ALLEN -- The Allen Eagles might still be celebrating.
A standing-room-only crowd of 21,766 watched as Allen opened it's new $59.6 million stadium against defending Class 5A Division I state champion Southlake Carroll on Friday night. The Eagles gave their raucous fans a lot to cheer about.
Allen controlled the line, on offense and defense, and made all of the big plays to shut out the Dragons 24-0.
Even during pregame, the Allen players recognized something special was going to take place
"I came out here during warmups and got chills," Allen quarterback Oliver Pierce said. "It was amazing."
Pierce led a strong Allen rushing attack to start the game. He picked up three long first downs with his legs and converted another through the air on Allen's opening drive. Running back Jeff Harris scored from 1-yard out to put the Eagles up 7-0 early.
"It was so exciting to play in front of this crowd tonight," Harris said. "We were a little nervous coming out, but you settle down and get the butterflies out. We got a lot of extra energy from the fans. They helped a lot. Our student section was full. Full of excitement."
Allen added another touchdown in the closing seconds of the second quarter after Cameron Hartsfield blocked a Carroll punt and Stone Drulman recovered the ball on the Dragons' 2-yard line. Pierce ran the ball into the end zone on the next play to give Allen a 14-0 lead.
Carroll had chances to steal the momentum, but all of the Dragons' second-half drives ended in fumbles, failed fourth-down attempts and punts.
"We made history," said Harris, who scored Allen's final touchdown, a 1-yard run in the third. "We were the first to play here, and we beat Southlake."
The Eagles added a field goal in the fourth. Carroll, which entered the season with a 16-game winning streak and the Class 5A AP No. 1 ranking, never got its footing. Sophomore quarterback Kyler Murray replaced Pierce for most of the second half and threw for 147 yards on 8-for-14 passing.
"We've worked hard all summer, and we wanted to come out and be physical running the ball. But when we needed to pass, we did awesome," said Pierce, who finished with 54 yards rushing and was 4-for-4 passing for 40 yards.
Carroll quarterback Kenny Hill ran for 55 yards on 17 attempts and was 12-for-29 passing for 155 yards. Next week, Carroll will try to bounce back at home against Midland. Allen (1-0) will play Cedar Hill.
"We knew they were the defending state champs coming in," Pierce said. "I don't know if they were too cocky or not, or if we are just that good. I guess we will find out next week."
Brent Shirley, 817-390-7760
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