SOUTHLAKE, Texas -- Southlake Carroll head coach Hal Wasson can empathize with his counterpart at Coppell, Joe McBride.
He knows what it's like to lose your quarterback during a season that began with high hopes.
Wasson and the Dragons were able to take advantage of a Coppell offense that didn't have much pop without starting quarterback Jake Larson, who's out for the year with a torn ACL.
Carroll bottled up Coppell's running game and controlled the clock on offense to register a 27-10 victory over the Cowboys on Friday at Dragon Stadium.
"They've had to go through some adversity with the quarterback," Wasson said. "We've experienced that same thing. We're a good football team. They're a good football team. We just came out on top today."
Without much of a passing game, Coppell (5-2, 2-2 in 7-5A) had one card to play -- running back Luke Jenner. He rushed for 157 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries, but it wasn't enough to make up for a passing game that tallied just 97 yards, much of which came on Coppell's final drive.
Meanwhile, Carroll (7-0, 4-0) executed a methodical offensive game plan featuring quick passes to the outside receivers that moved the chains and kept the clock moving.
Peyton Williams and Sabian Holmes were the primary benefactors of the strategy with the former catching 14 passes for 94 yards. Holmes added seven receptions for 69 yards.
"If they're going to give us five yards, we're going to take it," Holmes said of the quick passes.
Still, Coppell's defense is a formidable unit, and it kept the Cowboys in the game, as did Coppell's stellar play on third down, which prolonged a number seemingly doomed drives to keep the Cowboys alive.
The Cowboys stuck with junior Tyler Zabojnik at quarterback for all but a few plays. His numbers aren't pretty -- 10 for 18 for 97 yards -- but he didn't turn the ball over, and he converted three third downs with pass completions.
The game was a standoff until late in the second quarter when Carroll recovered a Coppell fumble late that quarterback Kenny Hill converted into a touchdown with a 1-yard run to put the Dragons up 13-3 at halftime.
Coppell held the ball for the majority of the third quarter but couldn't cash in despite breaching Dragon territory twice.
"I thought our defense did an outstanding job," Wasson said. "Coppell has a tremendous running game. I thought we improved with tackling. We played real hungry, passionate football."
Persistence with the running game finally paid off in the fourth quarter for Coppell when Jenner popped off a 49-yard run that set up a 5-yard touchdown run to cut Carroll's lead to 13-10.
But Carroll answered with its best drive of the night.
The Dragons went 80 yards on 11 plays, capped by a 27-yard touchdown run by Steven Bergmark The sophomore was met at the line by a number of Cowboys but bulled his way through for the score to seal the win.
"We controlled the clock," Holmes said. "We ran plays that would control the clock. Kenny did a great job spotting the ball."