When you’re the Carroll football program, you expect to have double-digit wins every season and play into December.
So when the 2013 season ended Thanksgiving weekend with an 11-2 record and heartbreaking 42-38 loss to Euless Trinity, that might have caught some people by surprise. The reality is these things happen.
“Really, it’s simple. We lost to a great team,” Carroll coach Hal Wasson said. “But the kids had a great summer and have always worked exceptionally hard. They know the standards. They don’t need anyone to tell them that. We do have a long way to go. But I’m their biggest defender.”
Class 6A Region I is deep. And it’s going to be deeper in 2014 and 2015 now that two-time state champion Allen has returned and state semifinalist DeSoto and state champion Cedar Hill are also in it.
The Dragons enter the new realignment not only in the toughest region in all of Texas but one of the toughest districts. The new 7-6A features Carroll, Trinity, Coppell, Colleyville Heritage and Hurst L.D. Bell. All of those teams went to the 2013 playoffs. Somebody from that group is not going in 2014.
It’s not unusual for Carroll to have a small number of returning starters coming into a season. Carroll really only has two on the offensive side. However, a program constructed like Carroll has been designed to be great every year.
“We’re going into a really big and physical district,” Wasson said. “There are a lot of young guys who have the chance to be good. But it’s early.
“We have arguably the toughest schedule [in Texas]. We’re going to have to bring our A-game every night.”
Coach: Hal Wasson (8th season)
Returning starters: 2 offense, 4 defense
Key players: QB Ryan Agnew Sr.; WR Parker Fentriss, Sr.; RB Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Jr.; RB Grant McFarlin, Jr.; S Kevin Cramer, Sr.; DT King Newton, Sr.; DB Andy Chelf Sr.; DE Joey Paulson Sr.; DE Grady Sullivan, Sr.; OT Drew Jakala Sr.; S Obi Eboh, Jr.
Notable: Offensive line and wide receiver are the two positions lacking experience. But each unit has its share of talent…look for Tariq Gordon to probably play more wide receiver than defensive back this year. Gordon impressed the coaches throughout the offseason and the spring. Agnew needs a big-time playmaker.• Starting center Grant Stewart is probably going to miss the beginning of the season with a foot injury. There’s hope he could be ready for district play in mid-September … Humphrey (6-3, 197 and 4.6 40 speed) impresses with his size and McFarlin is durable.
• Newton is one of the top defensive line prospects in 7-6A. He’s very strong in his upper body … for now, the offensive line looks like Luke Tribble at left tackle, Ryan Miller at right guard, center is unknown because of the injury to Stewart, Kyle Reyes or Chase Sanford at right guard and Jakala at right tackle.
• Eboh spent a lot of time in the summer going through just about every college camp and picked up offers from Duke and Rice … Agnew’s consistency is his biggest asset. Wasson noted how much his leadership has grown in the offseason.
• Carroll’s non-district schedule is Austin Westlake, Tulsa (Okla.) Union at AT&T Stadium, Midland Lee and Abilene High.