NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- Of all the high-profile players who took the field Saturday night in front of 12,000-plus at Birdville FA/AC, it was Southlake Carroll's Steven Bergmark who emerged as the star.
The junior linebacker blocked a field goal, recovered a fumble, recorded a sack, scored the Dragons' lone touchdown and intercepted a fourth-quarter pass to seal Carroll's 16-7 victory over Euless Trinity in their Class 5A Division I Region I semifinal slugfest.
"I told our guys yesterday that somebody's going to have a special night tonight. I don't know who it's going to be, but there will be someone who goes down in Dragon history with a big night," Carroll coach Hal Wasson said.
Carroll, the defending Class 5A Division I state champ, pushed its postseason winning streak to nine and won its 12th consecutive game of the season. The Dragons (12-1) will face DeSoto (13-0) in the state quarterfinals at 2 p.m. Saturday at SMU's Ford Stadium.
Trinity (10-3) received the ball to start the game and marched down the field on seven consecutive runs only to have to settle for a 27-yard field goal attempt. Yet, Bergmark burst through the line to block the kick.
On the ensuing possession Carroll converted a 25-yard field goal, the first of three by Drew Brown on the night, but Trinity answered with a 6-yard scoring pass from quarterback Matt Hawkins to 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end Jason Reese. Hawkins completed all five passes on the drive for 65 yards to give the Trojans a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter.
After trading punts, Carroll had third-and-goal from the 1 with just 19 seconds left in the half, and the Dragons called on Bergmark for his lone carry of the night and his second of the season. Bergmark was met at the goal line by several Trojans but stretched the ball out for Carroll's only touchdown.
"I got over it, it was just a big old pile, and I just lowered my shoulder and stretched for the end zone," Bergmark said. "Whatever it takes to get across the pylon."
Bergmark added a fumble recovery in the third quarter. Late in the game, the Trojans looked poised to make it a one-score game inside the Dragons' 5-yard line, but Bergmark picked off a pass to effectively end the game.
"I never thought this in my wildest dreams at all," Bergmark said. "I just knew I had to make plays and today was the game I made plays."
Trinity's defense held quarterback Kenny Hill, the 2012 Gatorade Texas Player of the Year, to just 104 yards passing, with an interception, by dropping back in zone coverage.
But Hill took what the Trojans' gave him. The Texas A&M recruit rushed for a game-high 126 yards and moved to 12-1 in the playoffs as a starter.
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760
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