Shake 'em Off
Nov 20, 2014 10:12AM ● Published by Mike
Dragon Quarterback Ryan Agnew shakes off a Mansfield defender in a thrilling 38-31 victory at AT&T Stadium. Photo by K.Campos
by EJ Holland
Somehow, someway Southlake Carroll just finds ways to shake off the opposition.
Five of its 11 games this season have been decided by seven points or fewer, and each time, the Dragons have come out on top. The latest thriller came last weekend in the opening round of the 6A Division II state playoffs.
Down by 14 to Mansfield late in the fourth quarter, Southlake Carroll scored 21 unanswered points in the games’ final six minutes to rally for a 38-31 victory and move on to the area round.
So is it grit, tradition or something else completely? Why do the Dragons always come through in the clutch?
“I don’t think there is an exact science to it. It’s not anything magical,” said head coach Hal Wasson. “We just don’t change our mindset when we get down, and we just stay the course. You just have to have guys step up and make plays, and we do a good job of that. We just have to trust ourselves and trust our schemes.”
Whatever the formula is, Southlake Carroll will need it this Saturday when it returns to AT&T Stadium for a showdown with Denton Guyer in the nightcap of a quadruple header. Like Southlake Carroll, the Wildcats have pedigree. Denton Guyer won back-to-back state titles at the 4A level in 2012 and 2013 and is ready to prove its worth in the state’s largest classification.
And the Wildcats are off to a good start. Denton Guyer finished the regular season with a 9-1 record and won an outright district title.
“This is a challenging second round matchup. There is no doubt that this is a very challenging area with a lot of outstanding football teams,” Wasson said. “Denton Guyer is no stranger to the playoffs. They are a great program, and they are very well coached. We knew it was going to be a challenge in the playoffs.”
Denton Guyer’s only loss came to Allen in the season opener, but that’s when Shawn Robinson was just getting acclimated to the offense. Robinson, a sophomore transfer from Chisholm Trail, replaced Texas signee Jerrod Heard at quarterback and has been nothing short of electric, passing for 2,395 yards, rushing for 1,315 yards and scoring 44 total touchdowns.
Robinson is surrounded by a slew of weapons including wide receivers Adam Scott and Alex Honey and running back Anthony Taylor, all of whom hold FBS offers. Simply put: King Newton, Andy Chelf and the rest of the Southlake Carroll defense has its work cut out for it.
“They have an outstanding quarterback and a ton of playmakers. When you play Guyer, you have to be very disciplined,” Wasson said. “You can’t allow them to gain yards after initial contact or yards after the catch. It’s going to be challenging, there is no doubt about it. We just have to stick to our schemes and be consistent.”
Defensively, Denton Guyer runs a base 4-3 and has a stud along the defensive line in Kansas commit Carl Thompson, who has notched 36 tackles and three sacks this season. The Wildcats also have a couple of big time playmakers in the secondary in Jordan Wallace, an Iowa State pledge, and Ian Edwards.
But Denton Guyer does give up a little more than 25 points per game, and Wasson hopes his offense can take advantage.
“I don’t think you reinvent the wheel against a tough team like Guyer,” he said. “We just have to be consistent and disciplined in the things we’re doing offensively. We have to play with great energy, and we just have to go out and be us. All you can do is be as good as you can be.”
Will that be enough? Remember, the Dragons do thrive in tight contests.