SMU's Ford Stadium will play host today to the top two offenses in Texas high school football, with no less than the Class 5A Region I championship on the line.
DeSoto (13-0) and defending state champ Southlake Carroll (12-1) are the only teams remaining in the Class 5A Division I playoffs who average more than 500 yards of offense. They also score a combined 99.4 points per game, despite playing in one of the toughest regions of the state at the highest level.
"If you look at our region and just the Metroplex area there are a lot of outstanding football teams," Carroll coach Hal Wasson said. "This is kind of a gauntlet right now. There's no secret that this time of year you have to be at your best."
Each offense is stacked with proven playmakers playing behind excellent offensive lines.
Dragons quarterback Kenny Hill won offensive MVP honors in the 2011 state title game and has been even better this season. The Texas A&M recruit has accounted for more than 4,300 yards of total offense and 55 TDs.
A three-year starter with a 12-1 postseason record, Hill has just about seen it all at this level.
"I think it just gives you more confidence going into the big games, it eases the nerves a little bit knowing you've been there," Hill said. "You always have butterflies and stuff, but I think it helps you stay calm and really teaches you that you have to prepare that much more to be ready for the game."
DeSoto will counter with Desmon White, whose 5-foot-9 stature doesn't hinder his ability to make every throw on the field. He's amassed more than 3,900 total yards, 37 touchdowns and is an elusive runner with good speed, capable of ripping off huge runs.
"I think Dez is the best quarterback in the area and one of the top quarterbacks in the country, and I really do believe that," DeSoto coach Claude Mathis said. "He brings a great leadership role to this ballclub and doesn't know how to lose. He studies film countless hours and knows where defenses are coming from."
DeSoto also trots out All-America running back Dontre Wilson, an Oregon recruit who has rushed for 1,782 yards and 35 touchdowns, caught 27 passes for 575 yards and seven touchdowns and has scored once each on punt and kick returns.
"We know they're a fast team, so we have to keep them bottled up at all times," Carroll safety Aaron Hoagland said. "If we give them the slightest sight of daylight, they are going to take it 80 yards. They're great athletes and we're looking forward to playing them this weekend."
It's not as if the defenses will be undermanned. Carroll and DeSoto have allowed roughly 12 points per game during the playoffs.
"We have to continue to play defense like we've been playing," Mathis said. "Carroll has a great offense that can beat us and scores a lot of points. Our defense has to continue to be disciplined, continue to recognize formations, make tackles in the open field, not have busted assignments and play the way the Eagles play and we'll have a great chance to win this ballgame."
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760