The Lake Dallas Falcons may have snuck into the playoffs via a tiebreaker over Trophy Club Byron Nelson after their 21-13 victory over Azle in the final game of the season, but their 20-0 defeat of Saginaw Boswell in the bi-district round of the Class 4A Division II tournament was evidence that they are poised to do some damage.
The Falcons (7-4) did more than survive a strong District 5-4A, and the Falcons’ next test comes at 1 p.m. today against Waco at the Midlothian school district’s Multi-Purpose Stadium.
“We have an opportunity to go as far as any team we’ve had at this school, and this game against Waco should be close,” Lake Dallas coach Michael Young said. “I think our kids really feel like once you’re in the playoffs, that’s where you establish the team you are. We are hot and playing playoff formula. We have a favorable bracket. Last week wasn’t anything fancy. I think we’ve got a lot of confidence right now.”
Lake Dallas’ fundamental approach to the game has shined through this season, with Young expecting growing pains along the way.
“I think the way the season has gone, we’ve anticipated as a staff,” Young said. “[Frisco] Centennial was better than us and so was Guyer. I think we should have beat Byron Nelson. We knew that it was going to be rough at times. Our concern was how our kids were going to react to some adversity. We are definitely a lot better than we were five weeks ago. There aren’t too many teams that have made the jump we have.”
Junior quarterback Marshall Dominy exemplified the Falcons’ approach with his arm and his kicking leg against Azle, as he was being depended upon in the punting game.
“Marshall did a great job punting away from guys,” Young said. “I think we had a net yardage of 50 yards, and that’s a big deal in a game like that. We always like to have a punter or kicker that’s involved in the game. It allows us to run fake punts, which we’ve done once this year. When you want to play the style of play we want, we have to control the clock and you have to have a good punter. He helped win that game the other night.”
The Falcons’ defense, which pitched a shutout against Azle with terrific play from the defensive line, will have to deal with Waco’s workhorse running back Christian Simms and junior quarterback Traynham Moore.
“They run a really good balance of run and pass,” Young said. “They can run inside the tackles, and their quarterback can go outside. They have a good screen game and a good deep game. They’ve had a lot of games where they’ve scored a lot of points. We can’t play a 45-point game.”
Young is hoping his defensive line can duplicate its success against Azle with a three-man front again. With three effective pass rushers, the Falcons have been able to put one more defensive player in coverage.
“I thought defensively we were able to put pressure on the quarterback with three defensive linemen,” Young said. “We were able to stop the run with three guys, which is really hard to do. I thought that was the key to our whole defense. We ran a three-man front against Azle, but it depends on what we are going to see. It’s easy for us to switch over with us being 4-3 front. If you try to blitz your way out of playing good defense, it will cause bigger problems.”
The Flacons want to avoid those problems, and should they run into an offensive buzz saw, Dominy and junior running back Tony Green will have to shoulder the burden.
Young said his team is prepared to take a few big-play shots to receivers and tight ends that might have a size mismatch.
“It also depends on what kind of defense they’re playing,” Young said. “The one thing we’ve seen from Waco this year is their defense is going to be more aggressive. When you see a defense like that, you have to be aggressive and go after some big plays. I think guys like Josh Jackson we can use and we have some big, athletic tight ends we can use to catch some balls down the middle.”
If the Falcons get past Waco, they will face Wolfforth Frenship or El Paso Horizon in the regional round.