Flower Mound quarterback Paul Millard and his Southlake Carroll counterpart Kenny Hill are at different points in their careers.
In his second season as a starter, Millard is threatening to break the state’s single-season passing record, and he’s taken an otherwise anonymous Flower Mound program (7-3) to heights thought impossible at the beginning of the year.
Expected to play junior varsity entering the season, Hill was thrust into what may be the highest profile high school football position in the nation after preseason turmoil and lineup shuffling put Carroll in the unfamiliar position of underdogs.
Both will be making their first playoff starts when the two meet in the Class 5A Division II bi-district round at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Justin Northwest.
"We're going to have to put points on the board," Southlake Carroll head coach Hal Wasson said. "Hopefully we can negate them by keeping their offense off the field as much as possible. It's going to be an interesting challenge."
Both quarterbacks have been instrumental in getting their teams to the playoffs. Millard is easily the area’s most prolific passer with 4,188 yards, 45 touchdowns and just six interceptions in 10 games.
His team was buried as a contender in the preseason playing in the ultra-competitive 8-5A. Not only did Flower Mound clinch a playoff berth, it could have won the district title with a win over Allen in the regular-season finale.
Allen may have discovered the blueprint for beating Flower Mound -- jumping out to an early lead. The Eagles ran out to a 28-0 lead en route to a 70-37 win.
For Carroll to pull the same trick, Hill will need to be at his best. He’s answered the call for Carroll since taking over as the starter. His talent is undeniable and looks to become a fixture at the position for the next two years.
While his stats are modest -- 1,074 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions -- Hill’s arm strength stretches the field for the Dragons, opening up the run game and making better use of receivers such as Peyton Williams.
Hill has been instrumental in stabilizing a turbulent season for the Dragons, but for all of their troubles, they still finished 7-3 with losses to Coppell, Copperas Cove and Denton Guyer -- all 5A contenders.
"It would be a very rewarding experience [to win a playoff game this year] because I'm very proud of this team for the things they've withstood and the character they've demonstrated throughout the year," Wasson said.