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Inside Southlake Carrol's come-from-behind win over Hightower

December 20, 2011
By Tim Polzer of VYPE MAGAZINE - 7-5A

Key plays and turning points of Southlake Carroll’s 36-29 win over Fort Bend Hightower for the 5A Division I state championship, Saturday at Cowboys Stadium.


Carroll scores on first drive

Southlake Carroll drove 48 yards in 13 plays to threaten on the game’s first possession. The drive stalled at the  7-yard line when Casey Edgly came from under coverage to knock a fade pass away from Sabian Holmes in the end zone. The Dragons settled for a 25-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead with 8:01 left in the first quarter.


Hightower opens with a trick play

Hurricanes quarterback Bralon Addison pitched to receiver Joseph Giles whose pass to Donald Weathersby was broken up by Carroll defensive back Tanner Jacobson in Carroll territory.


Hightower QB goes to work

After the trick play, Addison went to work on the ground. The Texas A&M commit worked the zone read and draws to near perfection, eluding Carroll tacklers for 59 yards on six carries including a 34-yarder. Jaquinn Henderson eventually scored from the 4.


Carroll gets 2 points back

Carroll’s Will Davis blocked and grabbed the extra point. He appeared to lateral the ball – an illegal forward lateral – that wound up in Matt Swoyer’s hands. Swoyer ran into the end zone to give Dragons two points. The nearest official tossed a beanbag as if to mark a fumble on the play. Hightower led 6-5.


Carroll kicks long field goal

The Dragons drove to Hightower’s  28 before Holmes was tripped up on a third-down pass. Brown boomed a field goal from 45 yards – that would have been good from 50-plus – giving Carroll an 8-6 lead with 1:34 left in the first quarter.


Carroll can’t contain Addison

Hightower continued to dial Addison’ number on offense. The quarterback evaded pressure and blitzes on several plays, gaining 59 yards on six carries. A pair of false start penalties forced the Hurricanes into a 4th & goal from the 15, but Addison scrambled in for the TD. Hightower led, 13-8 with 7:56 left in the first quarter.


Carroll turns ball over

Two plays after Addison’s touchdown run, Carroll running back A.J. Ezzard was stripped on a run. Hightower recovered at the Carroll 33. On 3rd & 4 from the 14, Jeremy McClellan, Dillon Rake and Matt Swoyer strung Addison out to the left sideline for a 3-yard loss. Luis Gallegos-Perez kicked a 34-yard field to increase Hightower’s lead to 16-8.


Carroll answers before half

The Dragons picked a good time to put together their best drive of the first half. Hill looked Holmes’ way for a 12-yard gain, then just missed his big-play receiver at the 15. Corey Kemp’s 14-yard catch converted a third down. Hill and Ezzard alternated runs with Hill scoring from 1 yard out. Carroll’s two-point pass was too far for Holmes, leaving the Dragons trailing the Hurricanes, 16-14 at halftime.


Hightower opens second half with score

The Hurricanes drove 68 yards in seven plays to pad their lead. Carroll appeared to better contain Addison’s runs. Defensive lineman Matt Woford pressured Addison into a scramble and short gain. On the next play, Addison threw a quick screen to Nelson who eluded defenders for a 30-yard TD. Hightower increased its lead to 23-14.


Dragons make big play of their own

On Carroll’s ensuing drive, the Dragons faced 3rd & 10 from their own 41. Hill dropped back, then stepped up in the pocket to allow Holmes to get behind Hightower’s coverage. Holmes hauled in Hill’s pass for a 59-yard TD. Carroll narrowed Hightower’s lead to 23-21 with 7:20 left in the third quarter.


Carroll’s D makes a stand

Carroll needed a stop after getting to within two points. The Dragons’ defense stuffed Hightower’s running game when it counted. On 4th & 3 from the 26, Davis dragged Addison down for a 4-yard loss turning the ball over on downs.


Dragons roar into lead

The Carroll offense maintained momentum, driving 70 yards in eight plays for the go-ahead score. Big plays included Hill hurdling tacklers on a run to the 45 and Ezzard running up the middle for 12. Hill found Kemp across the middle on a post for a 25-yard TD. Carroll took the lead, 28-23 with 2:49 left in the third quarter.


Addison answers quickly

Addison wasted no time working his magic. Hightower’s quarterback ran around left end and raced 80 yards, dragging a tackler into the end zone for a TD.


Carroll breaks up 2-point try

Leading 29-28, Hightower attempted a 2-point conversion, but Nick Melocik broke up the pass, keeping the Dragons within one point.


Carroll converts Hightower’s costly turnover

On Hightower’s first play following a Carroll punt, Addison threw another screen to Nelson. Davis stripped the ball and recovered the fumble setting up Carroll at Hightower’s 29. Hill almost literally carried the Dragons to the end zone, gaining 22 yards including a 6-yard TD run. Hill also ran in the two-point conversion, giving Carroll a 36-29 lead with 9:18 left in the game.


Carroll’s big sack

Could Addison bring Hightower back for a game-tying touchdown? Addison moved Hightower to the Carroll 32 and started taking shots at the end zone, but Carroll’s defense came up with two big plays. First, Holmes knocked a sure TD pass out of the hands of Weathersby at the goal line. On 3rd & 9, Matt Watford pressured Addison up the middle, knocking the quarterback off balance before Davis finished the sack around midfield for a 20-yard loss. Facing 4th & 34, Hightower punted. It would the Hurricanes’ final possession.


Dragons eat the clock

Hill set the Dragons up at their own 34 with 4:42 left in the game, needing a long drive to keep the Hurricanes at bay. The Dragons kept the ball for 10 plays, moving 43 yards to clinch the win. Hill had six carries for 25 yards on the clock-killing drive.


Hill vs. Addison

The two best players on the field played quarterback. While Addison weaved in and out of Carroll defenders with ease in the first half, the Dragons gave him less room to roam in the second half. Addison finished with 21 carries for 183 yards and two TDs. He completed 5 of 8 passes for 63 yards and a TD. Hill, the game’s offensive MVP, 24 carries for 116 yards and two TDs. He completed 19 of 24 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns.


Another Carroll comeback

The Dragons completed yet another comeback to win state. Carroll trailed in five of six of their postseason games including a nine-point second-half deficit to Hightower.


Carroll ties state record

With their eighth state football championship, Carroll ties Celina for most among Texas high schools.






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