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Southlake Style

Dragons Power Into Playoffs

Nov 11, 2013 09:16AM ● By tina
By Robert Halliman

The Carroll Dragons finished the 2013 regular season off in top form with a 65-7 blowout win over district foe Haltom on Friday night at Dragon Stadium. As all three phases of the Dragons’ attack clicked on a drizzly senior night, the final score never seemed in doubt.  After clinching the 4-5A district title last Thursday in a 31-27 come-from-behind victory against conference opponent Keller Fossil Ridge, Carroll had no trouble putting away a 3-7 Haltom football team early.  As the playoffs approach, the Dragons have picked up steam and are playing their best football of the season, riding a nine-game winning streak into the postseason. 

Head Coach Hal Wasson’s ball club got off to a fast start scoring the first 45 points of the game thanks to three touchdown passes by quarterback Ryan Agnew, two rushing touchdowns by A.J. Ezzard, a Drew Brown 51-yard field goal — which marks the longest field goal in his high school career — and a kickoff fumble recovery in the end zone by Joseph Paulsen. Junior quarterback Ryan Agnew, who only played in the first half of the contest, continued playing turnover free football, finishing 10 of 15 for 196 yards and three scores in limited work. A strong rushing attack paced by senior A.J. Ezzard, who has come on strong as of late after a slow start, and Lil Jordan Humphrey, who has provided a wonderful complement to Ezzard’s power, combined for 151 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. As the offense continues to put up points in bunches, the defense's output remains the key to future success for the green and white.

The Dragon defense, which has been stout this season giving up an average of 17.7 points per game during the regular season, put together yet another strong effort holding the Buffaloes scoreless the entire first half.

“Haltom really gave our front seven a chance to show how dominant they are,” said junior safety Tariq Gordon. “We knew they were going to try and run the ball, and the coaches had us ready; we played extremely well and were able to dominate Haltom.” 

The Buffaloes, whose first and only score came on a 33-yard run from Clifton Hardin at the five-minute mark in the third quarter, were held to only 218 total yards of offense, as the defense put a clamp on Haltom scoring opportunities. As many of Carroll’s defensive reserves and seniors got an opportunity to play deep in the second half, the Dragon onslaught continued as sophomore reserve linebacker IV Seacat put the icing on the cake, returning a 55-yard fumble for a score with a minute left in the game.

Carroll faces a stiff test entering the playoffs, facing an Arlington Bowie team who ended the regular season with a 7-3 during record and features a bevvy of athletes on both sides of the ball.

“Bowie’s a speedy team,” said Tariq Gordon. “They’ll provide us a great challenge. We know we need to get off to a fast start against them.”

The Dragons know as playoff time arrives, the accomplishments of the regular season no longer matter, as each game could possibly be the last, especially for some of the seniors.

“The feeling of going into the playoffs on a run is good, but now every team’s record is 0-0,” added Agnew. “Each game is a fight to play another week. As a junior, I want to make the seniors’ last games in a Dragon uniform memorable.”

The Dragons (9-1) face Arlington Bowie (7-3) in the bi-district round of the playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Coppell Stadium.

Robert Halliman is a senior journalism major and political science minor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn. A 2010 Carroll Senior High graduate, Robert played defensive tackle for coach Hal Wasson from 2007–2010.  An aspiring sports agent and media personality, Robert is also a member of the Lehigh University Business Careers and Entertainment Club.