Holmes, Dragons Ready For Season Opener vs Tulsa Union
Aug 25, 2016 11:43AM ● Published by Mike
From L to R: Jack Johansson, Carson Green, Mason Holmes and Kole Ramage lead the Dragons offense into battle. Photo by Bludoor Studios
Dragon football is back.
After a strong spring, grueling season and productive fall camp, Southlake Carroll is ready to get back on the field and continue the storied program’s tradition of excellence.
Throughout the offseason, Southlake Carroll head coach Hal Wasson said he has preached one word over and over again — consistency.
“We’ve really focused on being consistent,” Wasson says. “We challenged our team all offseason to be consistent. We demand consistency physically, mentally and emotionally to give us an edge.”
There is no doubt Southlake Carroll will need to be consistent in its first game of the year. The Dragons open up the season against a familiar foe in Oklahoma juggernaut Tulsa Union on Friday at 7 p.m. at Dragon Stadium.
Tulsa Union won a district title last year, advanced to the second round of the playoffs and brings back a slew of talented players.
“They are obviously a powerhouse in Oklahoma,” Wasson says. “They are extremely talented and well-coached. They are a very confident team with all the success they’ve had. They have playmakers all over the place.”
Southlake Carroll has knocked off Tulsa Union by four points last season and a combined five points over the last two years, and Wasson expects the Dragons to be involved in yet another thriller.
“We have to be at our best right out of the gate to beat a team like that,” Wasson says. “We’ve played them twice over the last two years, and each time it’s come down to the last play — literally. We have to get out to a good start.”
Due to graduation, Southlake Carroll will be without offensive juggernauts Lil’ Jordan Humphrey (Texas), Zach Farrar (Oklahoma) and Shemar Coleman who collectively represented more than 4,500 yards of offense last season. The good news is the return of some stability and leadership from returning quarterback Mason Holmes. Now a senior and captain, Holmes looks to improve upon his stellar numbers from a year ago when he threw for 2,899 yards and 38 TDs against just five picks.
Holmes should have time to throw with thanks to an experienced offensive line led by Texas A&M commit Carson Green, Cade Long and Justin Lee who all saw plenty of action a year ago.
But that’s where the experience ends. Understandably so, the receivers and backs are inexperienced at the skill positions. Young players like senior running back Jack Johansson and wide receivers Jackson Davis and Cade Bell will have to grow up in a hurry against a stout Tulsa Union defensive that features Oklahoma cornerback commit Tre Brown and Minnesota linebacker pledge Kyrei Fisher.
Tulsa Union, which averaged 43.8 points per game last season, leans heavily on its ground game, which is led by Tulsa commit Shamari Brooks. The Redskins also have an X-Factor in 6-foot-5 junior wide receiver CJ Moore. Southlake Carroll returns nine starters on defense, but Tulsa Union definitely poses a daunting task.
Overall, Wasson believes the key to the game will be winning the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball. And that means guys like Luke Jeter, Ryan Miller and Grant Phelps will need to play at their highest.
“It’s going to come down to the fronts — our offensive and defensive lines,” Wasson says. “I really believe that. We have to be much, much stronger against the run. On the flip side, we have to be much better in our run offense. Both the groups have to be at their best.”