First-half miscues put Carrollton in an early hole; Kell quarterback Cam Rosendahl and a stout effort from the Longhorns defense made sure the Trojans never climbed out of it.
Kell shook off some early sluggishness and withstood Carrollton's late push to claim a 20-7 win in the Corky Kell Classic on Saturday morning at McEachern High School.
Rosendahl finished 16 of 22 for 180 passing yards while running for 81 yards on 13 carries. He steadied the Longhorns after a shaky start and helped Kell dominate time of possession (33:18-14:36), keeping Carrollton's offensive weapons cooling on the sideline.
After managing only 37 yards of offense in the first quarter, the Longhorns piled up 195 before the half and finished with 366 total yards (186 rushing, 180 passing).
Kell's first two scores resulted directly from Carrollton miscues and strong special teams play. The first, a Bryson Armstrong fumble recovery in the end zone, was set up by a 54-yard punt by Julien Chang that bounced away from the Carrollton return man and bounded out of bounds inches from the pylon.
Perhaps most crucial, though, was Kell's drive late in the first half. Rosendahl led the Longhorns into scoring position, and as time expired, Itabari Mason recovered his own fumble in the end zone, giving Kell a 17-0 advantage at the half.
Turnovers and untimely penalties prevented Carrollton from finding any offensive rhythm through most of the game and spoiled the debut of new coach Ed Dudley, who came over from Ware County following the departure of Rayvan Teague.
The Trojans were on the move well into Kell territory in the first quarter when an errant shotgun snap set them back 16 yards and a sack by the Longhorns' Nicholas Woghiren thwarted the drive.
Carrollton didn't threaten again until the third quarter when Jarvis Terrell capped a grinding, ground-heavy drive with a 38-yard scoring run.
Terrell led the Trojans with 81 yards on 15 carries; Carrollton finished with 205 yards of total offense.
Mason led all rushers with 90 yards on 15 carries; Armstrong had nine catches for 107 yards and led Kell with 6.5 tackles.