Spotlight: Southlake Carroll Dragons
Hometown: Southlake, Texas
Group: TX District 6-5A
By Omar Muhammad
Southlake Carroll football is widely considered one of the nation’s premier high school programs and it’s easy to see why.
The Dragons have risen into a national powerhouse thanks to a winning pedigree imported by past coaches, coast-to-coast exposure, great community support and notable alumni members now making waves in college or the pro ranks.
With some stellar talent at his disposal, Bob Ledbetter was the first coach to set the bar high for the Dragons program as he led the team to Texas 3A state titles in 1988, 1992 and 1993. Ledbetter also posted a state record of 72-straight regular season wins from ‘86 to ‘93. Tom Rapp took the reigns in ’96 and put together a 29-17-1 mark from ‘96 to ‘99. Rapp is the only Southlake coach not to make a state finals appearance.
In ‘00, Carroll replaced Rapp with Todd Dodge, a former Texas quarterback and Fossil Ridge head coach. Dodge then steered the Dragons back on the winning track by recording a superb 98-11 regular season record and four state championships since moving up to the 5A Class. Dodge left Carroll in ‘07 to take the reins as the head coach at North Texas.
Hal Wasson, who coached at Fossil Ridge in Keller, became the next head coach of the Dragon’s program. With Wasson in charge, the Dragons won their third consecutive 5A state title in ’06, becoming just the second school to three-peat in the Texas class 5A state playoffs.
With steady coaching always present and statewide and national accolades being claimed nearly every season, Southlake Carroll is now receiving considerable coverage from national sources.
During the ’07 campaign, the Dragons played in their first nationally televised game against Florida powerhouse Miami Northwestern on ESPNU. It was also the first time that the top two nationally ranked teams met on the gridiron in the same season. The Dragons were more than just a name to fans across the country now, people were starting to put a face with the program.
Fan support has also played a key role into the team’s success, especially when it comes to home field advantage.
Today, the Dragons sell out of tickets within hours of them being on sale for purchase. To Dragon fans, the games are more than just football, they are about friends and families coming together year after year and the traditions that are carried through.
Meanwhile, Carroll has also produced elite talent that has been sent on to the college and professional level, giving the program some added exposure and credibility.
Perhaps the most well-known Dragon right now is Missouri QB Chase Daniels. Daniels has risen to become one of the nation's top players, and likely will be a Heisman candidate and All-American favorite after producing a record-setting ‘07 season. Additionally, NFL veteran Kris Brown is in his tenth professional season and owes it all to the Dragons program where he initiated his football career.
So far in '08, the Dragons are right on track for another title run. To date, Carroll has posted a 6-2 overall record and will be looking to sure up a playoff spot with a victory over Lewisville on Thursday.
All in all, the Southlake Carroll football program has quickly risen into one of the nation’s most prolific. Whether it’s been the top-notch coaches, national press, fans support or elite alumnus, the Dragons are a national power here to stay.
Next up: November 6 vs. Lewisville.
Got ideas for a future high school spotlight? E-mail editor Adam C. Warner at firstname.lastname@example.org.