By Jason Hickman
MaxPreps 2006 National Player of the Year
Riley Dodge, Southlake Carroll High, Southlake, Texas
Riley Dodge entered the 2006 football season at Southlake Carroll High outside of Dallas without a start under his belt, and following in the footsteps of four-straight Dragon quarterbacks who earned Texas 5A Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Talk about big shoes to fill.
But Dodge, just a junior, surpassed the expectations bestowed upon him not just because he was the next in line at Southlake Carroll, but also because he is the son of arguably America's most famous high school football coach. Make that, former, high school football coach.
Dodge led the Dragons to their third-straight 5A title, and extended the dynasty's win streak to 48 games Saturday with a come-from-behind, 43-29 victory over Austin Westlake, giving his father - Southlake Carroll head coach Todd Dodge - a fitting sendoff.
Todd Dodge accepted the head coaching position at the University of North Texas Dec. 12 after compiling a 98-11 record at Southlake Carroll with four state titles.
Riley, meanwhile, was equally phenomenal in his first campaign as the Dragons' signal caller. The younger Dodge threw for 4,184 yards and 54 touchdowns (against just 14 interceptions), and ran for another 1,119 yards and 13 touchdowns.
For those counting at home, that's 5,303 total yards and 67 touchdowns for the rookie starter. The Dragon offense cranked out 44 points per game with Dodge behind center.
The 6-0, 180-pound junior watched the fourth quarter of most Dragon games this season from the bench, but came up big when his team needed him most. Riley threw and ran for 340 yards and five touchdowns in his varsity debut - a 49-13 win over Lake Highlands - and helped turn a highly-anticipated out-of-state showdown with Evangel Christian, La., into a laugher by throwing for 211 yards and three touchdowns.in the first half.
Against Euless Trinity in late November - a game played in front of over 46,000 fans at Texas Stadium - Dodge threw for 331 yards and led a game-winning drive to keep Carroll's streak alive and help them advance through the rugged 5A playoffs.
And Saturday, with Southlake Carroll trailing by eight at halftime, Dodge responded with three second-half touchdown passes to spark a Dragon rally. He finished with 303 yards, cementing his status as the 2006 MaxPreps National Player of the Year.
While Todd Dodge will move on to UNT in Denton, the 5A ranks in Texas won't be so lucky. Riley will be back at Southlake Carroll for his senior season.