ARLINGTON — Time, the biggest enemy of a run-heavy, Wing-T offense, ran out for Kennedale High School.
Carthage’s speed — specifically from Keaontay Ingram — also helped end the Wildcats’ historic playoff run one victory short via a 49-21 finish Friday afternoon in front of 18,043 at AT&T Stadium.
“We knew we were going to have a lot of what we wanted passing wise and on the ground,” said Gunner Capps, Carthage’s junior quarterback and a 2017 State Championship Offensive MVP. “We just had to trust each other and our coaching staff and get it to the outsides to my boys who can make plays.”
Facing a defense that had stopped the high-powered offenses of Kaufman, Midlothian, Heritage, and Stephenville High Schools, Carthage struck first, early, and often.
The Bulldogs took a 14-0 lead after back-to-back scoring drives capped by a Gunner Capps’ 15-yard touchdown pass to Dewaylon Ingram and a 64-yard strike from Capps to Mekhi Colbert. Kennedale’s first score of the game — which was also Evan Jowers’ first completion — drew the Wildcats with a touchdown after David Roper hauled in a 37-yard reception.
It would also be one of only three for Kennedale in the game.
Keaontay Ingram scored consecutive touchdowns of 20 and 41 yards on Carthage’s next two drives widened the gap between his Bulldogs and the Wildcats to three scores. Until his first touchdown of the game, he’d been held to only two runs of positive yardage on his first five carries.
“We really didn’t change anything, we just kept the pressure on and worked within our offense,” he said of the change in offensive scheming midway through the second quarter. “Gunner’s arm had a lot to do with that. If they were going to give us the pass, we’d run and if they gave us the run, we passed.”
The 4-star University of Texas commit also threw the majority of the credit to his defense, though, flashing a toothy grin and tugging on the gold medallion hanging from his neck.
Despite his more than 177 yards rushing and three touchdowns as well as 365 yards and three touchdowns from Capps on 16 0f 21 passing.
Carthage’s defense held Kirven, who’d gained more than 400 yards last week and scored five touchdowns for the second time in three games, and Jaden Knowles who’d tacked on two scores against Stephenville in the state semifinal, to only 175 yards rushing and two combined touchdowns.
It had forced a methodical, mistake-free Wildcat offense into a crucial turnover after Mykel Gates’ fumble recovery and limited it to a meager 5.2 yards per carry.
“We knew how good they were. We had to stop the run and nothing less would do,” said Gates, the Bulldogs’ Defensive MVP about Carthage’s approach and mindset to stopping Kennedale’s green wave. “We knew we had to make more plays than they did and we did that.”
Gates was second in tackles to only teammate Ahmad Brown(9.5) after dragging ball carriers down for nine stops. The duo combined for two of Carthage’s four tackles for loss and Gates and Ware had both of its forced fumbles.
Kirven, Kennedale’s leading rusher, finished with 112 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries and Knowles added 59 and one on 15 carries. While the Wildcats closed their year as with the winningest season in their school’s history, Carthage marked its name in history books with different ink — and to a standing ovation.
“Each of the last five times I was too stupid to do something like that [recognizing the senior class during the title game] and I said if we ever win another one I would try to recognize these seniors right,” Bulldog Head Coach Scott Surratt said. “We did it for our defense, too. Last we gave [Waco] La Vega 21 points. [Kennedale] scored late but this week, our defense was pretty much where it needed to be. They needed the recognition and deserved it.”
With the win, the Surratt-led Bulldogs have more rings (6) than playoff losses (5). Carthage’s sideline general smiled, tugged at his ball cap and said that level of success is a direct result of dedication from many aspects, not just one.
“It’s our staff players and community. They can’t wait until the next Friday night,” continued Surratt, who claimed his second consecutive state title and the sixth for Carthage in the past decade. “It’s what they live for in Carthage. Fortunately, we gave them something to really live up for.
First Quarter CA KD
Dewaylon Ingram 15-yard pass from Gunner Capps 7 0
(Alberto Sigala kick) (6:34)
Mekhi Colbert 64-yard pass from Gunner Capps 14 0
(Alberto Sigala kick) (1:39)
Second Quarter CA KD
David Roper 37-yard pass from Evan Jowers 14 7
(Kevin Tiero kick) (9:50)
Keontay Ingram 20-yard run 21 7
(Alberto Sigala kick) (7:10)
Keontay Ingram 41-yard run 28 7
(Alberto Sigala kick) (:52)
Third Quarter CA KD
Dee Bowens 76-yard pass from Gunner Capps 35 7
(Alberto Sigala kick) (9:35)
Dee Bowens 39-yard pass from Gunner Capps 42 7
(Alberto Sigala kick) (5:08)
Fourth Quarter CA KD
DJ Kirven 28-yard run 42 14
(Kevin Tiero kick) (10:22)
Keaontay Ingram 65-yard run 49 14
(Alberto Sigala kick) (7:58)
Jaden Knowles 4-yard run 49 21
(Kevin Tiero kick) (:10)
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