Southlake Carroll coach Hal Wasson knows full well his team’s playoff game Saturday night against Denton Guyer won’t start on time.
But Wasson won’t be worrying about his players having to wait a bit for their turn to take center stage at AT&T Stadium.
“That stadium is special. It’s electric,” he said. “If we’ve got to babysit you to get you ready, it’s probably not going to work out well.”
The Dragons (11-0) are scheduled to play Guyer (10-1) at 8 p.m. in the finale of Saturday’s four-game Class 6A area-round slate. Allen (11-0) and DeSoto (10-1) , two spread offense teams routinely scoring in the 50s, kick off the day’s action at 11 a.m.
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Cedar Hill (9-2) vs. McKinney Boyd (8-3) at 2 p.m., and Euless Trinity (10-1) vs. Plano West (9-2) at 5 p.m. are the other two games on Saturday’s Class 6A area-round schedule.
The three-hour window for each game, coupled with 45-minute pregame player warm-up sessions, practically guarantees a late start for Carroll versus Guyer.
The same situation happened last week.
DeSoto versus Coppell on Thursday and Euless Trinity versus South Grand Prairie on Saturday both ended past midnight.
Carroll’s 38-31 win over Mansfield on Friday ended past 11:30 p.m.
In spite of the tendency for games to run behind schedule, the choice to reserve the home of the Dallas Cowboys is an obvious one, according to Carroll athletic director Kevin Ozee.
“When you start getting into this time of year, you start looking at weather,” Ozee said. “That’s first and foremost, being able to play indoors. Then having the ability to have all your student groups in that environment, from the spirit squads to the band. We look at it as a holistic thing.”
District 5-6A, 6-6A, 7-6A and 8-6A locked down the 85,000-seat venue for the first two rounds months ago, after February’s UIL realignment was set.
Wasson said the plan for Carroll this week — as it was last Friday at AT&T Stadium — will be to arrive late in the first half of the 5 p.m. game, settle into the locker room, get taped up and then relax.
Carroll expected its 9 p.m. kickoff against Mansfield to run late. (More like 9:40 p.m.) But by the end of the night, after a rousing comeback win, any adjustments to the itinerary were an afterthought, he said.
“You have to be real flexible,” Wasson said. “I’m sure it’s a lot tougher on the coaches than the players. Us coaches get worked up.”
Securing a location in advance also relieved the headache of scrambling for a site that’s not only available and neutral, but also big enough.
“There’s always a concern, whenever you’re looking for a neutral site,” DeSoto athletic director Larry Davis said.
Last year, Allen beat DeSoto in the Class 5A Division I semifinal held at Mesquite’s Memorial Stadium. The venue was large enough, with a capacity of around 20,000, but the game was also played outdoors in mid-December.
Weather won’t be a concern this year for a game that Davis said is, unsurprisingly, generating “major buzz” in DeSoto.
Plus, Davis heard no complaints after DeSoto’s game against Coppell last week that went deep into the night.
“You’re playing at the Cowboys’ stadium,” Davis said. “It’s worth staying up a little late for.”
Trinity coach Steve Lineweaver pointed out another advantage of a late finish.
“You’re not going to make the deadline anyway, are you?” he joked to reporters after the Trojans 32-29 overtime win against South Grand Prairie early Sunday morning. “Well, then you got plenty of time to write a good one then.”