EULESS -- The 2006 Euless Trinity-Southlake Carroll high school football mega matchup, which packed 46,339 rabid fans into Texas Stadium, has become a Woodstock-type legend in North Texas. Everybody says they were there.
As the heavyweights prepared for Round 2 at 6 tonight at Birdville FA/AC, current players recalled the atmosphere surrounding Carroll's 22-21 playoff victory over Trinity that day in Irving.
"All of these past games like Coppell versus us in 2010 and Plano versus us, I think the 2006 game was the most memorable for me," said Sam Tevi, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound Trinity defensive end and Utah recruit.
It will be hard to duplicate the fervor the '06 game created, which was the first meeting between the teams and pitted two reigning state champions against one another. Yet, it's not as if the two programs have fallen off.
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The Trinity Trojans (10-2) won state championships in 2007 and '09, and went to another title game in 2010. The Dragons (11-1) won a record-tying eighth state title last season.
"I think when you put it on the marquee that we're playing Trinity, boy, if you're a football fan and that doesn't grab you by the throat, then I don't know," Carroll coach Hal Wasson said. "I mean that's a pretty good matchup. To me if you just go back and look at the past decade, there's been a lot of success there, wow."
Tevi and his defensive line mates, Gaius Vaenuku, Cody Mayfield and Hafoka Olie, all say they attended the '06 game as youngsters and remember it like yesterday. Vaenuku, now a 6-5, 265-pound defensive end for a Trojans defense that allows just 14 points and 210 yards per game, said he was a late arrival that day and had to sit in an aisle.
Vaenuku and the defensive line will be front and center tonight, tasked with corralling Carroll quarterback Kenny Hill, the 2012 Gatorade Texas Player of the Year.
"We've all watched film and he's pretty good at scrambling, so we just have to keep the pocket contained and make sure he doesn't get outside," Vaenuku said. "If we all stick to our jobs we can get it done."
Hill, also in attendance in '06, said he remembers all the hype surrounding the game and the big crowd but especially how the Dragons won at the end on a last-minute score by quarterback Riley Dodge. Hill, a Texas A&M recruit, has a healthy respect for Trinity's defensive front but is confident in Carroll's abilities.
"They're great players. I mean, watching them on film they look outstanding," said Hill, who's thrown for 2,918 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushed for 1,192 yards and 28 scores this season. "We obviously have to be aware of that, but it's more about me putting trust in the O-line and that they're going to give us good protection and block for us, so that we can do what we do. I have faith in my O-line that they are going to get it done."
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760