Some how, some way, the royal "we" found a way to get through this hectic, unprecedented season. There was always concern lurking in the background that the season would be further delayed or wouldn't even finish.
But here we are. The final week of a 21-week season with the final four games here.
Like the Wednesday's 5A DII preview and 5A DI preview, we're going to change up the preview style. Instead of previewing both teams, we'll take the local angle and dig deep into the DFW teams. In the season's final game, Austin Westlake and Southlake Carroll take center stage.
Are there any interesting storylines here? You would think teams with great individual history would have something worth mentioning, right?
::removes tongue from cheek::
What an incredible matchup on the field and on the sideline. It's the #DodgeBowl with father (Todd Dodge at Westlake) and son (Riley Dodge at Carroll) meeting in the first-ever coach-son matchup. It's also a rematch of the 2006 state champioship where Todd coached his son Riley to a title over Austin Westlake.
And then there's Westlake gunning for its second straight state title after winning the DII championship last season.
HOW CARROLL HILL GOT HERE
In one of the bigger upsets of the year, Southlake Carroll shut down the Duncanville offense in the second half and was actually able to run through that vaunted defense on the way to a 34-27 win. It was the Owen Allen show, who rushed for 195 yards and wore down Duncanville's front seven as the game wore on.
All of the attention was on Quinn Ewers in his third game back from injury, but the spotlight was on Allen and Carroll's defense, which dominated the second half to secure the big win.
HOW CARROLL WILL WIN
Last week, against one of the state's best defenses across all classes, Carroll proved to that it doesn't have rely on Ewers to do it all. Carroll will win if it can be balanced and dynamic at the same time against another tough defense. Allen accounted for more than 250 total yards and will be asked to have a big impact again.
Carroll's defense will have to show out again but this time against Cade Klubnik, who is another top quarterback talent in the state. Cinque Williams had a big game against Duncanville to lead the defensive unit, which will face a dynamic offense similar to its own.
HOW CARROLL LOSES
Not meeting Westlake's defensive presence.
Westlake won last year on defense - also thanks to Guyer having to be one-dimensional after Eli Stowers went down - and it won last week against two-time defending state champion North Shore. Carroll may not be able to put up the points it normally does, so it absolutely has to match what Westlake does on defense to keep things competitive.
Like last week, Westlake makes another good quarterback a bit ineffective and forces another low-scoring game. The 15-point spread seems a bit wide, but Westlake makes enough plays on both sides of the ball to hoist its second straight title.
Westlake wins 34-31
KICKOFF: 7 p.m. Saturday @ AT&T Stadium (Arlington)
LINE: Westlake favored by 15
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