Sunday, March 3, 2024

Title Town: Dragons Back On Top As Class 5A Champions

ARLINGTON – The Carroll Dragons are back on top again in Class 5A.

With another dramatic second-half comeback, the Dragons upended Fort Bend Hightower 36-29 before 42,822 in the 5A Division I State Championship at Cowboys Stadium. It marked Carroll’s eighth championship, tying it with Celina for the most in state history. Carroll also finished 16-0 for the eighth time as a state champion.

Hightower (13-3) led 23-14 with 9:13 left in the third before the Dragons’ offense and Kenny Hill got rolling. Hill, named the game’s offensive most valuable player, charged the comeback with TD passes to Sabian Holmes (59 yards) and Corey Kemp (25 yards).
The Dragon regained the lead at 28-23 following Kemp’s scoring catch with 2:49 left in the third.

Hill’s unforgettable performance put his name along the great quarterbacks in Dragons’ history. Hill, now 9-1 as a playoff starter in two years, was 19-of-24 for 224 yards and did not have an interception. He added 116 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Hightower countered behind dynamic Texas A&M-bound quarterback Bralon Addison. His 80-yard TD run, followed by a failed two-point conversion, gave Hightower the lead back at 29-23 late in the third

During the playoffs, Carroll’s defense has risen to the occasion. The state championship was another moment of brilliance, especially in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Will Davis, who was named defensive player of the game, forced and recovered a fumble at the Hightower 29-yard line early in the fourth. It set up the eventual game-winning touchdown five plays later, as the Dragons scored on Hill’s 6-yard run and converted a key two-point conversion bouncing off a tackler to give Carroll a 36-29 lead with 9:18 left in the game. Carroll’s defense went to work from there getting the key stops to help secure the historic day.

Hightower was forced to punt with 3:18 left in the game and the Dragons’ offense was able to get enough first downs to run out the clock. Holmes finished with another game-breaking performance with 11 catches for 138 yards as the Dragons were without receiver Peyton Williams due to an injury in the state semifinal. Holmes also added a key pass break-up on a potential touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

The victory marked the first state championship as a head coach for Hal Wasson, who won one as assistant with Carroll in 2002. The Dragons earned their fifth 5A state title and first since 2006.

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