December 16, 2011

Texas lore, area pride in play for Southlake Carroll, Aledo

The Dragons and Bearcats try to uphold DFW pride and their own winning traditions in state championship games Saturday at Cowboys Stadium.

Rich tradition vs. upstarts.

Dallas-Fort Worth vs. Houston.

Improbable come-from-behind victories, a relentless record-breaker and a fox that thrives on swag.

All are in play for Aledo and Southlake Carroll at Cowboys Stadium in the UIL state championships today.

The Class 4A Division II state title game at noon pits the Aledo Bearcats (13-2), going for their third consecutive state championship, against Manvel (15-0), which is in just its fourth varsity season. In the Class 5A Division I state final at 4 p.m., the Carroll Dragons (15-0), who had a last-minute miracle against Dallas Skyline a week ago, seek perfection and an eighth championship.

They face Fort Bend Hightower, which had early losses but then won 13 straight for its second title shot.


Kenny Hill, QB, Carroll: The junior brought his team back with two touchdown runs in the final 67 seconds last week. While he has likely sealed his standing alongside the renowned Carroll quarterbacks of the past -- Chase Wasson, Chase Daniel, Greg McElroy, Riley Dodge and Kyle Padron -- Hill may be more dangerous than any of them. He has a strong arm, he's precise, has touch and has accumulated 2,561 passing yards and 23 TDs through 15 games. It's his ability to run that sets him apart; Hill has 1,268 yards and 22 rushing TDs .

Bralon Addison, QB, FB Hightower: A member of the ESPNU 150 and Rivals 250, Addison is the best athlete on his team, and plays quarterback. The Texas A&M commitment, who projects as a receiver in college, ripped apart San Antonio Madison in the state semis by rushing for 229 yards on only 14 carries with five touchdowns. He's totaled 2,100 passing yards and 21 TDs this year and averages 8.5 yards per carry with 1,442 yards and 18 rushing TDs.

What to know

Since 2000, the Hurricanes have missed the playoffs only once and made it to the title game in 2008, falling 21-14 to Allen. Carroll's last trip to the state final was in 2006, when it defeated Austin Westlake 43-29.

A fox ran across the field at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas during Kenny Hill's game-winning 35-yard touchdown run against Skyline, forever etching itself into Carroll lore. The fox even has its own Twitter account, as @SilverfoxSWAG is "Shaking Haters Off 1 Win at a time."

During its playoff run, Carroll has faced some of the area's most prolific Class 5A offenses: Plano East, Cedar Hill, Arlington Martin, Arlington Bowie and Skyline. Those opponents have been limited to 15.5 points a game.

By the numbers

2Losses for Hightower to open the season. The Hurricanes fell to Aldine Eisenhower and state quarterfinalist The Woodlands.

163Tackles for Carroll linebacker Will Davis. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Kansas State commitment also has 15 tackles for loss and eight sacks.

3Interceptions of Hightower QB Bralon Addison on 229 passing attempts this season.


Sabian Holmes, Carroll --Part of Carroll's 4x400-meter state champion relay in May, Holmes has 14 touchdowns and 1,117 receiving yards this season. The 5-11 Baylor commitment will need to play a big part in the Dragons' offense as fellow wideout Peyton Williams, who posted 1,155 yards for the Dragons this season, is out with a leg injury he suffered last week.


Johnathan Gray, RB, Aledo: It's tough game-planning for a player who has averaged 10.6 yards per carry and has 17 rushing TDs through five playoff games. The Texas commitment has 17 touchdown runs of 50 yards or more this season and has a legitimate shot at breaking the national scoring record as well as the state single-season rushing and scoring records. He had eight touchdowns in the 2010 title game, and needs 585 yards to break Kenneth Hall's national career rushing record of 11,232 yards, which has stood since 1953.

Shane McCarley & Julian Walker, QBs, Manvel: The Mavericks run a dual-QB system in which McCarley has 21 passing TDs and Walker has 730 rushing yards. Each has 11 rushing TDs, and the duo have combined for 3,105 passing yards and just seven interceptions.

What to know

Aledo has manhandled the competition during its playoff run, averaging 52 points a game, while holding opponents to 15. The Bearcats dropped early games to Austin Lake Travis and rival Stephenville but pitched a 33-0 shutout against the Yellow Jackets in the state quarterfinals.

The Mavericks, a state quarterfinalist last year, won their last two playoff games by a combined six points, and Manvel kicker Josh Martinez hit a 25-yard field goal last week to beat Corpus Christi Calallen 31-28 on the last play of the game. Manvel has five Division I recruits, including DE Taiwan Johnson who has offers from Big 12, SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 schools.

Manvel was 19-14 in its first three varsity seasons and is 15-0 this year.

Manvel's motto is Hoka hey, a Lakota Sioux phrase taken to mean "It's a good day to die."

By the numbers

2Kickoff returns for touchdowns (91 and 100 yards) by Manvel running back Marcus Price last week.

69Total touchdowns for Johnathan Gray this season, compared to 84 touchdowns by the Manvel offense.

8Interceptions for Aledo's defense during the Bearcats' playoff run.

7Players with rushing touchdowns for Manvel during the playoffs


Matthew Bishop, Aledo: If Manvel loads up the line of scrimmage to stop the run, the Bearcats' quarterback has the ability to take over. Through five playoff games, Bishop has completed 65 percent of his passes and has 931 yards and 10 TDs through the air. He also has six rushing TDs.

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