ARLINGTON — The Carthage offense couldn’t have peaked at a better time.
As they have throughout the season, the Bulldogs romped to a 49-14 win against Kennedale in the Class 4A, Division I state final Friday afternoon at AT&T Stadium, winning their sixth state title and second in a row.
“It’s amazing and it never gets old,” Carthage head coach Scott Surratt said. “It’s a tribute to these guys and my staff. Just the way these guys work, it’s a special group. These seniors weren’t going to let anybody lose focus. It’s a lot of pressure to play at Carthage, but we relish it.”
The high-powered Carthage offense scored 21 points in the first half while holding Kennedale to just seven in that span. The Bulldogs put in the backups in the fourth quarter and the Wildcats scored twice in the waning moments of the fourth quarter.
Bulldogs senior receiver Mekhi Colbert finished the game with 191 yards receiving and one touchdown, a 4A championship game record.
Dee Bowens had 135 yards and touchdown receiving, while Texas-bound running back Keaontay Ingram ran for 163 yards and three touchdowns.
Carthage quarterback Gunner Capps finished the game with 365 yards passing and three touchdowns, taking home Offensive MVP honors in the process. In the semifinal win against Waco La Vega, he turned the ball over four times.
“I trust my teammates and the coaching staff and I made sure I held onto the ball a little better,” he said. “We knew coming into it that we were going to have a lot of what we wanted. We just had to get it outside to guys.”
Kennedale was led offensively by D.J. Kirven, who ran for 111 yards and a touchdown. Jayden Knowles also had 61 rushing yards and a score, while quarterback Evan Jowers threw for 55 yards and a touchdown to David Roper.
Ector Rivera and Larry Brooks each finished with seven tackles to lead the Wildcats on defense and Mayfield Hayes had a sack.
“I knew there was something special about these guys,” Kennedale coach Richard Barret said. “There was no wavering and our commitment was one goal and one goal only. That’s something I really respect abuot them.”
Carthage scored the first two touchdowns of the game, both of which were passes from Capps. The first was a 14-yard score to Dewaylon Ingram and the second was a 64-yard bomb to Colbert with just over a minute left in the quarter.
Kennedale scored its only touchdown of the first half when Roper caught a 37-yard pass on the first drive of the second quarter.
The Bulldogs turned on the jets over the next 24 minutes, scoring four unanswered touchdowns. Ingram ran for a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter before Capps threw his third touchdown early in the third and Bowens ran for a touchdown.
The Wildcats scored twice in the final quarter on touchdown runs by Kirven and Knowles.
Since Surratt took over the program in 2007, the Bulldogs have more state title rings than playoff losses. They have tons six championships in the last 10 seasons and just five playoff losses.
“It’s always a lot of pressure being in this program at Carthage and the expectations we have from the community and people coming up,” Capps said. “But we’ve got a lot of guys coming up and we’re going to be ready to go.”