Here we go

Posted Monday, Aug. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The buildup will be great. National media will invade Southlake on Friday night. And the word “payback” will be uttered and written. Tickets – which sold out within a few hours when they went on sale on Sunday – should be hard to find and may be scalped.

That’s how big it’s going to be when No. 5 Carroll and No. 1 Allen open the 2013 season at 7:30 p.m. at Dragon Stadium to have their rematch.

For Carroll, nothing stands out from the 2012 meeting. The Dragons were embarrassed, 24-0. So it’s natural to think something is going to be made of them paying back the Eagles.

“We didn’t play the way we were capable of last year,” right tackle Evan Brown said. “It hurt. We’re motivated to play well, but we are every week.”

Although they are not geographically close, there may be a little something something going on between these two Class 5A powers.

“It would be foolish for me to say there’s not a rivalry,” Carroll coach Hal Wasson said. “But we need to keep it simple. Allen won a state championship. We’ve played each other a couple of times in the playoffs. It’s a matchup of two great teams.”

What shouldn’t happen is the loser suffering a hangover. The Dragons rebounded nicely last year and ran off 12 consecutive wins before falling to DeSoto in the Region I championship game.

Carroll’s focus now shifts to junior quarterback Ryan Agnew, who takes over the offense. Sure, he’s already had 239 varsity snaps. But this is different. Decisions must be sharper. The flow with the receivers has to be excellent. The precision is a must. Agnew will run when necessary.

The luxury is that Wasson and his staff don’t have to simplify the playbook, because they’re not breaking in a newbie.

“We’ve got total confidence in him,” Wasson said. “We feel like we got a lot of it figured out in the spring. If we tried to be basic with him, that would be an insult to him. A big part of his game is his feet. So we want to make sure we give him the opportunity to use everything.”

Allen’s speed will present some challenges, especially on defense. To complement the defensive line, the Eagles arguably have two of the state’s best linebackers in Tay Evans and Christian Sam. Evans has verbally committed to Oklahoma. Sam has verbally committed to Arizona State.

“For us, picking up their blitzes is going to be key,” Brown said. “They will create some problems. But I think Ryan doesn’t have to do anything to fill Kenny [Hill’s] shoes. He will make a name for himself.”

As much praise as the Carroll defense has received, this unit knows it will have its own set of problems against Eagle junior quarter Kyler Murray. Murray threw for 2,004 yards and 17 TDs and rushed for 1,370 yards and 25 TDs last year.

“We have tremendous respect for Kyler,” Wasson said. “The hype is well deserved. He quarterbacked a state championship team. He’s hard to tackle and to catch. So we have to do a good job against him.”

Notable…

Wasson settled on his offensive line. He will keep Brown at left tackle, Ian Moss at left guard, Landry Williams at center, Drew Jakala at right guard and Jack Proskovec at right tackle. Brown played center in the spring, but this move appears to be permanent. Proskovec and Williams did see a lot of playing time in 2012 but this will be each player’s first opportunity to start.

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