Arlington Martin, Southlake Carroll enter hype-filled matchups

Posted Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Arlington Martin has opened the last two seasons against DeSoto and Dallas Skyline. The Warriors met Euless Trinity in the playoffs in 2010 and 2011, and Southlake Carroll in 2011 and 2012.

And last week, they scrimmaged Allen, winners of two straight state titles.

Martin isn’t yet in the highest echelon of Texas high school football. But the Warriors will keep going at those that are until they get there.

The Warriors open another season against DeSoto at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Midlothian, the same place where the Eagles ended Martin’s season in November in the third round of the Class 5A Division I playoffs. Next week, Martin plays Skyline at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

“Obviously, I couldn’t [schedule those teams] my first year here,” Martin coach Bob Wager said. “We had to build a program. There’s no shock value to us anymore to play teams like [Southlake] Carroll, and [Euless] Trinity and Skyline. At this point now, while certainly we have a great deal of respect for them, the objective is to win the game.”

Last year, DeSoto handled Martin in the season opener 46-7. Three months later, Martin trailed by five at halftime before DeSoto pulled away for a 56-34 win.

“I don’t know if you can have a greater measuring stick,” Wager said. “I think DeSoto is the best team around.”

Wager described his team’s performance against Allen as half solid, half Bad News Bears. But most of that was working through first-game nerves. The Warriors are relatively young, but not without experience.

Quarterback Eric Walker started as a sophomore last year and threw for more than 2,000 yards and 17 touchdowns. Walker, a two-sport athlete, committed to LSU baseball earlier this month. Martin also returns the running back tandem of junior Nic Smith and senior Jalum Bouldin, who combined for more than 2,000 yards rushing in 2013.

But the Warriors aren’t the only area team prepping for a hyped game. Across Tarrant County, the Carroll Dragons open against Austin Westlake 7:30 p.m. Friday at Dragon Stadium in Westlake. Carroll is ranked No. 6 in Class 6A in The Associated Press preseason poll. And on top of hosting a tradition-rich program in Westlake, Carroll will also be welcoming back former coach Todd Dodge, who led the Dragons to four state championships from 2002-06.

Dodge left to become head coach at North Texas. He was fired in 2010 and returned to coach high school in 2012, at Marble Falls.

“I’m sure it’s played up more by maybe some of the fan base than the players,” said Carroll coach Hal Wasson, who took over for Dodge and won a state title in 2011. “That was a tremendous run. There was a lot of good coaches, a lot of good players. But at the end of the day, I think our players that are in existence today, they just know us.”

The quarterback for Dodge’s first title game was Wasson’s son, Chase Wasson. Hal Wasson’s first quarterback as a Carroll head coach was Dodge’s son, Riley Dodge.

“Any team that coach Dodge and his staff coach, I know they’re going to be very well coached,” Hal Wasson said. “We’re starting out with a bang.”

Former Carroll district foe Keller will be the first local team to start the season. The Indians play at Midland Lee at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Midland’s Grande Communications Stadium. The game will be the first of five in the ASCO Midland Football Madness. Midland High plays Smithson Valley on Saturday.

Keller left for Midland on Wednesday and will return Thursday night in time for school on Friday. Coach Carl Stralow said he wanted to see how his team could handle a road trip. Keller’s home stadium is located at the school and is shared by the other three Keller schools.

“We left our school a grand total of three times [last year],” Stralow said. “The furthest we went was 25 miles round trip travel.”

Top games

Thursday

Keller vs. Midland Lee at Grande Communications Stadium, Midland 4:30 p.m

Midland Lee’s high-octane offense averaged 38.6 points per game and lost to Carroll in the area round. Keller’s defense, anchored by defensive lineman and LSU commit Maea Teuhema, has high expectations.

Friday

Austin Westlake vs. Southlake Carroll at Dragon Stadium, Southlake 7:30 p.m.

Westlake comes off a 7-5 season and a playoff loss to A&M Consolidated. Carroll, ranked No. 6 in Class 6A, is stacked once again after averaging 523.4 yards per game in reaching the regional semifinals last season.

Aledo vs. Cedar Park at McLane Stadium, Waco, 7:30 p.m.

Cedar Park, No. 5 in Class 5A, is no doubt eager for this matchup against Class 5A No. 1 Aledo. The Timberwolves’ title hopes were dashed last season in a 28-27 loss to Port Lavaca Calhoun. Aledo makes its debut under defensive coordinator-turned-head coach Steve Wood.

DeSoto vs. Arlington Martin at Midlothian Multi-Purpose Stadium, Midlothian, 7:30 p.m.

This game features nine seniors already committed to FBS schools. DeSoto looks to reach the Class 6A state title game for the first time, while Martin wants to rebound from two losses to DeSoto last season, 56-34 in the third round of the playoffs and 46-7 in the season opener.

Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy (1-0) vs. Euless Trinity at Pennington Field, Bedford, 7:30 p.m.

Eastern Christian rolls in for the first of a three-game Texas swing after a 58-56 win over Spartanburg, S.C., in overtime last week. The Honey Badgers gave up 370 passing yards to Spartanburg, and Trinity will roll in with an offense that averaged 226 rushing yards per game last season. The Trojans are ranked No. 6 in Class 6A and lost in the regional final to DeSoto last season.

Ennis vs. Mansfield Timberview at Newsom Stadium, Mansfield, 7:30 p.m.

Timberview, ranked 10th in Class 5A, will know quickly how good it is. Ennis, ranked No. 2, reached the state semifinals last season. Timberview lost in the area round of the playoffs to Trinity.

Allen vs. Denton Guyer at Apogee Stadium, Denton, 7:30 p.m.

The two-time defending Class 5A Division I champ Allen Eagles take on the two-time Class 4A Division I champs in the Tom Landry Classic. Guyer’s quarterback situation has finally played itself out after the UIL ruled California transfer Kevin Dillman ineligible this season. The job falls to another transfer in sophomore Shawn Robinson, from Saginaw Chisholm Trail.

Anchorage South vs. Stephenville at Memorial Stadium, Stephenville, 7:30 p.m.

Anchorage was 6-4 last season with a loss to Moorepark, Calif., and a loss in the first round of the Alaska High School Football State Championships. Stephenville is the top-ranked team in Texas Class 4A and lost to Kilgore in the 3A Division I state semifinals last season.

Saturday

Fort Worth Wyatt vs. Austin LBJ at Mustang Stadium, Manor, 4 p.m.

Wyatt, 3-7 in 2013, faces an LBJ team that lost to Leander Rouse in the bi-district round of the playoffs. Wyatt averaged 315.5 total yards last season.

Arlington Sam Houston vs. Manor at Mustang Stadium, Manor, 8 p.m.

Sam Houston looks to take the next step after a surprising run to fifth place in District 3-5A last season. Manor went 9-2 last season, losing to Magnolia West in bi-district.

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