SOUTHLAKE – In the eight touchdown drives forged by Southlake Carroll’s starting offensive unit Friday night, the Dragons faced a third down only twice.
“I wasn’t aware, but that’s a cool stat,’’ said head coach Riley Dodge after his team’s 68-7 thumping of Trophy Club Byron Nelson in a District 4-6A opener at Dragons Stadium.
Junior running back Owen Allen, who rushed for 146 yards and Carroll’s first four touchdowns, said staying on pace so that short yardage is needed on second down is a point of emphasis.
“We have 10 expert coaches working day and night to put our offense in the right position,’’ said Allen, who entered the night as the 6A area’s No. 3 rusher.
Carroll (5-0, 1-0 in District 4-6A), No. 1 in SportsDay’s Class 6A area ranking and No. 3 in The Associated Press’ state poll, improved its record in district games to a faultless 21-0 in four seasons under Dodge.
In the rare instances when junior quarterback Kaden Anderson faced a third down, he had an answer, a 51-yard completion to James Lehman on the game’s first possession and a 9-yard pass to South Carolina pledge Landon Samson on a third-and-7 setting up the second score. Anderson finished an efficient 13 of 17 for 244 yards and three touchdowns.
Byron Nelson (3-2, 0-1), which dropped out of the area top 20 last week, had only seven points to show for a 364-yard offensive output in part due to four interceptions.
Carroll had touchdown drives on five of six possessions in the first half to open a 34-7 intermission lead.
Nelson matched Carroll’s opening drive with a 75-yard, eight-play march of its own midway in the first quarter. Junior quarterback Jacob Wilson speared Gavin McCurley with a 25-yard slant for a brief 7-7 score. Wilson finished 23 of 41 for 245 yards before giving way to Sebastian Canales in the second half.
McCurley led Nelson with seven catches for 93 yards.
Interceptions by Carroll sophomore Zach Engelhardt and senior Avyonne Jones in the Carroll end zone blunted Nelson’s first half opportunities.
The third quarter began with a third Carroll interception by Logan Anderson near midfield. It took only two plays for Kaden Anderson to cash in completing a 38-yard post route to Samson to make it 41-7.
The longest drive of the game, 86 yards in seven plays, ended with the Carroll quarterback leading Samson (eight catches, 131 yards, three touchdowns) perfectly with a defender draped over him for a 20-yard score, increasing the lead to 48-7.
Logan Lewandowski came up with the second end-zone interception and Carroll’s fourth overall to halt a Nelson third-quarter threat that reached the Dragon 2. Lewandowski’s 53-yard return led to a 34-yard touchdown run by Lehman.
With Allen leading the way, Carroll rushed for 358 of its 602 yards of total offense.
“With the defensive alignment we faced, we needed to run the football,’’ Dodge said. “Last week we weren’t great on the early downs, so it was great to see the improvement.’’
Said Allen: “This is a statement game for the rest of the district.’’
On Twitter: @randyejennings