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Carthage seniors complete dominant run

By Hayden Henry
Dec. 22, 2017 at 4:38 p.m.
Updated Dec. 22, 2017 at 4:38 p.m.

Action from the first half of Carthage's battle against Kennedale in the state title game Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, at AT&T Stadium.

ARLINGTON — It’s tough to see if you look over Carthage’s track record on the biggest stage in the past decade, but Bulldog head coach Scott Surratt made a mistake.

He didn’t on Friday at AT&T Stadium.

With the Class 4A, Division I championship well in hand, the Carthage head coach sent his offense back out on the field one last time, garnering a standing ovation from the Bulldog faithful that filled up the home of the Cowboys as if it were Bulldog Stadium.

“It was a special moment,” Surratt said. “Every time we’ve come out here the previous five times, I was too stupid to do something like that.

“I said that if we ever win another one, we’re going to try to recognize these seniors the right way. We did it with the defense too. They needed the recognition, they deserve it and I’m glad we got to do that.”

Throughout his postgame press conference after Carthage’s 49-21 dismantling of Kennedale, the word ‘special’ was used early and often by Surratt describing his senior group, which leaves Carthage as back-to-back state champions with a record of 40-6 overall.

RELATED: Carthage repeats as state champion with crushing 49-21 win over Kennedale

The success came as no surprise to Surratt, who knew what was on the way from the early going.

“They always have a lot of pressure to play at Carthage and we relish that pressure, that’s just how our program is,” Surratt said. “Coming over, our junior high coordinators said we’ll get at least two championships out of this group.

“Last time he told me that, we got three so he’s pretty good. I told these guys anything less than a championship, barring injuries or something like that, would be a disappointment. They finished up right.”

Those promising junior high prospects turned in an absolute dominant showing in their Bulldog finale.

Running back and Texas commit Keaontay Ingram finished with 163 yards on 15 carries and a three-touchdown night, giving him 37 rushing touchdowns on his senior season. Ingram will join the Longhorns with 76 rushing touchdowns, good for second all-time at Carthage, according to 247sports.com’s Gabe Brooks.

“It’s fun and it means a lot,” Ingram said. “It’s very emotional for this class.

“We had a lot of fun and hopefully we’ll all be successful in the future. It’s really special. When you have chemistry like we have, you know you’ll have special moments.”

All three senior receivers — Dee Bowens, Mekhi Colbert and Dewaylon Ingram — got in on the scoring act. Bowens had four catches for 135 yards and a touchdown, his 23rd of the year. He added a 39-yard touchdown run as well.

Colbert, who Surratt described as a ‘do-everything’ player, will leave Carthage in the state championship record books with a 191-yard night and a score, his sixth of the season for the two-way standout. Dewaylon Ingram hauled in his 15th touchdown of the year.

Senior kicker Alberto Sigala went 7-for-7 on point-after attempts.

Defensively, MVP Mykel Gates had nine tackles with a tackle for loss, giving him 21 on the season, and a crucial forced fumble and ensuing recovery that led to a 28-7 Bulldog lead at halftime.

Fellow linebackers Ahmad Brown and Jose DeJulian combined for 14 tackles with Brown recording a tackle for loss. The linebackers excelled behind a defensive line, featuring seniors Montario Wilson and Darrian Ingram, that held Kennedale to 252 rushing yards, over 140 below the Wildcats’ season average.

“Our defensive line really stepped up,” DeJulian said. “They took on blocks and took out the pullers to leave us free.”

Ingram’s second-to-last run as a Bulldog went for 65 yards early in the fourth quarter. His last, coming with 5:36 left to go, was behind an offensive line that featured seniors Jessie Wayne Pierce, Nate Brittenham and tight end Callahan Baldree, was greeted by a standing ovation.

Less than three minutes later, the Bulldog defense was sent out in the same way.

But, as it is every season in Carthage, the next ring is always the best and leading the quest for another three-peat will be junior quarterback and offensive MVP Gunner Capps.

“It’s always a lot of pressure in this program at Carthage with the expectations we have here and around the state,” Capps said. “I think we’ve got some good players coming up and we’ll be ready to go.”

Follow Hayden Henry on Twitter: @hayden_h

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