Dragons excited about strong defense

Posted Monday, Aug. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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History shows that whenever Carroll has won a state championship, the Dragons have featured a defensive football team that’s just as overwhelming as its offense.

The 1992 and 2002 teams immediately come to mind. Those Carroll teams were consistently winning games with results of 49-7 or something like it.

Well, the offseason and August talk of the 2013 Dragons has centered how good this defense can be. Coach Hal Wasson has said publicly how the front seven help him sleep better at night. It still does as Carroll begins pursuit of its ninth state championship and sixth as a Class 5A school.

“I’m just impressed with our defensive speed,” Wasson said. “They’re just playing really fast. All of them run really well to where they need to be. We may not be the biggest but we can do a lot of things. And the experience will be a factor for us.”

Carroll’s 2012 12-2 season ended in the frustration of a 49-45 loss to DeSoto in the Region I championship game. Linebacker Steven Bergmark said recently he apologized to the seniors for his performance in that game. That motivated him and the defense.

Well, this group should get two great early tests to find out against two athletic quarterbacks. The opener against defending 5A Division I state champion and No. 1 ranked Allen features dual-threat junior quarterback Kyler Murray, son of former Texas A&M quarterback Kevin Murray. Game 3 is a trip to Waco’s Floyd Casey Stadium and a battle with Temple which features junior dual-threat and Baylor commit Chad President.

“Those games will definitely be a gauge for us,” Wasson said. “But we want to play athletic teams. We can’t simulate in practice what those kids can do. But if our kids see what those quarterbacks can do and adapt to their speed and get better angles, then that will help throughout the year.”

The Dragon offense should be as potent as always with Ryan Agnew taking over for Kenny Hill Jr. at quarterback. He isn’t inexperienced, with 239 2012 varsity snaps. He also has a great amount of help around him in running back A.J. Ezzard and wide receivers Luke Timian, Ryan Weigel and Keaton Duhon. An inexperienced offensive line has made great progress since the spring, Wasson said.

Carroll should win the District 4-5A championship. But that doesn’t cut it around these parts.

“We want to be as good as we can be when it matters the most,” Wasson said.

That “when” is deep into December and the Saturday before Christmas.

2013 Dragons

Coach: Hal Wasson (7th year)

2012: 12-2 (7-0 in 4-5A); lost to DeSoto, 49-45, in Class 5A Division I Region I final

Returning starters: 5 offense, 6 defense

Key returners: LB Steven Bergmark, C Evan Brown, QB Ryan Agnew, RB A.J. Ezzard, WR Luke Timian, WR RyanWeigel, PK Drew Brown, DL King Newton, LB J.B. Copeland

Notable: Carroll begins the 2013 season ranked No. 5 in the Class 5A AP preseason poll … Evan Brown has verbally committed to SMU. Drew Brown has verbally committed to Nebraska … don’t expect Evan Brown to move from his center position. Wasson is building that inexperienced unit around him.

Carroll won the 2013 state 7-on-7 championship without doing anything gimmicky. This team just ran its base offense and defense. Wasson believes that should build confidence for Agnew as long as he keeps it in perspective.

Weigel could break out and have a 1,000-yard season… Ezzard is searching for consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons ... Wasson's record over six seasons with the Dragons is 68-13.

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