Look no further than the box score from Carroll’s Class 6A Division II Region I area playoff football game against Denton Guyer, and it’s pretty clear why the Dragons turned in their equipment this week.
The main concern about this team proved to be its undoing in the 48-35 loss to the Wildcats. Guyer ran all over the Dragons for 547 yards. It’s pretty similar to what Euless Trinity did on Oct. 16 when the Trojans rushed for 606.
Carroll finished the season at 9-3.
“We didn’t slow them down at all,” Carroll coach Hal Wasson said. “Their plan was to keep the clock moving and grinding it out. They didn’t do a good job; they did a great job. We couldn’t find a way to stop them.”
Guyer dual-threat quarterback Shawn Robinson turned into a one-dimensional signal caller because he didn’t have to be both. Robinson rushed for 269 yards. He only had six passing attempts. Running back Noah Cain was right behind Robinson with 197 yards.
“Shawn outran us, through us and around us,” Wasson said. “I’m disappointed, but the seniors battled hard. We knew the challenges that we were facing when we began the season. So I couldn’t be more proud.”
Conversely, Carroll’s offense never found the consistency it needed. While it found big plays in quarterback Mason Holmes finding Zach Farrar on a 50-yard touchdown toss along with a 39-yard TD pass to Kameron Duhon followed by Shemar Coleman’s 29-yard scoring run, the offense could not muster enough methodical possessions.
Farrar finished with a career-high 215 yards and two touchdowns. However, all-everything back Lil’Jordan Humphrey was pretty much not a factor. He rushed for only 53 yards and caught one underneath rout for three yards. Once he was taken away from Carroll’s offense, there really wasn’t a second option.
“They double-teamed Zach but he found a way to make some plays,” Wasson said. “We were able to score by going over the top. But I’ve been in this game long enough to know you can’t do that. If you’re going to win playoff games, you’re going to have to slug it out. It’s football.”
Maybe this team overachieved. Consider that this group was pretty close to going 7-5. It needed extraordinary efforts in the second half to pull out road wins at Tulsa (Okla.) Union and Coppell.
Carroll must use this offseason to find and develop playmakers with the losses of Humphrey, Farrar and Coleman. Humphrey finished his senior year with 1,280 rushing yards and 876 receiving yards. Farrar finished with 1,113 receiving yards. Carroll also has to replace most of its offensive line.
The good news is that Holmes returns along with most of the defensive line, most of the linebacker corps and most of the secondary. The Dragon Maker is scheduled to begin in February.
“It’s the same as it is every off season,” Wasson said. “We have a lot of work to do. We’re going to have to find a lot of pieces of the puzzle to see what we can do. We need to be bigger stronger, faster, and we’ve got be to be tougher. You have to love the grind.”
When Feb. 1 arrives and Carroll’s name comes up, the school could go anywhere for the UIL’s realignment. That could mean east with Trinity and Hurst L.D. Bell or west with the Keller schools. Wasson declined to give the names of non-district opponents where verbal agreements are in place. However, don’t be surprised if the schedule looks similar to 2014 and 2015 when Carroll didn’t play anyone close in its general area.
What will be interesting to watch is whether or not Carroll will play anyone outside of Texas.