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5A Div. I State Preview: Southlake Carroll vs. FB Hightower
December 17, 2011By Tim Polzer of VYPE MAGAZINE - 7-5A
It’s been five long years since Southlake Carroll has played in a state championship game. If this is the Year of the Dragon, then it’s the year of the Carroll Comeback. Southlake Carroll is chasing its eight state football title in today’s 5A Division I state final against Fort Bend Hightower.
This is an undefeated Carroll team that has played with seemingly unshakeable confidence. Despite trailing in four out of their five playoff games, the Dragons have owned the fourth quarter in the postseason, outscoring opponents 38-3. This includes last week’s stunning comeback over Skyline in which the Dragons scored 14 points in 21 seconds to earn a berth in today’s final.
Carroll’s comeback mentality has been forged into a team that entered the season with a host of new starters. One constant has been junior quarterback Kenny Hill, who stepped in as starter midway through his sophomore season and has become one of the state’s most talented dual threat quarterbacks. Hill has passed for 2,785 yards and 23 TDs, while rushing for 1,282 yards and 22 TDs including the game-winning 35-yard scoring run against Skyline.
The Carroll offense has added a consistent rushing complement to Hill. Sophomore running back A.J. Ezzard, who has averaged almost 5 yards per carry, and had a career-high 140 yards against Skyline.
Against Skyline, Carroll had to overcome the loss of leading receiver Peyton Williams who was lost to a leg injury on the Dragons’ first drive. While it will be hard to replace Williams’ 92 receptions, 1,155 yards and eight touchdowns, Hill will still enjoy a talented corps of receivers including Baylor commit Sabian Holmes and third-leading receiver Ben Sego (25 catches). Senior Tyler Barnes will step in for Williams.
Carroll’s defense has outperformed some of the area’s top defenses in the postseason, allowing just 16 points per game. The Dragons are led by Kansas State commit linebackers Will Davis, Dillon Rake and Jeff Miller. Defensive backs Matt Swoyer, Tanner Jacobsen help make Carroll’s secondary one of the area’s best.
Folks around North Teas likely know Hightower best as the team that lost to Allen in the 2008 5A Division I state championship game.
The Hurricanes started the season 0-2, but have won 13 straight wins, 10 of which have been by double-digit margins.
Senior quarterback Bralon Addison is a dual threat, having passed for 2,103 yards and rushed for 1,442. He’s combined for 39 touchdown, including 21 TD passes opposed to just three interceptions. Running back Joshua Wilhite has also eclipsed 1,000 yards.
The Hurricanes are coming off a big 54-35 win over San Antonio Madison in the semifinal. Addison rushed for 229 yards and five TDs.