Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Southlake Carroll's Hal Wasson unfazed by Kenny Hill's spring game absence
SOUTHLAKE – The defending Class 5A Division I state football champions finished spring practice with a spirited instrasquad game Thursday night, absent a key cog in last year’s sparkling unbeaten season.
But no one seems too concerned, least of all Southlake Carroll head coach Hal Wasson.
“Obviously, it would have been nice to have Kenny [Hill],” Wasson said of his senior All-State and honorable mention All-American quarterback, who accounted for 346 yards total offense and four touchdowns as Carroll beat Fort Bend Hightower, 36-29, in the championship game last December at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Hill, son of former Texas Rangers pitcher Ken Hill, opted for baseball over football this spring.
“Actually, we looked at it as a positive,” Wasson said. “I know what Kenny is capable of doing and this situation gave our back-ups some great reps and competition.”
Four quarterbacks took snaps in Hill’s absence Thursday night, with Ryan Agnew showing the most polish running Carroll’s high-octane spread offense.
Agnew led four scoring drives, throwing touchdown passes of 34 yards to Luke Timian and 89 yards to Ray Crockett. Junior running back and returning starter A.J. Ezzard capped the other two drives with scoring runs of 12 and three yards.
“We came away very excited about the development [of our young quarterbacks],” Wasson said. “[Kenny’s absence] didn’t negate in any way what we wanted to accomplish. Without a doubt, it was a positive in our growth and development plan.”
Hill wasn’t the only key contributor absent from spring football drills. All-District center Austin Tyrone and All-District placekicker Drew Brown are also in the state playoffs with Hill and the rest of the Carroll baseball team.
Again, Wasson is unconcerned.
“I feel our strengths will be our kicking game, offensive backfield and team work ethic,” he said. “I’ve also been pleased with the development of our receivers and defensive front.”
Wasson certainly seems right about the kicking game.
Filling in for Brown, senior placekicker Ty Cummings had a 44-yard field goal and just missed wide left from 52. Punter Sam Downey also showed a strong leg, booming several kicks more than 40 yards.
Other highlights included a 69-yard touchdown run by Luke Kissick and a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown by Josh Sommerhalter.
Carroll also showed off its typical cast of fast, sure-handed receivers, led by Crockett, Timian and Joe Heineman.
Crockett, who also plays defensive back, and senior All-District safety Tanner Jacobson showed glimpses that the Carroll secondary will give pause to opposing quarterbacks as well.
Overall, Wasson was pleased with Carroll’s progress.
“As most springs, you identify areas that you need to improve,” Wasson said. “We were able to develop depth, particularly on the offensive side without the services of four starters.”
But he cautioned Carroll fans that there’s still much work to be done.
“As awesome as it was to win the state championship last season, everyone in our fieldhouse knows that’s old news,” Wasson said.”We know we have a great deal of work to do and we must continue to get stronger and prepare to play at a very high level.”