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Southlake Style

Dragons Week 3 Preview: Rockwall

Sep 15, 2017 10:35AM ● By Mike
Audricke Gaines runs in for the go-ahead score in a 30-23 Dragon win vs Rockwall ISD on Friday 9/9/16. Photo Courtesy of S.Johnson.

The final tune-up for the District 5-6A season takes place at 7:30 p.m. Friday when Carroll welcomes Rockwall to Dragon Stadium.

The Yellow Jackets advanced to the area round of the playoffs a year ago after falling to the Dragons in non-district action, 30-23. Audricke Gaines ran for two scores and wide receiver Cade Bell caught seven passes for 133 yards in last season's matchup.

Thus far in 2017, Rockwall has posted a 1-1 record while being involved in a pair of shootouts, topping Highland Park to open the season, 53-49, before coming up shy against Rowlett, 48-41.

Rockwall’s offense has been explosive behind transfer quarterback Jacob Clark, averaging 464 yards per game, however that figure has been offset by a defense that has surrendered 477 yards per game. 

Clark has been a big reason for Rockwall’s offensive success, completing 66 percent of his passes for 765 yards and eight touchdowns against just one interception thus far. 

Wasson believes Rockwall’s skill players are its strength, and that has been on display thus far. 

Wide receiver Jaxon Smith has hauled in 20 receptions for 373 yards and two scores, while Cameron Crayton has 17 catches for 266 yards and four touchdowns. 

“They are very prolific,” Wasson said. “They are two guys that if you don’t make the tackle, they’ll take it to the house on you and we have to do a better job of limiting the big play because that’s something that really hurt us last week against (Arlington) Martin.”

Rockwall running back Lo’yer Bailey, meanwhile, has 29 carries for 144 yards and three touchdowns on the young season. 

Carroll will be tested even further as they will enter the game missing four starters defensively, though they are expected to be back on the field by the district opener. 

Defensively, Rockwall figured to be stout with nine starters returning, but has had issues early this season.

That’s something the Dragons will look to exploit, but Wasson knows a youthful offense will have to limit its miscues. 

“In two games, we’ve really hurt ourselves with inexperienced and silly mistakes,” Wasson said. 

Carroll will be without the services of wide receiver Colton Phillips for the rest of the season following an injury, but Wasson is confident in the depth of the unit to pick up the slack. 

“I really just feel sick for Colton,” Wasson said. “It’s tough for a senior that has worked so hard to get back in the fold to have that happen, but that’s the way it is sometimes.”

Wasson also noted he would like to see his team play free and easy this week heading into the bye and subsequent district action.

“We have 17 new starters,” he said. “That’s not an excuse and I still feel very good about this team. I really just want to see them loosen up a little and go out and have fun with it.”