UNIVERSITY PARK — Stunning. Amazing. Unbelievable. Unforgettable.
They all describe the jaw-dropping drama of Saturday night at SMU’s Ford Stadium.
Carroll Dragon football has a rich history of magical moments in the postseason, but arguably nothing can match the Dragons’ improbable comeback victory 28-24 against Dallas Skyline before 20,000 in a Class 5A Division I State Semifinal.
Add to the night of epic drama was an appearance by a fox racing across the field. A small fox came from the stands and raced across the field as quarterback Kenny Hill scored on a 35-yard game-winning touchdown with 46 seconds left. The fox had been spotted during pre-game in the stands and stadium officials were trying to keep fans alerted. But as the fox made a run for the field, Hill made a dash into Dragon lore.
The Dragons (15-0) were down 24-14 with 2:26 left in the game after a Skyline 34-yard field goal. The Dragons then produced a touchdown, onside kick and another touchdown in the span of 21 seconds. Hill scored the first TD on a three-yard run, then Ray Crockett recovered the onside kick at the 50. Three plays later, Hill busted loose around the right end for the game-winner as the stadium erupted.
Skyline was unable to move the ball and was out of timeouts when it took over possession at its own 20 with 46 seconds left. The Dragons advance to the Division I state championship and will face Fort Bend Hightower at 4 p.m. Saturday at Cowboys Stadium. The Dragons are seeking their eighth state championship as they return to the title game for the first time since winning in 2006.
Hill, now 8-1 as a playoff starter, finished with three rushing TDs and had 15 carries and 70 yards. Sophomore tailback AJ Ezzard added a 21-yard TD run in the third quarter and had a game-high 140 yards on 14 carries. The Dragons’ offense suffered a huge loss on the opening drive when leading receiver Peyton Williams suffered a knee injury and did not return.
The game was tied at 7-7 at the half and Skyline (14-1) took a 21-14 lead into the fourth quarter. The Dragons’ defense played a big role again producing two key turnovers deep in their own territory in the first half. Linebacker Jeremy McClellan had an interception and fellow linebacker Dillon Rake produced a fumble recovery.
Carroll celebrated one of its greatest victories as players were overcome with emotion knowing something magical happened Saturday night.