Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: No. 1 Allen kicks off state title defense by blasting No. 2 Carroll, 49-27
SOUTHLAKE — Late in the third quarter Friday, when Allen had extended its lead to three touchdowns, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” began pouring out of the speakers at Dragon Stadium.
But in the matchup of the area’s top-ranked Class 5A teams, Allen kept pouring it on.
The area’s top-ranked Eagles, the defending Class 5A Division I champions, piled up more than 600 yards of offense and ran away from No. 2 Southlake Carroll, 49-27.
“It’s definitely what we came out to do,” said Allen junior quarterback Kyler Murray. “Last year we beat them bad, and they’ve been hyped up for us. We’ve been working hard all summer.”
For what appears to be another long run in the fall.
Allen, which is also No. 1 in the state rankings, held Carroll to only two offensive touchdowns. But it was the Eagles’ offense that wiped out Carroll’s hope of avenging last year’s season-opening loss.
Murray completed 17 of 24 passes for 464 yards and three touchdowns. His lone interception, on a tipped pass in the first quarter, was returned by Carroll linebacker Joel McClellan for a touchdown.
That gave Carroll an early 7-0 lead, but it was obvious that Allen wouldn’t be kept off the scoreboard for long. Allen’s offense moved the ball well throughout the first half, helped by Murray extending plays — and drives — with his fleet scrambling that drove opponents crazy last season. The Eagles’ biggest plays, however, came on Murray’s passes.
In the second quarter, senior receiver Cole Carter got behind the defense for touchdowns of 88 and 74 yards. On the two plays, Carter briefly engaged a linebacker with a block and then released and got wide open down field. The two touchdowns, which came within a four-minute span, turned a tie into a 28-14 Allen lead.
Carroll narrowed the gap to 28-17 with a 34-yard field goal as the half expired, but 12 seconds into the third quarter, Allen scored again on a 75-yard catch and run from Murray to senior receiver Grant Finney. The Eagles were firmly in control, especially with the ability to grind the clock with the running of Murray and powerful backs Mev Ajdin and Jaelen Barlow.
Carroll junior quarterback Ryan Agnew, in the tough role of following former Dragons star Kenny Hill (now at Texas A&M), completed 17 of 34 passes for 223 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. He’ll improve, obviously, and so will Carroll.
The Dragons will have no trouble making the playoffs. It’s a safe bet that in November, when wins and losses truly decide what’s still to come and what could’ve been, both Allen and Carroll will be well-oiled machines.
For Allen and Carroll, Friday was a high-profile, high-intensity learning experience. The amped atmosphere of Dragon Stadium might’ve made it feel like do or die at times, but Carroll’s season is still very much alive.
The Dragons can learn from the loss and see that, despite the disappointment, all of the marbles are still in play this season. Allen, after an impressive start in the oppressive heat, can happily say that it’s rolling in the right direction.
Both teams’ championship beliefs are still intact.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter at @mattwixon.
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