Friday Night Lights. Texas Longhorns. Johnny Football. Dallas Cowboys.
Texas football symbolizes many things to many different people.
Regardless of how one portrays/interprets it, one belief holds true: football reigns supreme in the State of Texas.
For ESPN The Magazine's "The State of Football" issue, the incomparable Wright Thompson traveled across the state of Texas to make sense of the state's obsession with football.
Thompson's "Odyssey to Odessa" took him to football-crazed towns such as Allen, the site of a brand new $60 million high school football stadium; Arlington, home of the Dallas Cowboys and "Jerry World"; and on through to Odessa, the setting for Friday Night Lights.
In prefacing the story, "9 Exits on America's Football Highway," Thompson contends that "each Texas story is incomplete without the pavement that connects it to all the stories that come before and after." He continues: "And even as the state of football is seen as murky in many places across the country, in the football state, the game endures. That's an important word to Texans."
The fourth stop on Thompson's Texas excursion was to the suburban city of Southlake, home of the eight-time state champion Carroll Dragons.
Several years ago, the city of Southlake voted on whether to keep one high school or split into two separate institutions. In a close vote, the town voted to keep it whole—for many reasons, Thompson writes, "including the football legacy."
The vote paid off.
Since 2003, Carroll has won 131 games and four state titles, earning recognition as the No. 1 football dynasty in Texas.
For the Dragons, the term "endure" takes a completely different, albeit rudimentary, meaning—greater than the interpretation presented in Thompson's think piece. Nevertheless, the ability to endure is the foundation for the football legacy that was built at Carroll.
As Carroll head coach Hal Wasson explains it, the only chance for the Dragons to be successful is to be the most prepared football team on the field.
Achieving the ultimate level of preparedness starts with the "Dragon Maker" workout, a rapid-fire circuit comprising bodyweight exercises and explosive lifts. The Dragon Maker builds endurance, enabling the team to persevere through its greatest threat to success—selfishness.
Wasson says, "It's hard to trust a guy that hasn't trained as hard as you. That's hard to do, and it can tear your football team apart."
In a sense, the Carroll football program is a microcosm reflecting the current state of football in Texas. Football is king in Southlake, and the Dragon Maker is the fuel for enduring success.
NOTE: At the time of this report, Carroll defeated fellow Class 6A powerhouse Denton Guyer in the Division II area round.
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