Southlake Carroll reloads By Tim MacMahon of The Dallas Morning News
Good news for the rest of Class 5A: Southlake Carroll returns only one offensive starter. Bad news: A bunch of talented juniors will be lighting up scoreboards together for Carroll the next two seasons.
Tailback Tre' Newton, perhaps the state's top junior, is the lone returning starter after rushing for 1,345 yards and 13 touchdowns for the mythical national champions. Newton and quarterback Riley Dodge headline the junior class. Coach Todd Dodge's son is a run-pass threat with the talent and moxie to extend Carroll quarterbacks' streak of four consecutive 5A offensive player of the year awards.
Coach Dodge said as many as six other juniors could start for Carroll, which is 63-1 as a 5A program. "I've always felt there were a lot of good football players in this bunch," he said. One more was added when receiver Blake Cantu, the District 6-5A sophomore of the year last season, transferred from Hurst L.D. Bell during the spring semester. Cantu impressed his new coaches with his big, soft hands and tackle-breaking ability.
Juniors Ethan Cunningham and Chris Brainard are also competing for reps in Carroll's receiver rotation after the school had four wideouts sign with Division I-A schools last year.
Carroll is counting on three junior offensive linemen who are I-A prospects to give Dodge time to throw and Newton room to run. Center Nick Leppo (6-2, 250), guard Jake Jackson (6-4, 270) and tackle Sam Schwartztein (6-3, 250) will line up side by side. "It's going to be a lot of fun," Newton said. "We're going to have two years to play together and grow that bond. I'm looking forward to it." The rest of 5A certainly isn't.