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Dragon Pride Preview - Week 1

Aug 28, 2014 02:16PM ● Published by Mike

Southlake (0-0) vs Austin Westlake (0-0)

By EJ Holland

There is no question Southlake Carroll wouldn’t be where it is today without Todd Dodge.

The iconic coach led the Dragons to five 5A state finals and four championships from 2002-2006. During that time, Dodge compiled an eye-popping 79-1 record, with his only loss coming in the state title game in 2003.

In 2006, Dodge left for North Texas. He returned to the high school scene as the head coach at Marble Falls in 2012 and landed with Central Texas powerhouse Austin Westlake this offseason.

When Southlake Carroll plays host to Austin Westlake in tomorrow night’s season opener, it will mark the return of Dodge to Dragon Stadium. While it will be arguably the biggest game in the state with a circus-like atmosphere, Southlake Carroll head coach Hal Wasson said his team is treating it like any other game.

“It’s business as usual,” Wasson said. “Obviously, we like to think we’re going to be a physical football team and a disciplined football team. It’s a big game for us because it’s the next game. No game is bigger than the other. It’s just the first big game.”

Wasson served as an assistant under Dodge during his time with the Dragons and is extremely familiar with his coaching philosophy. But how Austin Westlake’s returning players will fit into Dodge’s wide-open system, well, that remains a mystery.

Last year’s film on the Chaparals is basically being thrown out the window. Instead, Wasson is focusing on having the Dragons as prepared as possible.

“We’re just working on us right now,” he said. “We don’t have anything on them, but with Coach Dodge being over there and him having a couple of coaches that were on our staff, they know our personnel, our strengths and where they think we might be vulnerable. They know more about us than we do them, that’s for sure.”

Austin Westlake, which Dodge helped Southlake Carroll defeat in the 2006 state title game, returns just one starter on offense — do-it-all athlete Sean Rollings. Rollings is a versatile performer who gained more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage last season lining up as quarterback and wide receiver. The defense is more experienced and brings back stud linebackers Breckyn Hager, a Baylor commit, and Hudson Hall, who is receiving plenty of FBS attention. Hager had 57 tackles and 9 tackles for a loss last season and Hall wasn’t far behind with 53 and 13 respectively.

Both Hager and Hall could give the Southlake Carroll offense fits, but  senior quarterback Ryan Agnew is ready for the challenge.

“Austin Westlake is a good opponent,” Agnew said. “There is going to be a lot of media hype with Todd Dodge returning and a lot of emotions. It’s cool because Coach Dodge coached all my brothers.

“It’s all great, but in-between those 48 minutes he’s across the sideline, so he’s not going to be my friend.” 

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