GAMES OF THE YEAR
Class 5A: Southlake Carroll vs. Dallas Skyline
No high school game this season was raised to the attention of the public like the 5A Division I state semifinal between Southlake Carroll and Dallas Skyline at SMU’s Ford Stadium.
Carroll trailed the arguably more talented Skyline squad the entire game but managed to work the deficit to three with just over a minute left on a 3-yard dive by quarterback Kenny Hill. The play was made possible by a pass interference call on Skyline that remains one of many points of contention to the Skyline faithful.
Ray Crockett then made the most controversial play of the game, recovering the onside kick in the air, directly over the 50-yard line which was the required 10 yards the kick had to travel.
Two plays later, Hill completed the comeback, running in a 35-yard rush for the game-winning touchdown, bringing the score to 28-24.
During the play, a fox ran through the heard of players storming down the field, toward the grass hill at Ford Stadium. It escaped the Carroll crowd up the hill and out the gate, but it didn’t escape the imaginations of the Dragons. Carroll fans showed up to the 5A Division I state final with stuffed foxes as a show of support and a cheerleader dressed as a fox appeared on the sideline as a sidekick to Carroll’s traditional dragon mascot.
The outcry of Skyline fans toward the officiating in the game was heard by the media, local and national, as soon as the game ended and the UIL’s voicemail boxes were filled to capacity over the weekend.
Even Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway issued a statement questioning the calls in the game.
Regardless of the debate, Carroll rode it’s “Sliver Fox Swag” to a 36-29 win over Fort Bend Hightower in the state finals to claim the school’s eighth football title.
Class 4A: Highland Park vs. Rockwall-Heath
Rockwall-Heath’s defense stood strong against three straight Highland Park runs up the middle from inside Rockwall-Heath five, but Highland Park running back Preston Miller would not be denied a fourth time, leading his team to a 31-30 overtime district win.
Rockwall-Heath had scored on the first possession of overtime on an 11-yard rush by Rico Henderson, but the point-after try wobbled low and left, hitting the upright and bouncing back onto the field.
Highland Park was able to work the ball down to the Rockwall-Heath 5, and until Miller’s fourth-down, second-effort push into the end zone, it appeared Heath’s defense would render the missed PAT useless.
But Miller did his job and burst into the end zone, putting the pressure on Highland Park kicker Nick Rose.
Rose overcame his nerves and split the uprights for the win, which would ultimately give Highland Park the District 10-4A title after handing Rockwall-Heath its only district loss of the season.