CARROLLTON — It took a little longer than he anticipated, but Ed Dudley has registered victory No. 1 as the head coach of the Carrollton High School football team.
The first-year coach received a stellar effort from his squad in the 46-10 domination of North Hall on Friday night at Grisham Stadium, using a strong special teams effort, a suffocating defensive display and solid execution offensively to break into the win column.
“I thought our guys played great,” Dudley said. “A high-effort game. They were really moving around out there and playing hard. I was most pleased with them just for the fact that they’ve been resilient. They’ve come under a lot of fire and criticism here around town and around school. For them to be tough, fight back and win this big game, I just really enjoyed it.”
In a clash of the Trojans, the home team controlled this one from start to finish, building a 25-0 halftime advantage and never allowing the visitors to cross the 50-yard line until the 7:31 mark of the fourth quarter when Carrollton had its reserves on the field sporting a 39-0 lead.
The Carrollton defense held North Hall to just 55 first-half yards and three first downs, as the visitors gained 146 of their 235 yards in the fourth quarter when the outcome wasn’t in question.
Carrollton scored four times on the ground and three times on special teams, blocking a punt for a touchdown, returning a kickoff for a score and booting a 24-yard field goal. It finished with 229 yards rushing, led by Conrad Jackson’s game-high 134-yard effort on 20 carries with two touchdowns.
Carrollton (1-3) took the opening drive 70 yards in 10 plays, scoring on an 8-yard run by Jackson for the early 7-0 lead.
Following a three-and-out by North Hall, Malique Gallon blocked a punt that was recovered at the 3-yard line by Jett Driver, who strolled in for the easy score to push the score to 15-0 after a two-point conversion run by Clay Marlar with 5:03 to go in the opening quarter.
“Anytime you score in the kicking game, you’ve got a chance to win the big game. We got a couple of those. I was real pleased with that. Coach Michael Alba, our special teams coordinator, has taken us a long way in four games,” Dudley said.
After another three-and-out by North Hall, Carrollton marched 56 yards in 12 plays, scoring on a 1-yard run by Angelo Osorio to make it 22-0 with 11:38 to go in the half.
North Hall (0-3) switched quarterbacks on its third drive, inserting Jackson Madonna. The sophomore led the visitors on their best drive of the opening half, getting two first downs, their first of the game, but they were forced to punt at the 42-yard line.
Carrollton went three-and-out and used a 51-yard Cristian Ramirez punt to push North Hall back to its own 24, which resulted in another three-and-out.
With the ball at its own 46 and 2:01 left on the first-half clock, Carrollton appeared to score on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Damarcus Mitchell to Gordon Dudley, but the hosts were whistled for a block in the back, a penalty that received a livid reaction from the Carrollton coaching staff.
They would settle for a 24-yard field goal from Ramirez just before the half for the 25-0 lead going into the locker room.
Carrollton dominated the stat sheet in the first half, picking up 226 yards of total offense to just 55 for North Hall.
The second half was much of the same, as Carrollton drove down to the 1-yard line before North Hall’s Christian Barbosa recovered a fumble on a botched snap. The Carrollton defense held North Hall, which went for it on fourth-and-3 at its own 12-yard line.
That set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Osorio 37 seconds into the fourth quarter to stretch the lead to 32-0. Carrollton pushed it to 39-0 after Jarel Rowe returned a punt 44 yards to the 2-yard line, setting up a 2-yard Jackson touchdown run.
North Hall finally got on the board courtesy of a 25-yard pass from Madonna to Mac Bennett with 3:54 to go in the game and added a 38-yard field goal from Chris Dennis as time expired.
Dante Wigley capped off Carrollton’s scoring with a 93-yard kickoff return to paydirt following Bennett’s touchdown reception.
Dudley was proud of the way his defense stuffed North Hall’s offense all evening, never allowing the visitors to gain any momentum.
“The wishbone’s a tough offense. You don’t see it every week and you don’t get enough time in practice to work on it. I thought our guys were great taking away their internal run game and limiting that pitch play to the outside,” Dudley said.
Jack Brown led North Hall with 37 yards on seven carries, while Madonna completed 4-of-7 pass attempts for 72 yards and a touchdown. Sam Jackson had four receptions for 52 yards.