Carroll Dragons football coach Hal Wasson has one word he’s building his coaching around in 2011. Good chance the Dragons hear this word wrapped around just about all of Wasson’s motivational and teaching messages.
Wasson (pictured right) and staff want consistency from the Dragons, which will fuel the team’s possibility for success this season. Of course, consistency in playing well on Fridays nights means everything. But consistency down to the core of the program is what Wasson is constructing with these Dragons.
Consistency in workouts, weight training, offensive tempo, preparation, intensity and focus. From these, wins on Friday night typically follow and playoff seasons develop.
“I think the key to the football team is going to be our consistency,” said Wasson, entering his fifth season as Carroll’s head coach. “I saw a lot of good things in the spring.We have to keep a level of intensity day in and day out.”
Carroll scrimmages against Duncanville at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19 at Dragon Stadium. The season opener is Friday, Aug. 26 vs. Copperas Cove at Dragon Stadium.
The Dragons return several key pieces this season after a Class 5A Division 2 Region I Final appearance last season. Carroll finished 10-4 overall with an impressive playoff run which included victories against Flower Mound, Colleyville Heritage and 5A defending state champion Abilene. Returnees include junior quarterback Kenny Hill, offensive lineman J.J. Prince, receivers Peyton Williams and Sabian Holmes, linebacker Will Davis, linebacker Dillon Rake and defensive back Tanner Jacobson.
Hill gained valuable experience as a sophomore starting four playoff games. As he earned more starts and built more confidence, he proved to be another dual-threat quarterback like so many Dragon signal-callers of the past. Last season Hill completed 73 percent of his passes and passed for more than 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns while rushing for 435 yards and seven TDs.
“We are excited about Kenny,” said Wasson of his quarterback, who became the full-time starter during district play last season. “He has a lot of great upside.”
Hill also has the luxury of working with some familiar targets when he scans the field. Joining Williams and Holmes (who also plays cornerback) are returnees Ben Sego and Corey Kemp. The Dragons’ aim for consistency early this season will include a schedule that has three of the first four games at Dragon Stadium. Carroll’s track history on its home turf is intimidating. The Dragons have lost just two games at Dragon Stadium since it opened in 2001 (48-2 overall).
Carroll opens the 2011 season with back-to-back home games against Copperas Cove and L.D. Bell before facing Richardson Berkner on the road in the final non-district game. Carroll also looks to protect home-field advantage against Fossil Ridge, Coppell and Saginaw in District 7-5A.
Consistency is in place when it comes to Wasson’s staff, which remains the same from a year ago. It will also be the second year at the helm for offensive coordinator Clayton George and defensive coordinator Tim Wasson (brother of Hal Wasson).
During the playoffs last season Tim Wasson’s 3-4 defense was a difference-maker. The Dragons’ unit stifled Flower Mound’s high-powered passing game and bottled Abilene’s dangerous running game. Tim Wasson’s anchors this season will be Davis, Holmes, Jacobson and Rake.
“I love our defense,” Hal Wasson said. “I’m really excited. They will be tough. The defense is fast, well-coached and will play hard.”
Carroll is among the playoff favorites again this season in District 7-5A and expects to battle Denton Guyer and Coppell for top billing by the end of the season.
“We have to keep a level of intensity day in and day out in practice and games to get where we want to get,” Wasson said.
What helps push the intensity and the consistency is position battles on the Dragon practice fields. Competition at each position helps create an edge for a team that transfers to Friday nights.
“To me the thing that always make Dragon football better is there is always somebody there to push you are your spot,” Wasson said.
Giving returnees a boost this season will be players moving up from the junior varsity teams which went a combined 19-2 last season. Watch for the exciting newcomers this season looking to make and impact and aid another playoff run. One player to keep an eye on comes from last year’s freshman team. In his first varsity live action, running back A.J. Ezzard popped 70-yard highlight run on the first play from scrimmage in the Spring Game provides another playmaker.
With exciting returning and new players this season the key remains in building a consistent edge each day for the Dragons. If consistency is built, winning will follow. The Dragons were consistent in last year’s playoff as they produced another great Dragon playoff run.
Now, a new group steps forward to make their mark in Dragon history.
“This football team will be good as they can be as long as they are consistent,” Wasson said.