By Kevin Casas
Special to the Star-Telegram
Read Full Article Here
UNIVERSITY PARK -- Maybe it was DeSoto's goal-line stand or the turnover that the Eagles finally forced late against Southlake Carroll.
Whatever the talk, Carroll coach Hal Wasson and DeSoto coach Claude Mathis were in agreement that Saturday's Class 5A Division I Region I final was one for the ages.
"We've been in a lot of them. It was a great football game, and obviously we're a little disappointed right now," Wasson said. "What we think really doesn't matter about the ending, but that happens against great football teams like DeSoto."
Mathis' Eagles will move on to a state semifinal matchup against Allen.
"For us to finally get one, get that key turnover in this game was huge," Mathis said. "They've finished it off so many times and at least that turnover may have taken away one opportunity to do it."
After DeSoto took the lead late, it was Bryce English who stuck his hand out just quick enough to jar the ball loose and let the Eagles stave off a score.
Defensive back Nick Orr recovered for DeSoto, and although the Eagles didn't cash in the turnover, the possession ate into what little time Carroll had left.
Still, with some magic left, the Dragons held up Desmon White on fourth-and-3 to earn one final shot.
Quarterback Kenny Hill, however, came up short at the goal line. Wasson said he'd give Hill the ball again, every time.
"Certainly with a crystal ball we might do something different," Wasson said. "But he's our leader, he's been the guy for us now three seasons. If anyone wants to talk after the fact they can come to me, we're going to give the ball to Kenny."
Hill was spectacular with five rushing touchdowns, 98 yards on the ground and 17 completed passes for 342 yards and another score.
"In a lot of ways, we were better than last year's team," Hill said. "Things played out the way they did, we bounced back after the fumble with a huge stop. Obviously, this was a great team. We're like brothers out there and disappointed."
By Ryan Mueller, MobiTree Sports
The Dragons (12-1) move into the Region 1 Final to face the high-flying DeSoto Eagles (13-0) at SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Saturday at 2:00pm.
As two heavyweights fought a close battle last Saturday, Dragon fans give thanks to an unsung hero in Kicker Drew Brown for his monumental field goals that secured a 16-7 victory over Trinity. With points at a premium, Brown accurately nailed kicks from 25, 31, and 42 yards out to push Carroll into a fourth-round showdown with the DeSoto Eagles.
Carroll Kicker Drew Brown Boots a FG vs. Trinity
The undefeated Eagles have long been considered a top title contender and will look to bring their up-tempo offense to the hilltop on Saturday afternoon. DeSoto has won 13 games this year and ended the regular season as District 7-5A champions with impressive division wins over Cedar Hill and Midlothian. The offense is lead by the top scorer in the Metroplex in RB Dontre Wilson. Wilson has rushed for over 1,700 yards and scored a whopping total of 44 touchdowns this season. QB Desmon White provides tremendous offensive balance after throwing for 2,774 yards and 27 touchdowns to only five interceptions. White keeps defenses honest with his feet after producing over 1,100 rushing yards along with 10 rushing touchdowns.
KEY STAT: As shown below, Carroll and DeSoto bring the top two offenses into Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles are arguably the most explosive offense that Carroll will encounter since facing the Allen Eagles to open the regular season. As mentioned during the bi-district round versus Martin, the Dragon defense ranks third in the area at stopping the run, which is a considerable strength for DeSoto. It has been extremely difficult for even the best defenses to win the battle at the line of scrimmage. Just ask the Trinity Trojans, who rank near the top of the list and surrendered a surprising 42 points to the Eagles back in September. Although both high-flying offenses will be determined to break the scoreboard to win this highly-anticipated war, the end-result will stem from the battles taking shape in the trenches.
By the Numbers:
Carroll Dragons- 8.4 PPG (1st in Metroplex)
DeSoto Eagles- 19.6 YPG (9th in Metroplex)
Carroll Dragons- 51.2 PPG (1st in Metroplex)
DeSoto Eagles- 48.2 YPG (3rd in Metroplex)
Carroll Dragons- 521.2 YPG (1st in Metroplex)
DeSoto Eagles- 512.8 YPG (2nd in Metroplex)
DeSoto Eagles- 287.8 YPG (3rd in Metroplex)
Carroll Dragons- 243.8 YPG (15th in Metroplex)
Carroll Dragons- 277.3 YPG (3rd in Metroplex)
DeSoto Eagles- 224.9 YPG (8th in Metroplex)
TOTAL TEAM DEFENSE
Carroll Dragons- 258.2 YPG (5th in Metroplex)
DeSoto Eagles- 290.1 YPG (9th in Metroplex)
Carroll Dragons- 125.1 YPG (3rd in Metroplex)
DeSoto Eagles- 157.2 YPG (12th in Metroplex)
DeSoto Eagles- 132.9 YPG (17th in Metroplex)
Carroll Dragons- 133.1 YPG (18th in Metroplex)