by EJ Holland
It wasn’t a normal Southlake Carroll victory, but head coach Hal Wasson will take it.
In the biggest game in the state, the Dragons came away with a tough, physical win over former coach Todd Dodge and Central Texas powerhouse Austin Westlake. The atmosphere was electric, and Wasson admits it affected his defense on the opening drive.
But after that, the unit wreaked havoc, behind 15 tackles from linebacker Clark Parr, 11 tackles from safety Andy Chelf and 4 passes knocked down by cornerback Obi Eboh. Together the unit held state #21 Austin Westlake
to 266 yards of total offense and forcing three turnovers.
“I think we were hyped up on the first drive, so we weren’t on point. Once we got that out of our system, we played exceptionally well,” Wasson said. “It was great to see our defense flying around. I believe we held them to 1-of-12 on third down conversions. I have to give credit to our coaches. I can’t say enough good things about the defense.”
While the defense shined, the normally high-powered Southlake Carroll offense struggled to get anything going. Senior quarterback Ryan Agnew threw for a mere 111 yards and was picked off twice, and the offense line had a difficult time protecting him.
With 10 new faces, it’s understandable that the offense is still trying to find its groove. The Dragons, however, must make more than just incremental improvements this week when they face tradition-rich Tulsa Union at AT&T Stadium
“The offensive line and the running backs have to block better. We need to improve in our execution,” Wasson said. “With that said, we made enough plays to win the game, and it gave us something to build on. Are we a work in progress? Absolutely.”
With better blocking, Ryan Agnew will have more time to throw - especially to Parker Fentriss the most experienced of the receiving corp. Last season Fentriss caught 14 passes for 154 yards. In week one the senior wide receiver had 2 catches for just 19 yards. Look for him to be a bigger piece of the offense moving forward.
Tulsa Union might prove to be an even tougher test than Austin Westlake. The Redskins are ranked #3 in the state of Oklahoma according to MaxPreps.com and they are coming off a state title appearance in 2013. Tulsa Union, considered by many to be the most dominant team in the state's history with six 6A state titles has yet to play a game in 2014.
The Redskins return senior quarterback Mason Farquhar, who threw for 2,695 yards and 24 touchdowns a year ago, and a formidable rushing attack led by 1,300-yard rusher Tyler Adkins. Defensively, Tulsa Union is loaded with athletes including outside linebacker Colton King.
“Tulsa Union is going to be a tall challenge for us. They are a big, physical football team that features an outstanding running back,” Wasson said. “They average about 285 up front, so it’s going to be a big challenge for our offensive and defensive line. We have to be a lot better up front in this one. But we are excited about it.”