For five consecutive seasons, Southlake Carroll reached a Class 5A state championship game, winning a title four times.
That remarkable run came to an end in 2007 when the Abilene Eagles shocked the Dragons, 22-21, in a regional playoff at Texas Stadium.
Southlake Carroll hasn’t gotten past the third round since.
Abilene, on the other hand, is the defending Class 5A Division II state champion.
The two teams, each with a 9-3 record, will meet for the first time since that 2007 watershed moment at 4 p.m. Saturday in a Class 5A Division II regional playoff at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
The winner will advance to the Region I final to meet the Denton Guyer-Abilene Cooper winner.
Carroll fans will remember that in the 2007 loss to Abilene, Dragons quarterback Riley Dodge suffered a shoulder injury and missed the second half.
Abilene knows something about injuries to a star player. Running back Herschel Sims, orally committed to Oklahoma State, sat out last week’s 45-28 area playoff victory over El Paso Coronado with a nagging ankle problem. He has rushed for 749 yards and eight touchdowns on 110 carries, coming off a 2,352-yard, 33-touchdown season in ‘09.
Quarterback Ronnell Sims has picked up the slack with 1,740 passing yards and has out-rushed his illustrious cousin.
Sparking Carroll to convincing playoff wins over Flower Mound and Colleyville Heritage has been the play of sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill.
The son of former major league pitcher Ken Hill has completed 29-of-34 passes for 259 yards in the postseason, the perfect complement to the 324-yard rushing performance by running back Paul Stevenson in the two wins.