ARLINGTON — Munday has made the game of football look as easy as a patented long Dee Paul touchdown run this season.
With two quarters remaining in the Moguls' bid for a third state title, Tenaha was proving to be a rare worthy adversary.
But these Munday Moguls — playing with an injured quarterback that turned them one-dimensional — weren't to be denied Thursday afternoon in the Class A Division II championship at Cowboys Stadium.
Paul proved to be too electric and the Moguls' defense forced two crucial turnovers in a dominant 28-0 second half that led to a 42-14 victory in front of 7,439 fans.
Paul rushed for 263 yards and three touchdowns, reeling off breathtaking scoring runs of 55 and 60 yards in the fourth quarter to seal Munday's 15-0 season.
However, arguably the biggest play was made on defense by one of the team's few juniors.
L.J. Collier snuffed out a screen pass, tipped it to himself and returned it 35 yards for Munday's second touchdown in less than a minute, doubling the Moguls' lead to 28-14 with 4:42 left in the third quarter.
"That was definitely the whole game right there," Tenaha coach Terry Ward said. "We had some success with that play this year, but this time that one kid made a great play. After that score, it definitely took the wind out of us."
Roddrick Taylor snuffed out Tenaha's next drive by intercepting J.R. Hill's overthrown pass at the Mogul 9-yard line, and the Tigers never threatened after that.
The Tigers (10-5) only gained 221 yards of offense and couldn't give Hill time to throw the football. Chavis Gregory gained 116 yards but needed 24 carries to do so.
Ward admitted he was worried about protection issues against Munday's defensive front, led by Defensive MVP Collier (six tackles, three TFL, sack). Xzavier Bulliner and Jarrett Masias added first-half sacks that forced fumbles.
It was a defensive effort the Munday coaches were proud of, especially after they surrendered 551 total yards to a more explosive Tenaha bunch a year ago in a 52-28 loss.
"Compared to 365 days ago (when) we didn't make them earn points," Munday coach Patrick Corcoran said, "today they were going to have to earn them. That group has really stepped up the last 10 or 12 ballgames this year."
Paul injured his wrist early in the second quarter when he was slung to the ground. He said he couldn't grip or throw the ball very well, but gutted through the injury and wasn't to be denied.
"We thought if we could make them throw the ball, then we'd have a chance," Ward said. "You've got to tip your hat to him because he came out and played injured and that's what good players do."
While Munday completed only one of its eight passes, the Moguls finished with 469 rushing yards. Taylor gained 89 yards and two touchdowns, while Tyrone Dockins had 44 yards on six carries and also led the team with 8.5 tackles.
"When someone gets down, no matter if it's me, Tyrone or Dee, we have to step our game up because it's the three of us in the backfield," Taylor said. "Once you lose one, you've got to step it up a little bit more and run a little harder."
Tenaha started only one senior and played admirably in the first half, scoring twice in the final 4:15 to force a 14-14 tie at intermission.
After Taylor's 19-yard touchdown run extended Munday's lead to 14-7, the Tigers received good field position on a squib kick. D'Andre Thomas capped off a 47-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Hill with 45 seconds till half.
"When we went into halftime and it was tied up, we had them against the ropes," Tenaha senior De'Aaron Roland said. "They weren't prepared for us. We just had to throw the knockout punch and they dodged it."
Instead, it was Paul, the game's Offensive MVP, who delivered the final blows, weaving through the Tenaha defense for two more dazzling runs. He also had a 57-yard burst to open the scoring.
Tenaha made Munday earn its third title Thursday afternoon. But the Moguls rose to the challenge and joined the 1984 and 2007 Munday teams as state champions.
"It means everything to us. Ever since we were little kids in seventh grade, we watched the seniors win a state championship," Munday offensive lineman Logan Groves said. "That's what we've been looking for our whole high school career, working for it every year. Just finally getting that gold around your neck, it's a great feeling."