ARLINGTON - For all the accolades and attention the North Forney offense rightfully received during the regular season, the defense made sure to make its mark in the second round of the playoffs against Lake Dallas.
North Forney held Lake Dallas scoreless in the first half, and Randy Jackson’s squad eased to a 50-20 victory in the Class 5A UIL Region II area round Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Senior quarterback Colby Suits accounted for seven touchdowns: six throwing scores and a score on the ground. Wide receiver Jordan Carroll had two touchdown catches and148 yards receiving and Jackson Ennels added two touchdown receptions.
Running everything from a swinging gate to a tight, three-wide receiver bunch formation, the North Forney offense was an efficient machine, accumulating 614 yards and 31 first downs.
“We usually start pretty fast – I think we’re averaging around 21 points in the first quarter,” said Randy Jackson, North Forney head coach. “But our quarterback makes it go, and our receivers are great. We’ve got the personnel to do what we want to do, and to have this talent, we’re pretty blessed.”
But the story was North Forney’s defense, which came into Saturday’s game allowing more than 30 points per game. Against Lake Dallas, that unit dominated.
Ryan Depperschmidt and the Falcons mustered only one drive beyond midfield in the first half, and when that drive progressed into the North Forney red zone, cornerback Willie Thomas picked off Depperschmidt in the end zone and returned the ball to North Forney’s 45 yard line.
It was the second interception of the game for Thomas, who grabbed the ball away from Lake Dallas’ Charles Williams in the first quarter on a jump ball pass from Depperschmidt.
“After Week Four and Five, I wanted to make some changes because we were giving up too many points,” Jackson said. “I’m so proud of how our defense has played since then. They embraced change. You’re not going to outscore people and go very far in the playoffs. [Lake Dallas] is a good offense – you could see in the second half how good of a team they are. I went 0-2 against them when I was the head coach at Grapevine, so I know how good they are and how well-coached they are.”
When Lake Dallas finally got on the board, courtesy of a Depperschmidt rushing touchdown, only six minutes remained in the third quarter and North Forney led, 37-6.
In a play that foreshadowed the type of afternoon Lake Dallas was about to endure, North Forney gained 20 extra yards of field position in the first quarter when tight end Michael Court caught a Suits pass, ran 15 yards and fumbled the ball. Two Lake Dallas defenders and Court dove for the ball, but it squirted out from beneath all three of the players and rolled another 20 yards into Lake Dallas territory before Carroll fell on the ball.
Two plays later, North Forney scored its second touchdown of the game on a Suits run and took a 17-0 lead.
Lake Dallas’ offense woke up at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth, scoring three touchdowns and recovering an onside kick to cut North Forney’s lead to 24. But North Forney made a stop on fourth down with eight minutes remaining and killed the clock with strong running by Calvin Ribera.
For the game, Depperschmidt finished with 210 yards passing, 92 yards rushing and three total touchdowns.
Lake Dallas’ season ends following a second-place finish in District 14-5A and a thrilling 37-34 victory over Frisco Reedy, a 9-1 team, in the 5A Region 2 bi-district playoff round. Depperschmidt and Engel both return next season for head coach Michael Young, who had nothing but good things to say about this year’s squad.
“I told them at halftime, no one game defines who you are,” he said. “It’s the season that defines you. We’ve been a successful team. There’s only going to be so many teams that raise the trophy, and for us to come out the way we did and play so well in the second half, I think we showed great heart.”
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