For the first time all season, the Guyer Wildcats did not score the game’s first points, and for the first time in ages, the Wildcats were shut out in the first quarter of Thursday’s game against Trophy Club Byron Nelson.
And there were two safeties that went in Guyer’s favor.
That was just the beginning of the strange aspects of Thursday’s game, which Guyer went on to win in a 53-28 rout to remain perfect in District 5-4A play.
“I knew eventually we wouldn’t come out and score 30 points in the first quarter,” Guyer head coach John Walsh said. “I didn’t like having a goose egg in the first quarter and I didn’t like that we came out and were down 7-0, but I did like that it wasn’t in our favor and it was 30-14 at halftime.”
After the scoreless first quarter, both teams woke up offensively in the second quarter, and the Wildcats (4-2, 3-0 district) caught the game’s biggest break with less than six minutes to play in the first half.
Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard found Preston Thrailkill for a 22-yard touchdown to give Guyer its first lead of the game, and on the ensuing kickoff a lapse of judgment cost the Bobcats (4-2, 1-2).
Nelson returner Drew Dehaven tried to catch the ball inside the 5-yard line, but the ball slipped through his hands and into the end zone. He frantically chased after the ball and then seemed confused as to whether he could bring the ball out. By rule, if the ball is muffed, it can go into the end zone for a touchback.
Instead, Dehaven took one step out of the end zone, then went back in the end zone to kneel the ball for a touchback. That’s when he was tackled by Guyer’s Mason McKnight and John Schilleci for a safety to give the Wildcats nine points in seven seconds of game time. It also resulted in the Wildcats getting the ball at midfield after the safety kickoff.
Seven plays later, the Wildcats were on the board again after Richard Whitaker scored from a yard out to put Guyer up 23-7 just five minutes after the Wildcats tied the game at 7 on a 21-yard scoring run from Heard.
“That was the biggest play of the game,” Heard said of the odd safety. “When that ball went back I think everyone just got calm. After we got that safety, we decided to play Guyer football.”
That meant run the ball, and run it some more — with great success.
In all, the Wildcats rolled up 354 yards on 50 rushing attempts while throwing for another 173 yards. They were led by Heard, who finished the night with 20 carries for 173 yards and two rushing touchdowns. He threw for 157 yards on 13-of-19 passing and tossed two touchdown passes. Running back Richard Whitaker, who took on a more extended role with an ankle injury to starter D.J. Breedlove, finished the night with 131 total yards, three rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown.
“We can run the football,” Walsh said. “We’re always going to be able to run. You can talk about Jerrod and Richard and whoever, but our offensive line is good. It’s no secret why those guys have success, and it’s because we’re about seven-deep there. If you count our tight ends, we’re nine-deep.”
The offensive line was bolstered by the return of two starters who have missed the past two games in left guard Hunter Krastin and left tackle Patrick Morris, who has committed to TCU.
Despite the fact that Morris had not played in a game since Guyer’s 54-28 loss to Colleyville Heritage, he said he was happy with the way his unit dominated Nelson, perceived to be the strongest, most physical team Guyer has faced so far in district play.
“We’re going to try to dominate everyone we go up against,” Morris said. “We’re going to try to put up 50 every time.”
If there was a wart on Guyer’s performance, it was the usually stout run defense that gave up 283 yards on the ground to Nelson, led by star running back Tylor Blake, who finished with 217 yards on 20 carries.
“I thought Byron Nelson ran the ball well,” Walsh said. “We thought on film they were a pretty good running offense. We have to get tougher up there. They ran for way too much tonight for our liking.”
The game’s other safety came with 6:15 remaining in the third quarter as Guyer led 37-21.
After a Heard touchdown run, the Wildcats’ defense pitched a three-and-out and forced a Bobcat punt from Nelson’s 27-yard line.
The punt went straight up and was pushed back by a stiff wind, hit the ground at about the Nelson 20-yard line and rolled back into the end zone, where a Bobcat fell on the ball for the second Guyer safety.
“It was very weird, and from the grace of God those balls bounced our way and those safeties really helped us,” Heard said.
Guyer once again converted the short field from the resulting kickoff into points when Whitaker scored from nine yards out to give Guyer 16 more points in a span of less than four minutes.
“When you put points on the board like that, it’s pretty hard to lose a game,” Heard said.
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is email@example.com .
Guyer 53, Trophy Club Byron Nelson 28
BN — Blake Clinton 2 run (Trenton Shank kick), 11:51
G — Jerrod Heard 21 run (Brad Grems kick), 8:50
G — Preston Thrailkill 22 pass from Heard (Grems kick), 5:41
G — safety, Drew Dehaven tackled in end zone, 5:34
G — Richard Whitaker 1 run (Grems kick), 3:32
BN — Tylor Blake 1 run (Shank kick), 2:17
G — Whitaker 10 pass from Heard (Grems kick), 0:32
BN — Blake 25 run (Shank kick), 10:14
G — Heard 17 run (Grems kick), 7:49
G — safety, 6:15
G — Whitaker 9 run (Grems kick), 4:02
G — Whitaker 5 run (Grems kick), 9:56
BN — Blake 21 run (Shank kick), 7:27
RUSHING: BN — Tylor Blake 20-217, Courtney Miles 9-31, Blake Clinton 5-21, Drew Dehaven 2-14, Lance Honeycutt 1-0. G — Jerrod Heard 20-173, D.J. Breedlove 5-26, Richard Whitaker 13-75, Nate Maki 3-21, Josh Harris 1-4, David Haynes 5-60, Connor McCown 2-12, TEAM 1-(-17).
PASSING: BN — Blake Clinton 11-21-1-112. G — Jerrod Heard 13-19-0-157, David Haynes 2-2-0-16.
RECEIVING: BN — Jordan Diamond 3-51, Courtney Miles 2-(-4), Brandon Flieschmann 1-6, Chad Loving 2-23, Hayden Sanders 1-19, Tylor Blake 1-2, Deshaun Diggs 1-15. G — Ellis Jefferson 1-7, Preston Thrailkill 3-64, Josh Harris 4-32, Richard Whitaker 5-56, Tyler Smith 1-9, Connor McCown 1-5.