Carthage's performed very well through most of Friday's Class 4A Division I state quarterfinal game, but at this level of the postseason every mistake has the potential of opening Pandora's box.

The Bulldogs' botched kickoff return immediately after Silsbee clawed back to make it a one-possession game in the fourth quarter could have been the turning point. Senior defensive end Jarrod McLin ensured that it wasn't.

The UTSA commitment recovered a fumble at the 15-yard line and barreled 75 yards to set up a huge Carthage touchdown. One that re-upped his team's strong grip on the game and helped it advance to the state semifinals for the sixth time in eight seasons.

McLin is the ETSN.fm + Dairy Queen Defensive Player of the Week with that fumble recovery, a second recovery the next drive to put the game away, two sacks and 10 tackles overall.

Silsbee, down 49-34, had one more chance with adequate time remaining to mount a comeback. McLin ruined that opportunity with a sack and strip, which helped running back Ravodney Hardy put the game on a 2-yard run for a 56-34 lead under the midway mark of the final period.

This wasn't McLin's first time to play hero for the Bulldogs. Just last week, he recorded two timely takeaways against Navasota that otherwise probably would have allowed that team to continue defending its 2014 Class 4A Division I state championship.

Instead, it's Carthage now two victories away from a fourth state championship with head coach Scott Surratt.

The Bulldogs will face Waco La Vega at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Garland's Homer B. Johnson Stadium in the state semifinal round.

McLin will start that contest with 113 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, five sacks, four fumble recoveries, one interception and more than 33 quarterback pressures through 14 games.

ETSN.fm/Dairy Queen Defensive Players of the Week