Kenny Perry coached against Southlake Carroll in the 2002 playoffs and is about to be on the sideline opposite the Dragons again.
In each instance, Carroll has gone into the game with an undefeated record. Yet, the Dragons' style of play is much different today.
“This Carroll team is very physical,’’ the Arlington Bowie coach said. “You have to match their physical play to have a chance, and that’s not easy to do.’’
Bowie (9-3) and Carroll (12-0) will meet in a Class 5A Division I regional playoff at 5 p.m. Saturday at Bedford’s Pennington Field.
In 2002 when Perry was coach at Arlington Sam Houston, Carroll eliminated his team 19-16 in an area playoff on the way to a state title.
“In those years, Southlake Carroll was loaded with skill athletes,’’ Perry said. “They had receivers that could go and get open. They might beat you by 40 points, but it wouldn’t seem like you played that badly.
“This year, they could beat you by 14 and it would feel like 40.’’
Perry called this Carroll defense loaded with the best tacklers he’s seen.
“We pride ourselves on making yards after contact, but they make it very difficult based on what I’ve seen on film,’’ he said.
Perry has guided Bowie to the regional round for the fourth time in his six seasons at the school. The Vols are 2-1 in regional playoffs. Before he arrived in 2006, the school had never made it to postseason.
Bowie's losses this season have come to Dallas Skyline and Arlington Martin, both still alive in the playoffs, as well as Arlington Lamar. It has playoff wins over Odessa Permian (42-7) and El Paso Franklin (49-24).
In 2009, Bowie defeated Carroll in a Division II regional playoff 45-21 behind a 120-yard, three-touchdown performance by Russell Hansbrough, then a sophomore. Now a senior, Hansbrough has rushed for 1,172 yards and 17 touchdowns this season but is nursing a high ankle sprain.
“He’s going to give it a try,’’ Perry said. “Everyone has been stepping up since he got hurt and they may have to do it again.’’
Carroll’s physical style carries right through to its quarterback, junior Kenny Hill.
“When you play a team like this, you have to raise your level,’’ Perry said. “It is going to take a physical four quarters for us to have a chance.’’