Southlake Carroll chases its eighth state title


4 p.m. Saturday, Cowboys Stadium

What: Class 5A Division I state championship game.

When we saw them last: Southlake Carroll pulled off a stunning comeback against Dallas Skyline, overcoming a 10-point deficit with just 2:26 left in the game to take a 28-24 win. After Carroll cut the deficit to three points, Ray Crockett recovered an onside kick and Kenny Hill scored on a 35-yard run four plays later to win the game. Fort Bend Hightower didn’t have as tough a time last week as it mauled San Antonio Madison, 54-35. Beginning in the second quarter, Hightower scored 27 unanswered points en route to the win.

Last state finals appearance: In 2006, Carroll defeated Austin Westlake 43-29 to cap one of the most dominant seasons in Texas high school football history and wrap up the school’s fourth state title in five years. In 2008 -- Hightower’s only state finals appearance -- the Hurricanes couldn’t stop Allen on fourth down late in the game and lost a nail-biter 21-14.

Key matchup: The Dragons face another strong running team in Hightower, and it will be up to Carroll’s much-improved defensive front to slow down quarterback Bralon Addison and running back Joshua Wilhite, both of whom have well over 1,000 yards rushing. It will be one last test for Carroll’s defensive front, which began the year getting diced by Copperas Cove but has finished the year shutting down stellar running teams in Arlington Martin, Cedar Hill and Skyline.

Players to watch: Carroll receiver Sabian Holmes may have to take on an increased role in the passing game with Peyton Williams out with a knee injury. Ben Sego and Tyler Barnes will also likely get their respective numbers called more. Addison has done it all for Hightower this year. The Texas A&M commit has been efficient in the passing game, throwing 21 touchdowns to just three interceptions, and he leads the team in rushing with more than 8 yards per carry.

Prediction: Southlake Carroll 28, Fort Bend Hightower 21.