Remember the 1994 John Tyler-Plano East playoff game in Texas that won an ESPY for Showstopper of the Year?
Saturday’s Texas Class 5A Division I state semifinal in Dallas between Carroll (Southlake, Texas) and Skyline (Dallas) might not follow in winning an ESPY, but the game had similar thrills, unexpected turns and overall excitement. The game included a 10-point lead lost in 21 seconds, a controversial onside kick recovery, one team left dumbfounded and another that celebrated one of its greatest comebacks in school history.
And then, there was a fox. A real, live fox.
In Carroll’s 28-24, come-from-behind victory over Skyline, a fox darted on the field and -- while Carroll quarterback Kenny Hill raced to the north end zone for a game-winning, 35-yard touchdown -- sprinted from the north end zone to the opposite end zone. The fox ironically stayed between the hashmarks for most of its run.
Here’s a picture to prove it, courtesy of The Dallas Morning News – and no, it isn’t Photoshopped.
While the fox seemed to garner much of the attention, Saturday’s game featured several quality players on two teams ranked in the FAB 50. Here are 10 players – five from each team – who made an impact on the game.
SOUTHLAKE CARROLL (15-0)
QB Kenny Hill, Jr.: The dual-threat quarterback had 168 total yards, but his three rushing touchdowns made him a factor. His final play, a 35-yard run for a score with 46 seconds remaining, proved to be the game-winner. Hill has early interest from Texas Tech, Baylor, Texas A&M and West Virginia.
LB Jeremy McClellan, Sr.: McClellan is an uncommitted linebacker. After his performance Saturday, many will wonder why he’s still available. McClellan showed on several occasions that he can hit -- hard. He also showed his ability to make a play on the ball, with a second-quarter interception.
RB A.J. Ezzard, So.: There’s something about Ezzard that makes Carroll followers recall another Dragon alum, former Texas running back Tre’ Newton. Ezzard rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown against a Skyline defense that has built a reputation of holding rushers to less than 100 yards. He’ll be a solid FBS recruit in 2014.
DB Matt Swoyer, Sr.: Swoyer had a huge game against one of the most versatile offensive teams Carroll has seen this season. The uncommitted safety had a respectable game, breaking up several passes and making important tackles. Swoyer even won a couple of battles against Under Armour All-American Thomas Johnson.
DB Tanner Jacobson, Jr.: Jacobson, alongside Swoyer, had a solid game in the secondary at the safety position. He made big stops when Carroll needed them most. Even though he’s only a junior, Jacobson is one of the leading veterans, as he saw significant time as a sophomore. In addition to playing safety, he is a reliable punt returner.
DALLAS SKYLINE (14-1)
RB David Greene, Sr.: Greene committed to UNLV in August, but, with his postseason performances, don’t be surprised if he receives interest from other FBS schools. He rushed for 101 yards and the game’s first touchdown against Carroll. Greene finished his senior year with 1,330 yards and 17 touchdowns, and he averaged nine yards per carry.
QB Devante Kincade, Jr.: There’s a reason Oregon, Texas, LSU and a few other schools are heavily interested. Kincade has the athleticism of a dual-threat quarterback, but he has established himself as a true pocket presence. He threw for more than 3,200 yards and 37 touchdowns, and he completed more than 70 percent of his passes.
WR Ra’Shaad Samples, Jr.: With all the talent on the football field, Samples might have been the most impressive when it comes to yards after the catch. The son of Skyline head coach Reginald Samples is super slippery in transition, and he has parlayed his playmaking ability into nine scholarship offers, including Texas Tech and UCLA.
WR Thomas Johnson, Sr.: The Under Armour All-American receiver recorded seven catches for 57 yards and a touchdown in Saturday’s loss. A Texas commit, Johnson has incredible hands and excellent speed, which has helped him flourish in Skyline’s high-octane offense.
LB Peter Jinkens, Sr.: Another Under Armour All-American, Jinkens is a playmaker on both sides of the ball, lining up at linebacker on defense, running back on offense. The Texas commitment gave Carroll fits as an outside linebacker, making multiple tackles for loss and sacking quarterback Kenny Hill twice.