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Southlake Style

Dragons Climb National Ranks

Dec 07, 2018 01:38PM ● By Mike

When it comes to high school football, the longer you play, the more national acclaim may come your way. As the Dragons (13-0) continue their UIL State Championship drive with a flurry of dominate performances, the rest of the nation is just beginning to take notice.

A lopsided 35-7 victory over a storied Euless Trinity Trojan program vaulted Dodge’s Dragons to a No. 24 ranking on this week’s MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national poll. The poll is not computer generated, but rather MaxPreps writers determine the ranking based on strength of schedule, talent, quality wins, returning starters and connecting with local media from around the country.

Pollsters are just now catching up to what much of North Texas already knew, the Dragons have a deep and formidable team that just keeps getting better each week.

First year head coach Riley Dodge was a high school phenom known for outstanding statistics during his years playing at Dragon Stadium. As a three-year letterman from 2005-2007 Dodge threw for 8,143 yards and 101 touchdowns. In addition to the 2006 5A State Championship, he was given multiple honors including being named as a 2008 Parade All-American and two time Texas 5A Offensive Player of the Year.

Now, Will Bowers lines up under center for the Dragons. Bowers may not be as flashy as his coach once was, but he is putting together one of the most efficient seasons ever for a Dragon quarterback. Bowers is completing 70 percent of his passes and has thrown 19 touchdowns to just one interception on the season and is coming off perhaps his best game of the season where he threw for 245 yards and two scores and ran for another in last week’s victory over Euless.

The area’s leading rusher and Landry Award finalist TJ McDaniel (1,971 yards, 33 TDs) provides the ground game behind a stout offensive line that more than balances the offensive equation.

But if you argued the defense was leading the way during the Dragon’s late season surge, you wouldn’t be wrong.  Behind Michael Parrish, Graham Faloona, Preston Forney and RJ Mickens the Dragons have only given up 12 points per game during the 2018 UIL postseason. What’s more impressive is they’ve found their groove against big name opponents like Coppell and DeSoto and the aforementioned Trojans.

They’ll face a tough opponent tomorrow in the Duncanville Panthers (12-0). The Panthers are also on the national stage, ranked at No. 15 by MaxPreps and arguably have the best defense in the state.

As the seasons of many teams have already come to an end, it is nice to see national recognition come the Dragon’s way. Hopefully there will be more to come.