The Carroll Dragons have burst onto the 5A scene with a 31-1 record since being promoted to the highest classification in 2002. The Dragons reeled off an unprecedented 31 straight wins before dropping a one-point decision to traditional power Katy in the state title game last December.
Carroll was able to win 15 games last season thanks in large part to having the most explosive offense in the state. The Dragon attack averaged 458 total yards and 41 points per game. The "bend, don't break" SLC defense allowed 19 points per game on average. Going into the 2003 season, not many were sure what to expect from Carroll after the previous team had gone 16-0 and graduated many key players. However, the Dragons rallied behind each other and the program motto "Protect the Tradition" to find their way back into the title game. The bad news for Texas in 2004 is that Carroll returns a great core of players from that very successful 15-1 team. Six offensive and five defensive starters return from the Dragons' state finalist team. Oh yeah, help is also on the way from 9-1 JV and 7-3 sophomore squads.
Leading the charge for Carroll in 2004 will be returning All-State quarterback Chase Daniel (6'1 200 4.48). Last fall, Daniel put up numbers that are tough to achieve on the X-Box...let alone real life. Daniel juked and swerved with his personal "x" and "b" buttons to approximately 5,300 total yards and 60 touchdowns in 2003. Those stats are all the more amazing considering Daniel was only in his first year as the operator of the high powered "Dodge Ball" offense. Many people around the state will be following Daniel and the Dragons this fall just to see what kind of encore performance he can possibly make to that kind of season. Re-joining Daniel in the backfield will be senior running back Aaron Luna (5'10 190 4.5). Luna gained right at 1,600 yards including the post-season. Five lettermen return on the offensive line for the Dragons, and that unit will be led by Mitch Enright. Enright has started since his sophomore season, and will be the leader this year. The second team All-State Enright has started in 42 consecutive games. When Carroll goes to the air, and that will be quite often, Daniel will have two of his best targets back from last season. Senior WR Kenton Gedwed (6'0 175) and junior WR McKay Jacobsen (5'11 175 4.4) both return. Through the regular season, Jacobsen netted 41 receptions for 631 yards and six scores. Gedwed added 24 catches for 584 yards and eight scores through the first ten games, so both players know exactly what to do when the football comes their way. A newcomer to look for in the offense is junior speedster Clint Refro. Refro and Jacobsen are the fastest players on the team, and can really stretch defenses.
One of the unknowns going into last season was the Dragon defense, and how well they would perform. If one thing could have kept Carroll from going to the title game in 2003, it would have been the defense considering how well the offense played. However, the Dragon defense played just as well as the needed to in order to win games to keep Carroll among the best in the state. Five returning starters on defense should help the Dragons get closer to the form they maintained in the undefeated 2002 season. Carroll's strongest position on defense this year will be the linebackers. Senior linebackers Pete Fleps (6'2 200 4.6) and Adam Hansen combined for well over 200 tackles last season, and will provide great experience. Juniors Patrick Benoist and Matt Moody should also contribute at the backer spot. Junior defensive tackle Adam Powers adds new talent up front. LB Ben Hixson and DE Todd Bondy are the Dragons' biggest losses on either side of the LOS, perhaps. The best returning player in the secondary is safety Beau Galbraith. Galbraith had 108 tackles in 2004 which is pretty remarkable for a defensive back. Cameron Parker, another returning starter, is also back to add big varsity game experience in the secondary.
With teams like Fossil Ridge and Denton Ryan in Carroll's new district having experienced players in the secondary is a luxury. In conclusion, the Southlake Carroll Dragons are 31-1 as a 5A school and return 11 starters overall to continue their winning ways in 2004. All-State quarterback Chase Daniel is back to lead the most high powered offensive attack in Texas. The Dragon's patented "pick your poison" approach on offense will be aided by the presence of Luna in backfield. Also, when Daniel goes to the air he'll have experienced hands ready to advance the ball. On defense, Carroll returns more experience than they did a year ago and should be stronger for it. Also, help is on the way from JV and sophomore teams that combined for a 16-4 record last fall.
In a year where there doesn't appear to be much of a difference in strength among the top teams in the state, the Southlake Carroll Dragons have what it takes to separate themselves from the pack this December.