempting this season in perspective, because depending on the Cadets’ results, we may not see anyone else attempt a schedule this tough for some time.