Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Southlake Carroll offense knocks out Coppell in fourth quarter
SOUTHLAKE — This year’s Southlake Carroll offense won’t be confused for the juggernauts that fueled Carroll’s dominant teams of last decade. But when the offense was needed most Friday night, it looked like one of the backbreakers of the Dragons’ glory years.
After struggling to get in the end zone most of the game, Carroll scored touchdowns on its final two drives to seal a 27-10 victory over Coppell at Dragon Stadium.
“We’ve been preparing for this since January,” Carroll coach Hal Wasson said. “We told them that there would be a moment like this.”
By that moment, Wasson meant a time when the Dragons would be pushed into a tight spot. They were on Friday, as Coppell cut the lead to 13-10 early in the fourth quarter.
“Now, let’s go respond,” Wasson told his team.
Carroll (7-0, 4-0 in District 7-5A) responded with its best drive of the night. The Dragons, who are No. 6 in SportsDay’s Class 5A area rankings, went 80 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown that doused Coppell’s hopes.
Quarterback Kenny Hill ran for important yards and swung passes to Peyton Williams and Sabian Holmes as Carroll picked up chunks of yardage and worked the clock. Steven Bergmark capped the drive by taking a handoff, breaking a tackle just past the line of scrimmage and then escaping for a 27-yard touchdown run.
Coppell (5-2, 2-2), No. 13 in the 5A rankings, turned the ball over on downs on its next drive. Carroll then put the game away on Hill’s 19-yard touchdown run with 1:44 left.
“We knew we had to put up more points. We weren’t satisfied at halftime,” Holmes said. “They zoned us and made sure we didn’t get behind them, but we found ways to pick apart the defense.”
Hill was an efficient 23 of 29 for 190 yards, and Williams caught 14 passes for 95 yards, but by halftime, Carroll had only been in the end zone once. And that came after Carroll’s defense recovered a fumble at Coppell’s 25-yard line late in the second quarter.
After settling for field goals on its two longest drives of the half, Carroll took advantage of the turnover. Hill’s 1-yard run gave Carroll a 13-3 lead at halftime.
That was all Carroll would need because of the team’s defense, which was an often overlooked element of the Dragons’ four state champs of the last decade.
Coppell, which is still adjusting to the loss of starting quarterback Jake Larson to a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago, tried to smash its way back into the game in the second half. Running back Luke Jenner, who ran the ball six straight times at one point, finished with 31 carries for 162 yards and a touchdown.
But Carroll’s defense held up against Coppell’s strong front.
“I thought our defense did an outstanding job,” Wasson said. “We knew coming in that the strength of their team was their offensive and defensive fronts. We knew we were going to have to match their physical play.”