Sports

Dragons clinch playoff berth on strong running effort

Qualifying for the playoffs is a minimum requirement for the Carroll football program. Still, it’s not to be taken for granted, either. When the Dragons do clinch, it represents a moment of accomplishment.

This past Friday, Carroll wrapped up its eighth consecutive playoff berth under coach Hal Wasson (now in his eighth season) with its 42-23 victory over Colleyville Heritage at Mustang-Panther Stadium. Carroll rallied from an early 20-7 deficit and outscored the Panthers 35-3 the rest of the way.

“It never gets old,” Wasson said. “We’ve made great progress with what we were doing with a young wide receiver group, young offensive line and young defensive line. I’m really proud of the kids and the work they have put in to get there.”

Barring some unforeseen collapse by Coppell, Carroll will enter the Class 6A playoffs as a Division II seed. Everything points to the Dragons facing Mansfield (5-3, 2-2 in 8-6A) in the bi-district round.

But there is a scenario where Duncanville could earn that final playoff spot in the district over Mansfield. The Panthers (3-5, 1-3) defeated the Tigers, 20-17, in the district opener. They finish with Grand Prairie and DeSoto. Mansfield finishes with Cedar Hill and Midlothian.

Should the two teams finish with 3-3 or 2-4 records, Duncanville would earn the head-to-head tiebreaker.

If that happened, then Duncanville and South Grand Prairie would be Division I playoff teams, because those two have the highest enrollments of 8-6A. DeSoto, which is third in enrollment, would be bumped into Division II. Cedar Hill is already headed to Division II.

Special

When a coach has a talented running back in his program, he will do everything in his power to make sure that back is a focal point of the offense.

That’s what has happened with junior Lil’Jordan Humphrey. Following his 264-yard performance against Colleyville Heritage, Humphrey is up to 1,221 yards (7.1 yards per carry) and 20 TDs. That’s great production from someone who continues to grow into the position.

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“When you look at the really good running backs, and this goes from the NFL on down, the longer the game goes, the better they get and the stronger they get,” Wasson said. “He’s having a special season. He’s running with more confidence and his vision is better. He runs hungry.”

Perhaps the performance of the year was when Humphrey finished with one of his lower outputs. He finished with 103 yards but added the game-winning touchdown in the 10-6 victory over Euless Trinity on Oct. 17. In that deciding 14-play drive, Humphrey had seven attempts for 20 yards against a very physical Trinity defense.

A totally different approach

To this point, Carroll has run 530 offensive plays. The running game has accounted for 329 of those plays (62 percent). Humphrey has 183 touches (171 rushing, 12 receiving for 34.5 percent).

But Wasson’s approach is simple: take what the defense gives.

“When people are going to put five or six in the box, we’re going to run it,” Wasson said. “We’ll play to our strength.”

Next up

Carroll celebrates senior night at 7:30 p.m. Friday with its final regular-season game at Dragon Stadium against Haltom (0-8, 0-4). The game can be heard on KWRD (100.7 FM; pregame 6:30 p.m.) The Buffalos’ 22 points against Hurst L.D. Bell last week was a season high.

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