Nolan Catholic routed Austin St. Michael's last week 40-14 to advance to the TAPPS Division I state title game.
That's nothing new. The Vikings are an unstoppable private-school football force headed to their fifth consecutive state championship game, looking for their fourth title in that span and their sixth since 2004.
But Nolan (11-2) did accomplish a feat it never had: three players in a single game with more than 100 yards rushing. Luke Alves (135 yards, two touchdowns), Joe Montez (111, touchdown) and Joseph Prud'homme (112, two scores) helped the Vikings batter the Crusaders for 397 rushing yards.
"I was kind of dumbfounded because I had never thought about it, I didn't realize we had three of them go over 100," Nolan coach Joe Prud'homme said. "What it does is it illustrates balance in the run game and makes it tougher to key on because everybody is a threat."
Nolan entered last week averaging 205 rushing yards per game, but 397 was by far its season high, 62 better than against Plano John Paul II on Sept. 28.
One of the keys was Prud'homme, the coach's' son at quarterback, topping the 100 for the first time.
"Our offensive coordinator, Mark Deason, is outstanding. He has new wrinkles every week and puts our kids in a great position to execute," coach Prud'homme said. "[Last week] we ran a lot of different formations, had an advantage on some sides and our offensive line probably had one of its best games blocking."
The Vikings take on Addison Trinity Christian (11-2), a team they beat 28-7 on Oct. 5, in the title game at 3 p.m. Saturday at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco.
Fear the Dragons' 'D'
After Southlake Carroll's 16-7 victory against Euless Trinity in the region semifinals Saturday, the Dragons are halfway to defending their Class 5A Division I state title and they're doing it again with tremendous defense.
"We've always hung our hat on defense; it wins championships," Carroll coach Hal Wasson said. "When you get in this kind of game, we know we are going to have to play great defense. I'm so proud of our coaches and our football team for just staying the course."
Though the Dragons entered the game as an offensive juggernaut averaging 54 points per contest, Trinity shortened the game by sitting back in a zone defense and with a ball-control offense.
The strategy looked as if it might work, but Carroll's defense was even better, limiting Trinity to 249 total yards and pitching a shutout after halftime. Linebacker Steven Bergmark led by blocking a kick, recovering a fumble and intercepting a late fourth-quarter pass.
Last week was not an aberration. The Dragons have played stellar defense all season and especially in the playoffs. Through three postseason games, Carroll is limiting opponents to 12.3 points per game, just 6.7 in the second half.
Carroll will be matched against DeSoto (13-0) in the Region I final Saturday at 2 p.m. at SMU's Ford Stadium.
Turner the burner
Birdville running back Xavier Turner has been on fire this postseason. The 5-foot-10, 200-pound junior has rushed 72 times for 619 yards and 11 touchdowns in three playoff wins for the Hawks (13-0). That's an impressive average of 206 yards and almost four touchdowns on 24 carries per outing.
Turner has 1,444 yards and 29 scores on the ground this season, plus 323 yards and three TDs on 20 catches.
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760
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