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Southlake Style

Dragons Prepare for Abilene

Sep 25, 2014 11:30AM ● By Mike

Ryan Agnew prepares to take to the air in this week's matchup versus Abilene. Photo by Rex Teter Photography

by EJ Holland

Sometimes a bye week can be just what the doctor ordered.

After a grueling early season schedule that featured Todd Dodge making his return to Dragon Stadium with Austin Westlake, a clash with Oklahoma power Tulsa Union at Jerry World and a road trip to Midland Lee, Southlake Carroll received a much-needed break.

The bye week allowed the Dragons to heal up and continue to work on fundamental issues that have afflicted them through the first few weeks of the season.

“We like to think the bye week helps,” said head coach Hal Wasson. “We spent a lot of time on the basics and fundamentals. We need to get better at understanding how to practice. Now, we’re preparing for Abilene.”

Sometimes a bye week can also be detrimental. It can break a team’s groove and cause them to come out rusty. But Southlake Carroll cannot afford a slow start against Abilene, a West Texas power.

The Eagles have already surpassed last year’s win count (3) and are off to a perfect 4-0 start. One of the biggest surprises of the state, Abilene features an explosive offense that is averaging 38 points per game.

Abilene runs a one-back spread offense with its primary playmakers being dual-threat quarterback Derek Scott, who has totaled more than 1,200 yards of total offense and scored 13 touchdowns, and breakout sophomore running back Abram Smith, who has rushed for 651 yards and eight touchdowns and is averaging eight yards per carry.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Wasson said. “They have an exceptional running back and a very good quarterback, so they’re pretty balanced. Our defense is going to have to do a great job of stopping the run and making tackles. We also need to recognize multiple formations and, as simple as this sounds, know how to line up.”

It’s not all about high-flying offense, Abilene also has a very solid defense that is surrendering just 10 points and averaging three turnovers. The strength of Abilene’s 3-4 defense is up front where seniors Miguel Espinoza, Reagan Cooke and Tom Berry control the line of scrimmage.

That trio could wreck havoc against a Southlake Carroll offense that has struggled to protect quarterback Ryan Agnew. Through three games, Agnew is averaging just 184 yards through the air per game, completing 57 percent of his passes and has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns.

“Our pass protection is not nearly where it needs to be,” Wasson said. “Our receivers need to do a better job of route running, and we need to be accurate. Those are the keys for us.”