Photo: Lauren Landes/TexasHSFootball

FRISCO, Texas — The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco provided a spectacle as Southlake Carroll (10-3) and Arlington (10-3) slugged it out in a classic battle that came down to the final minutes. As it turned out, Southlake Carroll was able to make the extra play they needed to leave with a 28-24 victory over Arlington.

The dual-threat quarterback D’Montae Davis-led Arlington Colts, which responded time and time again to Southlake Carroll’s rallies, needed to respond one more time in order to finish them off once and for all.

Lauren Landes/TexasHSFootball

On 4th and five at the Southlake Carroll 45-yard line with 1:10 left, Davis looked to once more lead the offense downfield and leave Southlake Carroll empty-handed. His pass, however, sailed high and fell harmlessly to the ground. That play left Southlake Carroll with control of their own destiny and with a punched ticket to the Class 6A state quarterfinals.

“We invest a lot of time into the mindset and the mental part of the game, said Hal Wasson, Southlake Caroll’s head coach. “The game is always going to come down to six or seven plays. It’s always going to come down to that and you got to play so hard for so long cause you never know when those plays are going to happen.”

Another pivotal play came from wide receiver Carson White and fourth-down,  go-ahead touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. It gave Southlake Carroll a 28-24 edge with 9:57 left to play.

Video: Marcus Matthews-Marion/TexasHSFootball

From inside the 1-yard line, Wasson and Southlake Carroll decided to gamble on fourth down after being stopped on three consecutive plays by Arlington High. Dragon quarterback Will Bowers rolled right, saw White running across, and lofted a pass towards the far left side of the end zone. With two defenders hot on his trail, White separated from his defenders and came down with the reception as he rolled in the end zone.

Bowers finished 11-of-14 with 178 yards and one touchdown and also rushed for additional 94 yards. Despite playing only the first half because of a right arm injury, starting running back TJ McDaniel ran for 83 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.

Davis completed 12-of his 18 passes for Arlington High, throwing for 119 yards, His true effect, though, came as a part of the Colts’ running game, where he ran for two rushing touchdowns and 139 yards rushing — including a 59-yard scoring scamper with 2:26 left in the first half that tied the game at 14.

Senior running back Kenland McCray nearly cracked the 150-yard rushing barrier on Saturday in Frisco, adding a weaving, near-backbreaking first-quarter, 75-yard touchdown to his career resume. Lauren Landes/TexasHSFootball

Running back Kenland McCray was the Colts’ leading rusher, though, closing his senior season in Arlington with a 20-rush, 141-yard, and one-touchdown performance.

Despite Davis’ nearly flawless play during the final two quarters, the senior had a pair of fatal mistakes in the first half. One was an interception that stopped the Colts’ drive and stole away an opportunity to take a lead before halftime. The second was a costly 68-yard pick-6 to defensive back R.J. Mickens that gave the Dragons their second touchdown of the game.

“We had to work on containing him cause he’s a dual-threat quarterback,” Mickens said of Davis, “[He’s] a really good runner and can hurt you in the air as well and we were prepared to contain him. I had seen it all week and the quarterback threw the ball late. I read the route, just made a play on the ball, told myself not to get tackled and scored.”

Arlington entered the second half firing on all cylinders as Davis led a 12-play scoring drive that finished with a 1-yard score for the southpaw signal-caller to give the Colts their first lead of the game at 21-14.

Tavian Gould, a 5-foot-10 Southlake Carroll senior, scored a pivotal touchdown during the four-point victory against Arlington High on Saturday night at The Star. Lauren Landes/TexasHSFootball

Despite the loss of McDaniel earlier in the game, Tavion Gould handled the load without hesitation and scored a 10-yard dash to the end zone. He finished with seven carries, 20 yards, and the game-tying score.

“That was a bit of adversity [with] T.J.[McDaniel] going down,” Bowers said. “He’s a big part of our offense so we knew that as a receiving corps and in passing we just had to step it up in the second half and that’s what we did.”

Arlington responded to the score with a 37-yard field goal that gave Arlington the lead that would be followed by the 9-play scoring drive that put Carroll ahead at 28-24.

Both defenses stiffened down the stretch but Southlake Carroll was able to stop the Colts one more time, forcing Arlington to punt and securing the win and a place in the fourth round of the UIL 6A playoffs. Southlake Carroll is now scheduled to play Waco Midway High school at 6 p.m. in the 6A Division II state quarterfinals at 6 p.m. next Saturday at McLane Stadium in Waco.

*Statistical reporting provided by Marcus Matthews-Marion

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