PLYMOUTH, Minn. — Around their own school, their athletic accomplishments go largely unnoticed.
At Southlake Carroll High School in Texas, football is celebrated. Eight state championships in the football-mad state offer a sense of identity for those at Southlake Carroll. Pep rallies are held to acknowledge the football teams along with some of the other sports successes.
Southlake Carroll’s hockey team toils in anonymity even among fellow students.
“A lot of questions like, ‘We have a hockey team? Are you guys good? How does hockey work? What is hockey?’” Southlake Carroll forward Scott Joy said.
Joy and the rest of the Dragons’ hockey team are giving reason for classmates and the community to take notice. The “football school” has a hockey team with a state championship that is competing this week in Plymouth, Minnesota, in the Chipotle-USA Hockey High School Nationals.
“We’re trying to get recognition from our school,” Southlake Carroll defenseman Peter Adams said. “Pep rallies and usually the football guys go down, swim goes down, tennis goes down and they get a shout out. So, the last pep rally, our principal shouted out the hockey team for winning the state championship. So, that was pretty cool.”
It’s not easy building the program, or to get the community invested.
Club teams offer the chance for many kids to play hockey. The rinks the Dragons play and practice in are at least 20 minutes away from the school’s campus.
“It’s kind of annoying,” Adams said of Southlake Carroll being known just for football. “The one thing that makes me a little bit angry is that the whole school goes to the football games and then at hockey games, it’s parents (only).”
The Dragons have a program worth joining and one worth watching. They earned their way to this weekend’s national high school championships under the tutelage of coach Knute Anderson, who has coached the kids for at least seven years.
Southlake Carroll won their first game in Minnesota 4-0 over the Viewmont Vikings from Utah. Joy had a goal and assist. Adams had two assists. Saunders Penn and Alex Carbone also scored for the Dragons, who got a 26-save shutout from goaltender Ricardo Alvarez.
“This is pretty special to me, not having a high school hockey team where that’s king in Minnesota, to come win a game with my hockey team from Dallas,” said Anderson, who grew up in Granite Falls, Minnesota, and won, of all things, a high school football championship in 1984. “That’s a really cool thing for me. Those boys don’t know how special a treat it was that they gave me. They really don’t know. It’s cool.”
Southlake Carroll won its second game of the tournament on Friday, 7-2, keeping the team’s championship hopes alive. Joy, Carbone, Adams, Truman Hirschy, Martin McManus, Reece Rutledge and Jacob Jones all scored goals.
“It’s a cool atmosphere,” Joy said. “For a high school game, that was a lot of people we saw in the stands. Hopefully we’ll get to play one of the Minnesota teams and have a Minnesota-feel game, and really show them what Texas is about. No one knows Texas has hockey … No one knows Texas plays hockey but we’ve got some good players down there.”
Many of the players, such as Joy and Adams, play high school and club hockey, doubling their time in the sport. They don’t play football. For the most part, there is little crossover between hockey and football.
“They’re a coachable group,” Anderson said. “They’re smart. Everybody at Southlake goes to college. This is a group of kids that are accustomed to taking it to the next step on whatever they do. I’ve got 13 seniors that are all going to great colleges.”
And perhaps gaining some attention for hockey in Southlake along the way.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.