High School: Keller Fossil Ridge

Rockwall-Heath duo on all-state baseball team

March, 5, 2012
Rockwall-Heath's catcher and ace pitcher are among the area players named to the ESPNHS preseason Texas all-state baseball team.

Jovan Hernandez, who tied the state record with 42-game hit streak last year, and Jake Thompson, who registered 131 strikeouts, represent Rockwall-Heath on the team.

Other Dallas-Fort Worth players named to the squad are Argyle shortstop Austin Aune, Rockwall shortstop/outfielder Spencer Edwards, Keller Fossil Ridge pitcher Sheldon Neuse and Fort Worth Southwest Christian pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz.

Click here to see the full team, including a list of other top players. Access the teams from all 50 states here.

Kel. Fossil Ridge DL Curry signs with Nebraska

February, 1, 2012
Keller Central defensive tackle Aaron Curry, one of the area's top uncommitted recruits heading into national signing day, is going to Nebraska.

Curry, who also had offers from Arizona, Boston College, Boise State, Indiana, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Mississippi, was All-District 7-5A as a senior.

Here's some of the scouting report on Curry from ESPN Recruiting:
He is not the biggest or most dominating D-Tackle, but this three-technique is an active and productive player. He possesses solid size, but will need to work to try and add more good mass. He has a solid get-off. He does a good job of coming out of his stance and bringing his hands protecting himself and being able to keep defenders of his chest and legs. Displays the ability to fire out of his stance low and play with good pad level and take on blocks and hold his ground well. He moves well laterally and is active along the line of scrimmage. He displays adequate range and ability to close on the ball, but he does hustle around and looks to keep after the play. He needs to keep developing as a pass rusher and learn to be more active with his weapons, but again he stays active and with some further polishing of technique could be a productive interior pass rusher.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Flower Mound Marcus turned its matchup against Keller Timberview into a game of keep-away.

Marcus’ rushing attack kept Fossil Ridge’s possessions to a minimum, leading to a the 34-0 victory in the 5A Division II bi-district opener at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.

[+] EnlargeTBD
Travis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comFlower Mound Marcus running back Harvey Giddens ran for 132 yards and a touchdown.
Marcus’ one-two punch of Harvey Giddens and Jeff Smiley III combined for 257 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 43 carries.

Giddens, the much bigger of the backs, delivered the contact and powered his way through the defensive line to pick up yardage. That set up Smiley, the speedier, finesse back, to take it around the end for the home-run play.

“They’re unbelievable,” Marcus coach Bryan Erwin said. “What a one-two punch. We’ve got a fastball with Harvey and a curveball with Jeff. Harvey is so physical in his running style down behind his pads, and Jeff is so elusive.”

Giddens, who tallied 132 yards rushing, blasted his way into the end zone from 2 yards out in the third quarter. Marcus came out in an offset-I formation with Giddens checking in at fullback, which allows Smiley to remain on the field at halfback to force the defense to split attention between the two playmakers.

Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

Smiley started the Marcus scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

“Jeff has a lot of speed, more speed than I’ve ever seen," Giddens said. "My mentality is, I’m just going to hit somebody -- bring the hit and not get hit. It’s a great two-back tandem.”

Marcus’ defense held Fossil Ridge to just 98 yards of total offense and kept pressure on quarterback Sheldon Neuse to take away Fossil Ridge’s deep passing attack.

“They had a tremendous offense,” Erwin said. “The points they’ve put up this year were amazing. We were really concerned going into the game. My hats off to our defensive coaches and players. What a great job.”

Marcus' defense passed its first challenge by keeping Neuse at bay. But just minutes after Marcus' victory, Erwin was already looking ahead to an even stiffer test against quarterback Chuck Taylor and Mansfield Timberview, who they will see in the area round.

“They’re really talented," Erwin said. "They’re fast and athletic and their defense just flies around, and they’ve got a great dual-threat quarterback.”

Marcus will make the return trip to Arlington next Saturday for the area-round match to face Timberview at Cowboys Stadium at 5 p.m.

“It feels amazing," Giddens said. "Last year we lost in the first round, but this year we’re coming into it with our heads up, expecting to take state.”

5A-II preview: Region 1 notable for balance

November, 7, 2011

Overview: Of the four regions in the two 5A brackets that include Dallas-Fort Worth area teams, Division II Region I is the only one without a state-ranked team. But what the region may lack in top-end talent, it makes up for with depth. Because of that, there should be very few blowouts, even in the early rounds.

Bi-district »   Area round »
Region semis »   Region finals »
State semis »   Finals »   Totals »

Class 5A: Div. I | Div. II
Class 4A: Div. I | Div. II

5A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
5A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division I: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2
4A Division II: Reg. 1 | Reg. 2

The top half of the bracket features an Abilene team that always seems primed for a run at a state title, but the winner between Denton Guyer and Hebron in the first round might be headed for the region finals instead. Arlington and Mansfield also have the potential to make noise. The bottom half of the bracket seems to come down to two teams – Flower Mound Marcus and Colleyville Heritage, which might be the two best teams in the area not ranked in state. Mansfield Timberview and Abilene Cooper could be factors as well.

Favorite: Flower Mound Marcus. With most of the heavy hitters in Region I going in to the Division I bracket, the Marauders (9-1) have the potential to make a serious run at a state title. Their running game – led by bruiser Harvey Giddens and speedster Jeff Smiley – is as good as it’s ever been. Marcus hasn’t relied on its passing game much this year but it has the potential to blossom in the playoffs behind sophomore quarterback Cole Erwin.

Watch out for: Arlington. In a bracket full of dark horses, the Colts (6-4) might be the most dangerous if they can get by Abilene in the first round. The area round would pit Arlington against a west Texas team before facing a comparable team from the Metroplex (Denton Guyer, Hebron, Mansfield). Running back Tavarreon Dickerson has rushed for 1,686 yards and 22 touchdowns in averaging about 10 yards per carry.

Can’t wait to see: Hebron-Denton Guyer (2 p.m. Saturday, Cowboys Stadium). Colleyville Heritage vs. Mansfield Timberview might be just as good, but we’ll let the venue break the tie. If the young Wildcats (7-3) can come of age quickly, they have the raw talent to make another run through the 5A Division II bracket. Hebron (6-4) is back in the playoffs after missing out last year, and its defense and experience in close games could have the Hawks playing after Thanksgiving if it can pass this tough opening test.

We hope to see: Flower Mound Marcus-Colleyville Heritage. The region may be won in the area round with this presumed matchup. Both teams have forgivable blemishes on their records in the form of close losses to Allen and Euless Trinity, respectively. And the matchup would pit one of the area’s best running games (Marcus) against one of the area’s best passing games (Heritage).

Talent pool (FBS recruits): El Paso Americas: RB Jack Fields (Boise State). Arlington: RB Tavarreon Dickerson (uncommitted). Mansfield: DE Hassan Ridgeway (Texas). Denton Guyer: DL Dominic Ramacher (Oklahoma State); WR Conner Crane (Stanford); DT Cody Henessee (Rice); OL John Ferguson (uncommitted); DT Daniel Kottman (San Diego State). Hebron: WR/DB Kiante’ Griffin (Baylor); DE Deatrich Wise (Arkansas). Abilene Cooper: QB Clayton Nicholas (Texas Tech). Colleyville Heritage: DE Rex Montes (uncommitted).

All of Keller Fossil Ridge’s success this season has come with a caveat.

Its nondistrict wins were against weak competition. Its near upset of Southlake Carroll was because the Dragons fell asleep after halftime. The Panthers pushed Coppell only because the Cowboys didn’t have their quarterback.

But critics may have to put the caution signs away after Fossil Ridge’s win over previously unbeaten Keller Central last week. The Panthers scored 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to take a 24-16 win that puts them in the hunt for a playoff spot in District 7-5A.

“We felt like we wouldn’t really define ourselves as a team until we beat somebody we weren’t suppose to beat,” said Fossil Ridge head coach Tony Baccarini. “We got close with Southlake and Coppell and had our chances at the end of those games.”

A closer look at the Panthers (4-3, 2-2 in 7-5A) shows that there are more than a few reasons to think they can make the postseason.

Quarterback Sheldon Neuse has proved to be one of the better junior signal-callers in the area. He’s thrown for 1,414 yards with 12 touchdowns to just four interceptions.

He’s a legitimate dual threat as well, tallying 421 yards on the ground.

“He’s a great competitor and leader,” Baccarini said of Neuse. “You have to account for him for run and pass, which puts a lot more pressure on defensive coordinators. He makes good decisions and stays within the offense. We don’t’ take a lot of chances as far as turnovers go.”

Fossil Ridge hasn’t had a lot of success in recent years. One reason is the program's numbers dropped after the opening of Keller Timber Creek, leaving the team with fewer bodies to fill holes.

“We’re barely in 5A and have been for the last four years,” Baccarini said. “Numbers always help. When you get people injured, there’s more depth when you have bigger numbers.”

With the effect of that fading away, Fossil Ridge’s numbers are stabilizing, making it a young team that has a chance to compete not only this year, but next year as well.

Neuse is a junior, leading rusher Chaylon Bowman (461 yards, seven touchdowns) is a sophomore and the team starts nine sophomores and a freshman.

“We have some great young kids,” Baccarini said. “They need to continue to work to get better.”

Fossil Ridge currently sits fifth in 7-5A, but with the toughest part of its schedule behind them, it’s conceivable that the Panthers can make up ground and get into the postseason.

And other teams fighting for playoff spots appear vulnerable. Coppell (5-2, 2-2), which owns the tiebreaker over Fossil Ridge, lost its quarterback for the year. Denton Guyer (5-2, 3-1) lost to a Central team that Fossil Ridge beat, and Central (6-1, 3-1) still has games against Carroll (7-0, 4-0) and Coppell.

Coppell evaluating new quarterbacks after win

October, 10, 2011
Coppell’s win over Keller Fossil Ridge on Friday was more impressive than the 22-19 score indicates.

The Cowboys had to rally from a 19-5 deficit to pull off the win, which came against an underrated Fossil Ridge team that pushed Southlake Carroll to the brink of defeat.

And they did it despite the ugly aftermath of their loss to Denton Guyer two weeks ago. Quarterback Jake Larson tore the ACL in his right knee against Guyer and is out for the year. Offensive coordinator Mike Dormady was fired after the game and replaced by assistant head coach Jay Jones.

Had Coppell (5-1, 2-1 in District 7-5A) fallen to Fossil Ridge, it could have turned what was a state-ranked team into one in danger of missing the playoffs in just two weeks.

“That’s a good win just to get some confidence under those backup quarterbacks’ belts,” said Coppell head coach Joe McBride. “When you got a starter that’s really hurt and changes have to be made, it’s just a deal where everybody around has to raise their play.”

The Cowboys certainly looked different against Fossil Ridge. They threw the ball just six times in the win and rotated former junior varsity quarterback Tyler Zabojnik and converted receiver Connor Wilson under center.

Wilson threw just one pass, which was incomplete, while Zabojnik went 2-for-5 for 20 yards.

“We got to spoon feed them a little bit,” McBride said. “You got to eat this pig one bite at a time to make it easy for them. It’ll get more balanced [in the future].”

McBride said his team will continue to rotate players at quarterback and may add Matt Gillen to the rotation if he’s ready. Gillen is also a converted receiver.

“We’re trying to build on their strengths,” McBride said of his three quarterbacks. “We’re going to see who’s cream is going to rise to the top.”

The sooner the cream rises the better. Coppell plays at archrival Southlake Carroll (6-0, 3-0) on Friday.

2nd-half swoons a trend for Southlake Carroll

October, 3, 2011
Play in the second half has been an issue lately for Southlake Carroll.

The Dragons (5-0, 2-0 in District 7-5A) have been outscored 27-3 after the break in their last three games, including two games where they nearly coughed up huge halftime leads.

Against Keller Fossil Ridge two weeks ago, Carroll led 28-13 going into the third quarter but escaped with the win only by virtue of a failed two-point conversion attempt by the Panthers late in the fourth quarter. Carroll won, 28-26.

It happened again last week against Keller. The Dragons held a 26-7 halftime lead but let the Indians back in the game before surviving with a 26-21 win.

Even with the eye-raising almost-collapses, Carroll is in good position to challenge for the 7-5A title. The Dragons are tied for first place with Denton Guyer and Keller Central and control their own destiny with games against their co-leaders and Coppell ahead of them.

But Guyer may have assumed front-runner status with its 31-7 mauling of Coppell last week, a brutal game for the Cowboys that left starting quarterback Jake Larson on crutches. Carroll closes the regular season at Guyer.

The Dragons play at Justin Northwest on Friday.

District 7-5A football season preview

August, 18, 2011
  • Coppell (13-1, 7-0), lost in DI regional finals. Coach: Joe McBride.
  • Denton Guyer (13-3, 6-1), lost in 5A DII state title game. Coach: John Walsh.
  • Justin Northwest (4-7, 3-4), lost in DI bi-district. Coach: Bill Patterson.
  • Keller (3-7, 2-5). Coach: Kevin Atkinson.
  • Keller Central (5-5, 3-4). Coach: Bart Helsley.
  • Keller Fossil Ridge (2-8, 2-5). Coach: Tony Baccarini.
  • Saginaw (0-10, 0-7). Coach: Mike Peters.
  • Southlake Carroll (10-4, 5-2) lost in DII regional finals. Coach: Hal Wasson.
THE BIG QUESTION: Can Denton Guyer reload after graduating so many leaders?

Denton Guyer won one game in its first two years of varsity play. That was before the class of 2011 made its impact.

Led by QB J.W. Walsh, the outgoing seniors had Guyer competing for a state title on both the 4A and 5A levels for three years. Now that they're gone, observers are justifiably skeptical of Guyer's ability to reload.

But the notoriously confident Wildcats have no doubts. Coach John Walsh has built a program that he believes will contend for years to come, with a little help from a talent pool in the city of Denton that has produced an annual title contender in Denton Ryan.

The 2011 season will go a long way toward projecting Guyer's long-term outlook. With just seven starters returning from a team that came a scoring drive short of winning the 5A Division II title, the Wildcats need their next group of leaders to emerge.

Sophomore Jerrod Heard takes over for J.W. Walsh under center. While he certainly won't have the symbiotic relationship with Guyer's offense that the head coach's son had, Heard may be an even better athlete.

And plenty of Division I talent returns to help him. WR Conner Crane, a Stanford commit, gives Heard a top-flight target. Sebastian Williams leads a deep group of RBs. And Guyer's defensive front should be as nasty as ever with DE Dan Kottman, LB Dominic Ramacher and DT Cody Hennessee returning.


QB Jake Larson, RB Gavin McDaniel, DB David Busby, Coppell; WR Allen Young, QB Draze Lawliss, DL Dominic Stewart, Justin Northwest; LB Chandler Watkins, QB Davis Webb, WR Cameron Martin, Keller; OL Simon Goines, DB Zach Sanchez, QB Tanner Tausch, Keller Central; DT Aaron Curry, QB Sheldon Nuese, WR Adonis Ramos, Keller Fossil Ridge; QB Kyle Webb, WR Eddie Nuno, OL Peter Lopez, Saginaw; QB Kenny Hill, LB Will Davis, WR Peyton Williams, Southlake Carroll.


Head coach Bill Patterson guided Northwest to the playoffs just one year after the team went winless. ... Saginaw didn't fare as well as Guyer did in its first year in 5A. The Roughriders didn't win a game in 2010. ... Guyer wasn't the only Denton team to lose in a state title game. Denton Ryan fell to Austin Lake Travis in 4A DI.

  1. Southlake Carroll
  2. Coppell
  3. Denton Guyer
  4. Justin Northwest

Playoffs spots up for grabs in 3 area districts

February, 16, 2011
Although district play wrapped up Tuesday for boys basketball, three playoff spots remain unsettled.

In District 7-5A, Justin Northwest and Keller Fossil Ridge finished in a tie for fourth place after splitting their regular-season series. The two teams will play a play-in game at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Keller Central.

Fossil Ridge forced a play-in game by beating Northwest, 66-58, in the regular-season finale on Tuesday.

The Panthers won their last three games to get into playoff positioning, including a 52-50 upset of Southlake Carroll to get the run started.

In District 9-5A, Richardson and Lake Highlands finished in a tie for fourth after Richardson beat Lake Highlands, 59-53, on Tuesday.

Richardson won three of its last four to force the play-in game. Conversely, Lake Highlands has lost four straight games. The two will play at 7 p.m. on Friday at Richardson Berkner.

Whichever teams win these two games won’t have much time to celebrate.

The winner between Northwest and Fossil Ridge will play Flower Mound Marcus, No. 1 in the ESPNDallas.com Class 5A area rankings.

The winner between Richardson and Lake Highlands will open the playoffs against No. 2 Garland Lakeview Centennial.

In District 9-4A, Carrollton Creekview failed to clinch the last playoff spot by losing to Frisco Centennial, 48-45, on Tuesday. Frisco Liberty won three of its last four to pull even with Creekview in fourth place.

The Creekview-Liberty play-in game will be 7 p.m. Friday at Frisco Lone Star.

Brown's buzzer-beater lifts Southlake Carroll

January, 18, 2011
SOUTHLAKE, Texas -- William Brown didn't panic when Southlake Carroll blew a huge lead in the final minutes against Keller Fossil Ridge on Tuesday.

He did what the veteran leader of a team is counted on to do -- he won the game.

Brown hit 3-pointer at the final buzzer to help Carroll escape with a 60-57 win over Fossil Ridge and avoid what would have been an ugly collapse for a team looking to make its first playoff appearance since 2007.

Carroll (15-8, 5-1) stays in first place of District 7-5A with the win while the loss drops Fossil Ridge (13-8, 3-3) to fifth.

"I knew the ball needed to be in my hands," Brown said. "I was going to take the last shot. Things weren't falling earlier but the last one was a big shot."

Fossil Ridge never had a lead and trailed most of the game by double digits, but after falling behind 57-44, the Panthers went on an improbable 13-0 run to tie the game.

Steven Cooks, who led Fossil Ridge with 17 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to get things started, and Nate Jackson sank a pair of free throws to tie it at 57 with under a minute remaining.

"We were being pretty sloppy with the ball there," Brown said of the final minutes. "We were turning it over and not taking good shots. We knew we had them beat the whole game but they started climbing back and things started going their way."

But Brown showed the veteran poise that radiates through the entire team and has put it in position to not only contend for a playoff spot, but win the district despite not having a single player with playoff experience.

Brown, who finished with 21 points, collected a loose ball and made the game-winning shot as time expired.

"You don't want to say he's going to make that shot, but I got a lot of confidence if it's in his hands," said Carroll head coach Jon Youngblood. "He's fighting flu symptoms right now. He was in bed all day so he showed a lot of guts just coming out and competing."

It didn't look like the game would get that close when it started. Carroll jumped out to a 9-0 lead less than two minutes into the first quarter and led by as many as 17 in the third quarter.

Despite having extreme difficulties getting to the rim off the dribble against Carroll's man defense, Fossil Ridge hung around thanks to excellent long-range shooting. The Panthers hit 10 3-pointers in the game, accounting for more than half their points.

Five teams bunched up at top of District 7-5A

January, 12, 2011
There are plenty of contenders for the District 7-5A title, but a favorite has yet to emerge.

Coppell (17-6), Keller Fossil Ridge (13-6) and Southlake Carroll (13-8) are tied for first with a 3-1 district record, with Justin Northwest (18-5) and Keller Central (12-11) a game back at at 2-2.

The logjam at the top was created in part by struggling teams at the bottom. Keller, Saginaw and Denton Guyer have combined for just two district wins.

If not for a blown lead against Carroll, Coppell would be in sole possession of first, having beaten Fossil Ridge and Northwest. Northwest knocked Coppell out of the playoffs in 2010.

Northwest beat Carroll but fell out of a tie for first after a 50-32 loss to Central on Tuesday.

Carroll and Fossil Ridge look like strong contenders to return to the playoffs after missing out on the postseason in 2010.

Carroll is getting it done with defense, giving up just 51 points per game. Guard William Brown leads the Dragons in scoring with 15 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Max Berman averages 12 points per game, while Grant Jolly adds 10 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

Coppell hosts Keller Central on Friday, Northwest hosts Saginaw, Carroll hosts Guyer and Fossil Ridge hosts Keller.
Keller Central is on track to make the playoffs for the first time in school history out of a top-heavy District 7-5A.

Key wins over Keller and Keller Fossil Ridge have allowed Central (5-2, 3-1) to surface to fourth place in 7-5A behind Coppell, Denton Guyer and Southlake Carroll.

Central still has to play Coppell and Carroll, but with just three games remaining and a two-game lead on the rest of the district, a win over Justin Northwest in two weeks would likely clinch it for the Chargers.

Improved play on offense is a big reason why Central has already surpassed its highest single-season win total. The Chargers average more than a touchdown per game more than they did in 2009.

Running back C.J. Kirk has 856 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year. Quarterback Tanner Tausch, who took over under center with three games left in 2009, has provided some stability at the position, throwing for 1,295 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“Our kids are motivated to try to get someplace we’ve never been before,” said Bart Helsley, Central's head coach since the team’s inaugural season in 2004. “You always hope there’s a good chemistry with the kids. We started to see some of that in the spring and the summer and felt pretty good about it and knew it was one of the most important things for us to be better, to have good team chemistry.”

Central plays at Carroll on Friday.

Revitalized Southlake Carroll gets tested

October, 14, 2010
Southlake Carroll head coach Hal Wasson has learned not to assume anything.

Nothing is taken for granted with a team that’s struggled with off-the-field drama, inexperience and a switch to a new 3-4 defense.

“We have to cover every base,” Wasson said. “Instead of going over it a time or two, we may have to go over it seven or eight times or whatever it takes to ensure we’ve covered it.”

Wasson learned that lesson early. In Carroll’s season-opening loss to Copperas Cove, the Dragons weren’t playing together. When the pressure rose, inexperience got the better of them. Some players on defense instinctively reverted to their previous teachings in the 4-3.

But with time and a patient coaching staff, the Dragons have shaken off the rough start and bad publicity to string together a five-game winning streak, including three convincing wins in district play, but Carroll will know exactly how far its young team has come when they play at No. 2 Coppell on Friday.

“Make no mistake – it’s definitely a big test for us,” Wasson said of Coppell.

Carroll has slowly put together its team after returning just one starter from a year ago. That’s included something of a facelift on offense.
Sophomore QB Kenny Hill took over the starting role midseason, but
Carroll’s high-flying passing game has taken a back seat to RB Paul Stevenson and a rapidly improving offensive line.

The result: Carroll has put together efficient offensive performances relying on moving the chains and ball security more than making big plays.

“Some of that is just the way the games have gone,” Wasson said. “But in my opinion, to win football games you have to possess a physical running game. That’s one of the things we’ve always taken great pride in.”

Hill has completed close to 80 percent of his passes, but averages a little more than 10 yards per completion. Stevenson has rushed for 674 yards and 9 touchdowns.

The methodical offense produced lopsided wins over Keller, Keller Fossil Ridge and Justin Northwest, although those three teams have won four games combined.

“It’s also encouraging to watch our team grow,” Wasson said. “If you’ve ever had a plant that you water it and nurture it and it just sits there – it’s kind of demoralizing. That’s not happening here.”

Coppell (6-0, 3-0) will field the toughest defense Carroll’s new-look offense has seen this year. The Cowboys have given up just 7.3 points per game, the best in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Class 5A.

“They have playmakers in a lot of areas,” Wasson said of Coppell. “They’re seasoned. They definitely get your attention. They’re very worth of the exposure they’re getting.”

Southlake Carroll turns to sophomore at QB

October, 4, 2010
Southlake Carroll head coach Hal Wasson has decided to stick with Kenny Hill at quarterback after the sophomore's impressive performance in the Dragons' 47-17 win over Keller last week.

Hill threw for 136 yards and a touchdown while completing 16-of-19 passes. He also ran for two touchdowns.

Hill has been a work in progress this season because the Dragons (4-1, 2-0 in District 7-5A) originally planned for Daxx Garman to start at quarterback with Drew Ahmuty as the backup.

After Garman was ruled ineligible the day of Carroll’s opener, coaches rushed to get Hill up to speed with varsity play after a strong year on the freshmen team in 2009.

“He’s been in system, but he’s gotten more intense training for the last six weeks now,” Wasson said. “He made the most of it Friday night with a steady performance. The upside on him is that he’s just going to get better with reps.”

Hill sparked the Dragons in the second half of their 38-14 win over Keller Fossil Ridge two weeks ago after subbing in for Ahmuty, and he started the win over Keller. Wasson said he thought about starting Hill on Sept. 10 against Richardson Berkner but declined simply because of the lack of preparation he'd received up to that point.

The son of former Rangers pitcher Ken Hill, Hill possesses exceptional arm strength. He’s also been extremely efficient, going 26-for-33 on the year.

Keller Fossil Ridge can't catch a break

September, 14, 2010
Keller Fossil Ridge could just as easily be undefeated.

The Panthers (0-3) have lost three games in the closing minutes by a combined 10 points.

Last week against Carrollton Newman Smith, the Panthers gave up a touchdown run with 17 seconds left in a 37-30 loss.

Two weeks ago against Ennis, Fossil Ridge scored on a 97-yard drive at the end of the game, only to mishandle the extra point and lose, 28-27.

After returning all but one starter from 2009, Fossil Ridge was considered a darkhorse in District 7-5A, but it will have to learn how to win close games to make the playoffs.

The Panthers open district play against Southlake Carroll (2-1) on Sept. 23 at home.