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Playoff Rivals Square Off

Oct 16, 2014 01:45PM ● Published by Mike

by EJ Holland

Euless Trinity and Southlake Carroll were never in the same district  but that doesn’t mean these two storied Texas high school football programs don’t have a growing rivalry.

It seems like every year both squads meet when it matters the most— during the playoffs. It all started back in 2006, a year after both teams captured state titles, when the two met in an epic playoff game that saw the Dragons come out on top, 22-21, in front of 50,000-plus at Texas Stadium.

Southlake Carroll ousted the Trojans from the 2012 playoffs, 16-7, and Euless returned the favor  ast year, in a 42-38 heartbreaker at AT&T Stadium. This Friday night will be the first time the two teams meet in district play. Nobody, including Head Coach Hal Wasson is taking this lightly.  Ultimately the game could decide this year’s 7-6A champion.

“It’s the biggest game of the year because it’s the next game,” said Southlake Carroll head coach Hal Wasson with a laugh. “I would be insulting my players’ intelligence if I said they didn’t know how important this game was. Every rep is magnified this week. We have to be at our best. We have to give a total team effort for 48 minutes.”

Much like the AustinWestlake game earlier this year  Euless Trinity’s head coach Steve Lineweaver also has a special connection to Southlake Carroll.  Lineweaver was the offensive coordinator for Southlake Carroll’s Class 3A state championship teams in 1988, 1992 and 1993.

But don’t expect him to take it easy on the Dragons. Lineweaver’s teams are known for their physical play up front and tenacity in the trenches. Euless Trinity, which is still undefeated and ranked in the top five in the state, always seems to have size on the offensive line, and this year is no different.

Texas commit Patrick Vahe has been clearing the way all year for stud junior running back Ja’Ron Wilson, who has rushed for 841 yards and nine touchdowns, and dual-threat quarterback Tyler Natee.

This could be a bad matchup, considering the Dragons let Coppell run wild a couple of weeks ago. But the Dragons made strides last week, shutting out a run-first Richland team.

“We know Trinity runs about 80 percent of the time. But I think last week does give us confidence. Confidence is a mindset that comes from success,” Wasson said. “Trinity is a different opponent. They are as good as there is in the state. Both programs have a lot of respect for each other.”

Offensively, the Dragons could run the ball a little bit more with Lil’ Jordan Humphrey  who has been phenomenal this season. After all, Wasson admitted that both teams want to keep the opposing offenses off the field.

Running the ball, however, might prove to be difficult against a monster Euless Trinity front seven that features mammoth defensive linemen Tipa Galeai and Chris Daniels.

“We have to play with an attitude. Trinity plays with a lot of energy on defense. They are big, strong, fast and physical,” Wasson said. “We can’t match their size, but we can match their physical nature. We have to execute and be as good as we can be.”

This game has the makings of a classic. So what do the Dragons have to do to pull out a win and remain unbeaten?

“We’ve got to limit big plays,” Wasson said. “We didn’t do that when we played them in the playoffs last year. We need to execute and take care of the ball. Treat every first down like a mini touchdown. Small victories lead to big victories.” 

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