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Regional Round Preview: Dragons vs Arlington Colts

Nov 30, 2017 02:53PM ● Published by Mike

by Justin Thomas


RJ Mickens makes a spectacular catch as the Dragons defeated the Desoto Eagles 33-15 in last week's Area Round of the 2017 UIL Playoffs.
Carroll’s boys in blonde are back in the third round of the playoffs after downing defending state champ DeSoto 33-15 in the area round last Saturday in Frisco. The win appropriately avenges a Dragon loss to the Eagles in the same round a year ago. Now Hal Wasson and the Dragons shift their attention to the Arlington Colts (10-2). Kickoff will be this Saturday at 7 pm once again at the Star in Frisco.
 
Carroll is seeking its first berth in the regional final since falling to eventual state champ Cedar Hill in 2014. Arlington, meanwhile, last advanced to the fourth round in 2009 and was previously eliminated in the regional semifinals in 2012.

“Saturday was a big win for us,” said Hal Wasson, Carroll head coach. “We’re excited for the chance to move on and for the opportunity to play Arlington.

“Getting through the Metroplex is an ordeal to say the least. There are so many talented teams and I’m very proud of our guys for what they’ve done and where they are right now.”

Speaking of talent, Arlington boasts plenty of it after posting a 10-2 thus far and rolling to two playoff wins by a combined score of 114-55.

Arlington boasts an offense that has produced 39 points and 436 yards per game and a defense that surrenders 23.89 points and 343 yards per contest.

The Colts’ offense is helmed by dual-threat quarterback D’Montae Davis, who has thrown for 1,594 yards (62 percent completions) with 20 touchdowns against three interceptions, while rushing for 1,234 yards (7.4 per carry) and an additional 18 scores.
 
Wasson likened the Colts attack to that of Martin.
 
“They have good skill guys and it starts with their quarterback,” he said. “I think Martin is a good comparison from the quarterback perspective in that they both feature guys as runners that can extend plays with their feet. But you can’t just concentrate on the quarterback because they have a very talented runner and good receivers.”
 
Wasson is alluding to running back Kenland McCray who enters the game with 1,343 yards (8.2 per rush) and 10 touchdowns and wide-receiver Trey Cleveland who has 32 receptions for 486 yards and six touchdowns. McCray is also dangerous in the passing game and has hauled in 17 catches for 363 yards with two touchdowns.
 
In Arlington’s second-round win over El Paso Montwood, both McCray (11 carries, 223 yards) and Davis (12 carries, 220 yards) eclipsed 200 yards, as did Zander Benson (19 rushes, 229 yards) as Arlington rushed for a team high of 665 yards on the ground. All of it came on just 42 attempts (15.5 per carry).

“Our defense gave a great effort against DeSoto and has been playing well,” Wasson said. “They’re playing fast and confident and it’s been fun to see their maturation, but we’re going to need a similar effort to get past Arlington.”
 
Speed is prevalent on the defensive side of the ball for Arlington as well.
And while the Colts have surrendered 24 points per game, few teams faced the slew of talented opponents Arlington did during the regular season.
 
 “They’re fast and athletic and they have a very strong secondary,” Wasson said. “We’re going to have our hands full, but any time you get this far, the teams are just so strong overall.”

If the talent and a third-round berth isn’t enough to get the Dragons excited, Carroll is also relishing the chance to compete at The Star for the second consecutive week.

“It’s a great venue,” Wasson said. “You could really feel the energy out there last week. It kind of had an old-school feel to it and we’re excited to be back there this week for Arlington.” 
Dragon Pride, City+School 2017 UIL Playoffs Arlington Colts
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