SOUTHLAKE — Allen opened the 2012 season by christening its $60 million stadium with a 24-0 rout of defending state champ Southlake Carroll.
The stunning result left many wondering if Allen was that good, if Carroll was that bad or if it was a combination of the two. It turned out Allen was that good as the Eagles went on to win the Class 5A Division I state championship.
No. 1 Allen at No. 5 Southlake Carroll
7:30 tonight, Dragon Stadium
TV: KTXA/21, 10:30 p.m. (tape delay)
Tickets: Some standing room only tickets could be available at game time.
Parking: $3 at the stadium, free parking shuttle available from The King’s University at Gateway campus
Carroll has the opportunity to return last year’s favor at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at what is expected to be a sold-out Dragon Stadium.
“There’s definitely a little revenge factor with all of the players who played last year,” Carroll linebacker Steven Bergmark said. “But I mean, hey, it’s just the first game, and we’re just going to treat it as a normal game. They’re the first opponent.”
The spotlight will be on the quarterbacks for opposite reasons. Allen’s Kyler Murray returns after claiming offensive MVP honors in the title game, and he is considered one of the top signal-callers in the state. He expects the Dragons to be amped for the rematch.
“It’ll be a big one; they’re ready for us,” Murray said. “They’re salty, so when we get over there, they’ll be ready. It should be a good game.”
Ryan Agnew will make his first start under center for the Dragons after having plenty of time to prepare. Agnew received a lot of playing time in mop-up duty last season, but now he’s the man.
“Ryan Agnew didn’t start training for this job last year or the year before or last week,” Carroll coach Hal Wasson said. “He knew from the time he was in elementary school he wanted to be a Dragon quarterback, and he’s trained himself physically and mentally to be that guy.”
Complicating matters for Agnew and the Dragons is an inexperienced offensive line that returns just one starter, albeit a very good one, in SMU commit Evan Brown. Wasson said the coaching staff is high on the unit but that it can’t know for sure until it sees the unit play under the lights. They’ll know a lot more after facing what Wasson said was perhaps the best defense in the country.
Carroll’s biggest challenge on defense will be containing Murray. The junior quarterback is an effective passer, but Murray, who rushed for 1,370 yards and 25 scores last season, is especially dangerous when he tucks the ball and scrambles.
“The key is going to be containing Kyler Murray and to play smart and hard,” Carroll nose guard Nash Dickey said. “They have a pretty good O-line, but we have a pretty good D-line. We’re fast, we’re athletic, we’re going to get at them.”
Wasson downplayed the notion of revenge earlier this week, instead saying the Dragons want to make amends for the disappointing performance last year.
“Obviously, we have a lot of respect for Allen. They are everything they are billed and advertised to be,” Wasson said. “They have eight starters back on defense, and, by the way, we didn’t score on them last year. With that being said, we were really disappointed and felt that we didn’t execute like we could have, should have. It’s going to be a huge challenge.”
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JohnsonJarret
Special to S-T/Michael Prengler
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