Are you ready for this week's Friday Night Faceoff?
Each week, WFAA.com brings you live coverage of a top high school football matchup in the DFW area. Follow along with high schools contributor Reece Kelley Graham (@ReeceKelleyG) as he provides updates on the teams throughout the week, plus live coverage on social media and the postgame recap.
There's lots of games on Friday, but join us at @wfaasports on Twitter for updates on the biggest games throughout the Metroplex!
Week 6's matchup: Southlake Carroll at Euless Trinity
Who: Southlake Carroll Dragons (3-1, 1-0 District 5-6A) at Euless Trinity Trojans (2-2, 1-0 District 5-6A)
Where: Bedford's Pennington Field – 7:30 p.m.
Listen: KWRD-FM 100.7
It's interesting that two teams who have played off and on for only about the last 11 years could have a rivalry so... highly anticipated. But the football programs at Southlake Carroll and Euless Trinity have grown up together.
Some rivalries are born out of hatred. Some are born out of jealousy. Some are born out of class and lines on a map. This rivalry was born out of respect.
The Dragons and the Trojans, whose stadiums are separated by only a few miles of Texas 121, have made each other better. It all started back in 2006, when both teams met in the second round of the playoffs in front of what is believed to be one of the largest crowds for high school football in state history. Southlake Carroll won the game in the final seconds and would go on to win the state title. The Dragons would do so again in 2011. Heartbroken Trinity would capture the ultimate prize twice in that span, winning state in 2007 and 2009.
Since that game in 2006, both programs have won over 100 games. That game under the lights of Texas Stadium marked the beginning of a football renaissance for both schools.
They've met every year since 2012 in District 5-6A play. All but one of those games was decided by 10 points or more.
So, no. This game isn't just another red circle on the calendar. It's a romantic, nostalgic celebration of two teams, two programs, two schools who wouldn't be where they are today without each other. Carroll and Trinity are more than just a footnote in each other histories – they're more like co-authors.
During this week's Friday Night Faceoff, we get to watch them write another chapter.
Here's what you need to know about the Southlake Carroll Dragons
Southlake Carroll is one of the more aggravating programs in Dallas. Aggravating to opponents, that is.
Why? Because the Dragons have been able to compete for championships year after year, after year, after year. Carroll has a really solid program that keeps churning out talent. Even in a season like this one, where new talent is being asked to step up, the Dragons are playing like real contenders.
Southlake Carroll is like that kid nobody paid attention to in middle school who left for the summer and came back totally jacked and shredded, with a chiseled jawline and Herculean physique. Now he's the hunk of his high school and everyone's jealous. Moreover, nobody knows how it happened – and that's the aggravating part.
That must be what it feels like to play in Carroll's district. Every time the Dragons graduate a highly talented class, other schools must feel relieved.
"Man, I'm glad we don't have to deal with those guys again."
But that relief is short lived when another group of Abercrombie steps on the field.
I'll remind you, this is a metaphor. Attractiveness has nothing to do with football. Remember, nobody can truly make you feel inadequate but yourself.
But back to the point: Carroll returns only four starters on each side of the ball, yet the Dragons haven't lost a step.
Other than a loss to Arlington Martin, who's proven to be as good as its AP votes would suggest, the Dragons are undefeated, having toppled Broken Arrow (Okla.), Rockwall and Flower Mound.
What's even more impressive? The Dragons haven't been relying on star power to stay relevant. The talent is spread out, and again, that kind of plays into the whole "How did this happen?" idea. Carroll is solid just about everywhere.
In replacing Mason Holmes, quarterback Will Bowers has been more or less able to match last season's production through the air. Bowers has completed 72 percent of his passes for 883 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's also rushed for 291 yards on 33 carries, averaging close to nine yards per rush.
The receiving corps has also experienced turnover, but Carroll's passing attack is still quite lethal. Cade Bell and Wills Meyer lead the way in receiving yards and scores, but the group of Colton Phillips, Darryl Crockett, Tucker Slechta provide diversity and are a nice compliment.
In the backfield, junior T.J. McDaniel is making a name for himself. His older brother Cam played at Notre Dame and T.J. could very well receive some offers of that caliber. He's already rushed for 750 yards and nine TDs.
McDaniel's success starts with the offensive line. Anchored by Baylor commit Jackson Kimble, opponents' pass rush and interior run defense have difficulty gaining traction. Matt Leehan, Cameron Hathaway and Henry Mossberg provide more strength up front.
Carroll has a nice group of defensive backs as well. Linebackers Jacob Doddridge and Matt Werner combined for over 100 tackles last season. R.J. Mickens looks to wreak havoc in the secondary.
After going undefeated in district play last season, the Dragons are once again favored to win District 5-6A. No surprise.
In Texas, our expectations of football beauty might be a little unrealistic. But you can't fault Carroll for somehow finding a way to match them. The Dragons are a perennial power, and probably aren't going out of style anytime soon.
The next time you find yourself surprised by how good they are, don't be. Just don't stare too long.
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