Southlake Carroll Knocks Out Defending State Champion DeSoto, Heads Back To Regionals

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Photo: EJ Holland/

FRISCO, Texas — Southlake Carroll tradition never dies.

One of the most successful programs in Texas high school football history, Southlake Carroll isn’t used to being the underdog.

But on Saturday night, the Dragons embraced it and came away with a 33-15 upset victory over defending state champion DeSoto.

“Everybody stepped up today,” said Southlake Carroll head coach Hal Wasson. “From the coaches to the players to the sidelines, it was a complete team win for us today.”

DeSoto looked like it made a statement on its opening drive as the Eagles marched right down the field and scored on a 17-yard run by Daryon Triche. From then on, however, the game belonged to the Southlake Carroll.

Photo: EJ Holland/TexasHSFootball

The Dragons made key stop after key stop, including on a pivotal fourth down at midfield near the end of the third quarter.

“We knew were going to have to weather the storm, and we prevailed,” Wasson said. “Our defense played great. They’re playing faster, and they are more focused.”

Southlake Carroll built momentum late in the first quarter when quarterback Will Bowers connected with TJ McDaniel for a 37-yard touchdown strike.

Following an interception by senior linebacker Matty Werner, the Dragons found pay dirt again. This time, Bowers used his legs as he scampered into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown.

The Dragons scored once more before the end of the half when Bowers hit star sophomore RJ Mickens, who starts at both cornerback and wide receiver, for a 34-yard touchdown.

Southlake Carroll DB/WR RJ Mickens (Photo: EJ Holland/TexasHSFootball)

“Coach asked me if I could go up and get it, and I said yeah,” Mickens said. “Bowers threw a great ball, and I went up and got it. We kind of knew we were going to win after that. But we also knew we had to keep our focus in the third quarter.”

After a missed field goal attempt, DeSoto appeared to turn a corner when Gemon Green intercepted a Bowers pass late in the third quarter and returned it for a touchdown. However, a holding penalty on the Eagles wiped that away.

McDaniel added the finishing touches for Southlake Carroll when he broke loose for a 28-yard touchdown run to give the Dragons a comfortable 26-7 lead with 6:53 to go in the game.

Southlake Carroll moves on to the 6A DII regional semifinals, where it will take on Arlington.

“We are going to enjoy this win for 24 hours,” Wasson said. “We have a great opponent coming up. But we just have to keep our focus on getting better

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