Dragons Bi-District Playoff Preview
Nov 17, 2017 10:31AM ● Published by Mike
On Friday at Dragon Stadium, the Dragons open the playoffs when they take on McKinney in a Class 6A Division II bi-district contest.
It is the 18th straight season the Dragons have competed in the tournament with Carroll last missing the postseason in 1999.
The Dragons enter this foray having faced some of the area’s toughest running backs during the regular season in Marcus’ Justin Dinka and Euless Trinity’s Courage Keihn as well as a non-district contest against a power rushing attack at Broken Arrow.
But on Friday, the squad will see its stiffest test yet as Matt Gadek and the Lions come to town.
Gadek finished as the area’s leading rusher (2,207 yards, 8.3 per carry, 17 touchdowns) and finished nearly 500 yards better than his closest 6A competitor.
Gadek’s statistics were buoyed by the best single-game rushing performance in Texas history when he racked up 599 yards on 49 carries in a 63-50 win over Plano East.
That was one of four wins in District 6-6A for the Lions, who finished the season at 7-3 overall and third in the district.
But after opening the season at 4-0, McKinney has gone just 3-3 since with its wins over Plano Senior and Wylie by a combined five points.
As noted, Gadek has turned heads on the ground this season, but that doesn’t make the Lions a one-trick pony.
Quarterbcak Damon Witmer has thrown for 1,360 yards with 16 touchdowns against just four interceptions while Cordrick Dunn has supplemented the rushing attack with 598 yards on 75 carries and five scores. Receivers Troydell Griffin and Quinton Quirrenbach have 28 and 22 receptions for 584 and 348 yards, respectively, with 15 combined touchdowns.
Defensively, McKinney has surrendered 29 points per game (the Dragons allow just 24) and 373 yards per game, including allowing at least 30 points in four of its last five games.
The Lions have been attacked in a variety of ways, allowing two 300-yard passers and three 100-yard rushers, including a quarterback, during the stretch.
That should have Hal Wasson and the Carroll offense excited. Behind quarterback Will Bowers and a powerful offensive line, the Dragons have shown the ability to move the ball in a variety of ways throughout the 2017 campaign. Bowers has shown a propensity to hit multiple receivers throwing for 1,711 yards and 22 touchdowns. Most importantly, the Dragons welcome back TJ McDaniel who missed several games due to injury. The star running back has rushed for 1,332 yards and 16 touchdowns through district play.
When it comes to postseason experience Carroll holds a definitive advantage.
As noted, the Dragons are in the playoffs for the 18th straight season, while McKinney is in the postseason for the first time since 2009 and hasn’t won a game since 1994.