The Carroll football team’s offense went scoreless in the second half of its playoff game against Cedar Hill.
The Dragons are still playing in the Class 6A Division II tournament.
That might be more shocking than Carroll pulling off the upset.
In game where it never trailed or was tied, the Dragons (9-2) exacted a measure of payback to the defending state champion Longhorns with a 37-33 victory in the Region I bi-district game at Dragon Stadium.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
But here is where the game within the game factors in. Twice inside the final two minutes of regulation and twice inside the red zone, Carroll coach Hal Wasson turned down a field goal and went for it.
He split the attempts and Carroll still scored. Facing a 4th-and-2 at the Cedar Hill 11, Lil’Jordan Humphrey gained three to the 8-yard line. Moments later, Wasson elected to go for it at the 4-yard line. Quarterback Mason Holmes threw an interception at the one. Cedar Hill committed a safety when the snap went through QB Avery Davis’ hands and out of the end zone.
Sometimes, it works out.
Carroll advances to the area round and plays Denton Guyer (8-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Allen (KWRD 100.7 FM). This is a rematch of the 2014 meeting that Carroll won, 58-42. The winner advances to the Region I semifinals and will meet the winner of San Angelo Central-El Paso Americas.
“I trust my instincts and trust my players,” Wasson said. “[Going for it on fourth down] gave us the best chance to win. If you watched the video, they do a great job of blocking kicks. They almost blocked two of our extra points.
“If we get up five, it’s not good because we have to kick their lightning bolts [kick returners]. I wasn’t counting on the interception. But the worst case, they have to go 98 yards for a TD or something a little less for a field goal with no timeouts. We were trying to stress them.”
Humphrey’s bi-district heroics
Big players make big plays. But in its last two bi-district playoff games against Mansfield and Cedar Hill, senior running back Humphrey made a play that saved the Dragons.
Against Mansfield in 2014, Humphrey caught a 76-yard touchdown pass on a broken play that tied the game, 31-31. The Dragons finished a 24-point quarter and won, 38-31.
With the ball at its 31-yard with about 4:45 to play against Cedar Hill, Humphrey broke off a 50-yard run to the Longhorn 19. The play converted a third-and-6.
“Jordan is a good football player,” Wasson said. “We rely on him a lot. As you can tell with any running back, he runs hungry. He just continues to make plays.”
Humphrey rushed for 164 yards and had 113 receiving yards. It’s the third game where Humphrey has had 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards. Humphrey is on the verge of a 1,000-1,000 season. He has 1,227 rushing yards and is at 873 receiving yards.
About Denton Guyer
The Wildcats moved past Lewisville Hebron, 41-26, in the bi-district round. This team is still explosive, but not as explosive as it was in 2014.
Junior quarterback Shawn Robinson has thrown for 1,270 yards with 11 touchdowns but seven interceptions. He rushed for 968 yards and 11 scores. But the running game has been divided between three other backs who have rushed for 500 or more yards.
Carroll’s key should be to make Guyer’s rushing attack do everything it can and not surrender big plays.
“Robinson is an outstanding player,” Wasson said. “He’s a prolific runner and big, strong and fast. When you have an all-around player like him, you always have to watch for everything.”