NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- Southlake Carroll glided into the playoffs on Thursday night, winning 56-17 against Haltom at Birdville Fine Arts and Athletic Complex.
Aaron Hoagland's 99-yard interception return sparked a run of 35 unanswered points for the Dragons.
Down 21-14 but with the ball on the Carroll 8, Haltom looked ready to cash in on its third consecutive long drive.
But Hoagland jumped in front of a slant route and outran everyone to the end zone.
On the next play, the Dragons recovered an onside kick to give them another possession, which started on the Haltom 45. Four plays later, Kenny Hill scored from 10 yards out.
The Carroll offense was at its best in the first half. The offense scored 35 points on 19 plays, gaining a total of 270 yards.
The Buffalos started the game with an exuberant energy on Senior Day, and it carried out onto the field.
When Haltom scored its first touchdown, every uniformed member of the team ran from the sideline to celebrate with Travis Danford after his 1-yard plunge into the end zone, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
The scoreline does not properly convey the test that the Buffalos and their unorthodox triple option offense gave the Dragons in the first quarter.
It seemed that the Dragons might have needed the extra day of practice missed with the Thursday night game.
Haltom started the game with 75-yard touchdown drives of 10 and 11 plays.
It took Carroll 11 seconds to respond.
The Dragons recovered Haltom's surprise onside kick attempt, and A.J. Ezzard scampered 56 yards on the next play for a touchdown.
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