The Riley Dodge coaching era at Southlake Carroll got off to a shaky start with a scoreless halftime with South Grand Prairie in the season opener Thursday night at the Gopher-Warrior Bowl.
But the Dragons made the plays when it mattered most, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter as Dodge won his first game with his alma mater 25-8.
It was the first meeting between the schools in football.
With a 10-point lead and SGP still in striking distance, the Dragons iced the game on a 69-yard touchdown run by quarterback Will Bowers.
Following an SGP punt, it took just one play for Bowers to fake out the Warriors defense and keep it for his first touchdown of the season.
Bowers finished with a game-high 97 yards rushing. Three-star running back and SMU commit T.J. McDaniel added 89 on 24 carries and one touchdown.
Carroll broke an 8-8 tie on McDaniel’s 4-yard run with 9:36 left to play. It capped a 13-play drive that lasted over five minutes.
Joe McFadden then booted a 26-yard field goal three minutes later to give Carroll a two-possession lead.
The Dragons would record their third interception of the night when Brandon Howell made a one-handed grab and returned it 37 yards, which led to the field goal.
The second half was a complete 360 compared to the first half. Both teams could not muster up any offense and committed penalty after penalty, which normally comes with the first game of the season.
But the unsung hero was Carroll’s Alex Kingston.
SGP, which ran the shovel pass a few times Thursday, tried one again on a third-and-15, but Kingston read the play perfectly, grabbed the pass, and ran it in from 15 yards out just 73 seconds into the third quarter.
The Dragons took an 8-0 lead on Bowers’ 2-point run.
But the Warriors weren’t done. They answered on the ensuing drive, going 75 yards on 10 plays.
Keodrick Young found a gap in the middle of the line and dashed to a 25-yard touchdown run. Young ran the Wildcat and connected with quarterback Drake Logan for the 2-point attempt and 8-8 tie.
The Dragons gained 252 yards of total offense to SGP’s 241.
Javarius Crawford led the Warriors with 53 yards rushing. Logan threw for a game-high 125 yards.
Carroll’s top 2020 prospect R.J. Mickens, who holds 27 offers, recorded his first interception late in the second quarter. He made the catch after the ball bounced off an SGP receiver.
Both teams will play 7 p.m. on Sept. 7 in Week 2. Carroll hosts Colleyville Heritage. SGP travels to Northwest ISD Stadium against Eaton.