The DCTF Regional Roundup looks at HS football across Texas.
Dodge returns to Southlake
It wasn’t the ideal return to Dragon Stadium for Todd Dodge.
Austin Westlake struggled to move the ball against Southlake Carroll, Dodge’s former team, as the Chaparrals fell in a close and surprising low-scoring contest, 17-14.
“Hats off to Carroll,” Dodge told The Dallas Morning News. “They did what they needed to do to win. A lot of people didn’t give us much of a chance at all as we came in here. We definitely played well enough to win, we just didn’t score enough points.”
The iconic coach led Southlake to five 5A state finals and four championships from 2002-2006. During that time, Dodge compiled an eye-popping 79-1 record, with his only loss coming in the state title game in 2003.
In 2006, Dodge left for North Texas. He returned to the high school scene as the head coach at Marble Falls in 2012 and landed with Central Texas powerhouse Austin Westlake this offseason.
“Early when we got here, I allowed myself to kind of reminisce a little bit,” Dodge said, “But then I got focused in. It’s obviously a special place for me. It’s special to come back here, just wish we could’ve come away with a win.”
Known as a Texas high school football offensive guru, Dodge has his work cut out for him as Westlake returns just one offensive starter from last year’s team — do-it-all athlete Sean Rollings. The defense, however, is stout with star linebacker Breckyn Hager and Hudson Hall leading the way.
- EJ Holland
Rio Grande Valley
Big red machine ready to roll
After going 10-2 overall last season and 8-0 in district play, head coach Manny Gomez will head into this season looking to help his team become even better heading into its September 5 season opener against San Antonio’s Reagan.
For Harlingen, it’s an opportunity to make a statement not just for its community but the entire Rio Grande Valley.
“We have to pick up where we left off,” Gomez said. “I know we left off losing a football game and I truly believe that you’re only as good as your last game, so we’ve got a little bit of, not necessarily redemption, but just going back, starting over and redeeming ourselves.”
Gomez is no stronger to success. In his seven seasons as the head coach at Harlingen, he has an overall record of 72-16. But knocking off a strong team from the Alamo City won’t be an easy task. There is a reason, San Antonio looks forward to “Valley Week” every year in the playoffs.
With that said, Harlingen has tradition, and the Cardinals are just a couple of years removed from reaching the state quarterfinals.
“Harlingen is known for having a tradition, and it’s just the work ethic that we repossess in the offseason,” Gomes said. “Especially among the coaching staff. But you know you’ve got kids who just live up to the hype and live up to those means, live up to those parameters that we set by the team before them.
“It’s similar to the Katy Tigers and Southlake Carroll Dragons and those guys, who go back in there recalibrate what they have, so that’s kind of where we stand.”
- Eric Siner
Jacksonville back on right track
As the saying goes, every storm will run out of rain, but for the Jacksonville Indians that storm lasted for almost two years. On Friday, Jacksonville had its first victory since November of 2012 when it topped Pine Tree 62-37.
According to the East Texas Sports Network, the Indians came out in this first game ready to play, scoring 49 points alone in the first half. Quarterback Carter McCown had two passing touchdowns that included a 75-yard bomb to Braylon Parrish.
Everything seemed to go right for the Indians, capitalizing on Pine Tree’s four first half turnovers, which resulted in 21 points, aiding in the 49-19 lead at the break. Jacksonville was also a perfect 6-for-6 scoring on all first half possessions.
Pine Tree never gave up as quarterback Mason Hays threw for five touchdowns, four to receiver Jonathan Giddings, for 209 total yards. But turning the ball over didn’t help the Pirates, who seemed to give away the first half to a team that was determined that this was the game that would snap the two-year long skid.
- Jordan Ottaway
Brennan keeps streak alive
Unlike Jacksonville that had nothing but woes, it’s been the opposite for the Brennan Bears, who earned their 24th straight regular season victory Friday night.
Senior quarterback Da’Shawn Key had 274 total yards in the Bears’ 30-7 win over Leander Rouse. And on the defensive side of the ball, Brennan was dominant, limiting Rouse to only 153 total yards, 47 of those being gained on the ground.
“It got me really hyped,” Key told the San Antonio Express-News. “Seeing them fly around and play for each other and make tackles and just play hard.”
But it wasn’t all green lights for the Bears that didn’t get its initial first down until 3:53 of the first quarter after having a 60-yard touchdown run brought back due to a holding penalty.
From then on, Brennan put its foot on the pedal and didn’t look back as Key passed for 138 yards, completing 7-of-12 passes for two touchdowns. He also showed off his running game with 136 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
“(Key) put on about 10-15 pounds, which he needed to do,” Brennan coach Steve Basore said. “He’s really a guy that’s been there and done that. As some of these guys come along. he’s a solid rock we can count on.”
- Jordan Ottaway
Highland Park flexes muscles
In last week’s roundup we looked at Highland Park who was about to begin its journey moving up a class to 6A and after the first week, it seems like it was just business as usual for the Scots with a 47-0 shutout win against Frisco Centennial.
Senior quarterback Brooks Burgin was on fire, completing 17-of-23 passes for an impressive 326 yards and six touchdowns before coming out of the game midway in the third quarter.
“I thought our offense played great,” Burgin told the Dallas Morning News. We had a bad series at the start and then we got it going.”
Highland Park’s veteran offensive line played a big part in protecting Burgin, giving him plenty of time in the pocket and in turn helping achieving the six total touchdowns. Senior Campell Brooks caught all three passing touchdowns and finished with seven catches for 155 yards.
“I’m so proud they get a shutout to validate the work they’ve been doing,” head coach Randy Allen said. “Centennial is a good team that won 11 games last year, but we had them pretty stymied.”
Not only were the Scots dominant on offense, but they were on defense as well. They limited Centennial to 31 total yards as compared to Highland Park’s 201.
Allen and his team look comfortable already with one shutout, so class 6A better watch out because the Scots are here to stay and plan to make a difference.
Breaking down Odessa Permian
Permian didn’t have its best season last year finishing just 4-6 and losing 35 letterman, most notable defensive tackle Derron Gatewood to UTEP and fullback Mikorban Fields to Wayland Baptist.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel for head coach Blake Feldt’s football team: 23 letterman are returning. And the experience helped them dominate McAllen in the season opener, 35-7.
Here is a quick break down of what Mojo Magic has coming back this season:
Four starters are returning on the offensive of the ball, starting with quarterback Heath Wood, who is entering his senior season after passing for 1,061 yards and 11 touchdowns during his junior campaign. Running back Brandon Bailey will replace Fields as the main man in the backfield after having a strong sophomore season, rushing for 743 yards and six touchdowns as a sophomore.
All-District wide receiver Taylor Thompson will line-up as one of Wood’s main weapons. He recorded 25 receptions for 379 yards with three touchdowns as a junior. The Panthers also bring back all-district offensive lineman Jack Feldt.
Eight starters are returning for the Panthers defense, led by senior Jax Welch after recording a team high 110 tackles as junior last season.
- Eric Siner
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