Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Southlake Carroll rallies from 17 down to beat Arlington Bowie
BEDFORD — Trailing by 17 points late in the first half Saturday, it was time for Southlake Carroll to make adjustments. The Dragons needed to fix their offense, their defense, and pretty much everything at Pennington Field.
But maybe it was the change of attitude that was most important as Carroll stormed back for a 21-17 victory over Arlington Bowie and a spot in the Class 5A Division I Region I final.
“We asked, ‘What would you do for one more week of football?’” Carroll linebacker Will Davis said. “That’s how we came out in the second half fired up and ready to go.”
And ready to rally, because that’s what Carroll (13-0) needed to do in the second half to get back to a regional final for the second time in three years. Carroll will face Arlington Martin (12-1), a winner over previously undefeated Euless Trinity, at 6 p.m. Saturday at SMU’s Ford Stadium.
Carroll trailed Bowie (9-4), 17-0, with less than a minute left in the first half. It had only 36 yards of total offense before quarterback Kenny Hill launched a deep pass into a stiff wind and Sabian Holmes hauled it in for a 54-yard touchdown with nine seconds left.
Given the way Bowie’s defense was dominating, it was hard to foresee the importance of the late score. But then Carroll’s first drive of the third quarter was a quick seven-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that included Hill connecting with Holmes for completions of 46 and 18 yards.
After a Bowie punt, Carroll again drove down the field before settling for a 25-yard field goal. Bowie ran into kicker Drew Brown, however, and Carroll took the tying points off the board to get a first-and-goal at the 4. Two plays later, Hill bulled in from 1 yard out to give Carroll a 21-17 lead with 50 seconds left in the third.
“We wanted to come out and play faster in the second half,” said Hill, who was a workhorse with 27 carries for 79 yards and two touchdowns. “We knew we had stuff open and it was just a matter of hitting it.”
Once Carroll started hitting, the change was dramatic. Carroll only had three first downs in the first half and it was 1-for-7 on third-down conversions. On its two touchdown drives in the third quarter, Carroll converted five of six third downs.
“We didn’t think we were playing Dragon football in the first half,” Carroll coach Hal Wasson said. “We weren’t focused on us. For us to be good, we have to be focused on what we can control.”
Bowie was the one in control in the first half. The Vols jumped to a 17-0 lead by busting some big plays in the first half with running back Russell Hansbrough and quarterback Kolby Listenbee.
But in the second half, Carroll’s defense made all the big stops. The biggest came when Bowie was at midfield with six minutes left. Bowie’s Eric Rivers was stripped of the ball and Carroll defensive back Tanner Jacobson recovered.
Carroll then marched to the 3-yard line and drained more than five minutes off the clock. Bowie didn’t get the ball back until it had used all its timeouts and only 31 seconds remained.