Forget the NFL playoffs or the college national championship game as the signature football matchup, in the eyes of some in the state of Texas this week.
Nope. All that might pale in comparison to what’s being dubbed “The Dodge Bowl.”
It is quite a story with a background drenched in the football journey of one of the best father-son duos to ever come through the state’s rich prep football history.
Riley Dodge helped win three straight 5A state titles as a quarterback for Southlake Carroll High School in suburban Dallas from 2004-06, with his father Todd being the head coach of the team.
After initially committing to play in college for powerhouse Texas coming out of high school, Riley Dodge in 2008 decided to play for North Texas because Todd had taken the head coaching job there, and he wanted to keep playing for his father.
Fast forward to this past weekend, and Southlake Carroll, now coached by Riley, advanced to the state championship again with a 34-27 win over Duncanville.
The next opponent will be Austin Westlake, and guess who the coach of that team happens to be?
None other than Todd Dodge.
On Dec. 16, 2005, Southlake Carroll head coach Todd Dodge celebrated a state championship win his son, Riley, the team’s starting QB.— Joseph Hoyt (@JoeJHoyt) January 9, 2021
Next Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, Riley will coach against his Dad, now the head coach of Austin Westlake, in the state title.
Wow. #txhsfb pic.twitter.com/TKksqD8gzv
To heck with Father’s Day in June.
The real Father’s Day for Riley and Todd Dodge might come at 7 p.m. Saturday when Southlake Carroll and Austin Westlake meet for the Class 6A Division I state title at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The teams were scheduled to meet in the first game of the year, but that was canceled due to the pandemic.
Riley actually wasn’t on the field for Southlake Carroll’s win over Duncanville because he tested positive last Tuesday for COVID-19 and had to sit out due to protocols, although he communicated with his team via Zoom throughout the week leading up to the game, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Odds are good he can be back on the sideline for Saturday, and compete for a state championship against the same man he won three titles with when he was in high school.
The Dodges were so successful that Sports Illustrated featured them in a 2007 article, which was Riley’s senior year and Todd’s first at North Texas.
Todd’s tenure at North Texas didn’t go well, and he was fired in 2010 after compiling a 6-37 record.
Following a stint as quarterbacks coach at the University of Pittsburgh in 2011, Todd returned to the high school football coaching ranks in Texas.
He has been at Austin Westlake since 2014, leading that school to the 6A Division II state championship in 2019.
Riley spent two years at North Texas and then transferred to McNeese State following Todd’s firing.
In 2015, he began a high school coaching career and was named the head coach at Southlake Carroll in 2018.
Now, he’ll try to win his first state football title as a coach by beating the man he’s spent his entire life in football with.
Thanksgiving meals may never be same.