Former Duncanville Panther Keitrone Simpson Playing for Lamar University

Panthers win State in 2022
Courtesy photo

Former Duncanville Panther standout defensive end Keitrone Simpson is now playing for Lamar University. He played in ten games in 2023, his freshman year, and earned one start. Keitrone had 14 total tackles, including six assisted stops, and was credited with 2.5 tackles for losses and an assisted sack. He recorded a season-high four tackles in the regular season final game against McNeese. Two of his tackles against the Cowboys were solo stops, with one an assisted sack; three two-tackle efforts with an assisted tackle and a tackle for a loss.

Keitrone Simpson

He grew up in a single parent family in Dallas, with his sister and mother. Keitrone’s proud mom, Amanda Durden, has been a security guard for Duncanville High School for ten years.

Keitrone Simpson
Courtesy photo

Durden says, “Keitrone had amazing mentors in his life. He always loved being active while he was growing up. He participated in youth and government, band, and JROTC (Navy Cadets). He started out playing all sports, but once he played Little League football with the Duncanville Panthers and Duncanville Vikings, who taught him how to play football, he fell in love with the sport. Later, while attending Duncanville HS, he took on track and field where he threw the shot put and discus. He made it to regionals for shot put. He was also an A&B Honor student, who loved being an aspiring role model to everyone around him.”

“Keitrone started his freshman and sophomore year at Duncanville not playing the position he wanted, because he needed to fill an offensive line spot. During his junior year he was asked to play defensive end. From the first day, Coach Antwoine Shelton took Keitrone under his wing, saying to trust him and promising Keitrone would play Division 1 football.”

Duncanville High School Career

Coach Shelton said, “I told Keitrone to bet on himself and do the work. That makes people pay attention and have no choice but to see you. That means on and off the field, work hard like they’re trying to replace you.”

During his junior season, Keitrone was third string defensive end, and didn’t get to play as much as he wanted. That year Duncanville went to state but came up short against North Shore High School.

Former Panther player at Lamar
Courtesy photo

“This only motivated him to go harder and go all out for his senior season,” Durden said. “During his senior season, he was made the starting defensive end. He lived up to their trust in him, recording 100 tackles. They included 29 tackles for losses and 10.5 sacks, with two pass break ups and one goal line forced fumble. Keitrone helped guide Duncanville to a 2022 6A state title, their second one since 1998. His performance led him to gain First-Team All- District 11-6A Defensive Linemen, All-Area Second Team Defensive Line, and All-State First Team Defensive Line. Keitrone also earned a scholarship to play at Lamar University.”

Keitrone Simpson as Panther player
Keitrone Simpson courtesy photo

“I am so proud of Keitrone; he is a very respectful and humble young man, who always kept his faith in God. We’re thankful for his Coaches, family and friends that poured into his life by guiding him and supporting him along the way,” Durden added.

Keitrone’s Youth Football Mentor

Youth football Coach Joe Hamilton, one of Keitrone’s earliest mentors, wrote, “I met Keitrone and his family in 2014 when they joined my Youth Football and Cheer Association. As a nine-year-old kid, he played football and his sister Kia cheered. Keitrone was a shy little boy who quickly developed into one of my better athletes. His calm demeanor, heart, focus, and the way he paid attention to detail made him easy to coach.”

“When he graduated from Youth Football and became a Middle/High School player in Duncanville ISD, he continued to exceed expectations both academically and in the sport of football. Now, at Lamar University, he continues to pursue greatness. It is a privilege to be a mentor to Keitrone. I am so grateful his family gave me an opportunity to work with him,” Coach Hamilton added.

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Jo Ann Holt
Jo Ann Holt is an award-winning journalist with 40+ years of experience as a writer and editor. She loves live performances, from country music concerts to Broadway musicals to community theatre productions. Holt also enjoys art and cultural festivals, and good food and wine. She’s toured Amsterdam, London, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and various cities in Mexico but looks forward to visiting even more countries. She has traveled by boat, plane, and train, but especially likes taking long road trips across the U.S. with her husband, retired history professor Durhl Caussey. They enjoy meeting friendly people, learning about different cultures, and visiting historic sites wherever they go.