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UIL notebook: Trick play, honoring fallen teammate highlight victories

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By Ben Baby

ARLINGTON — One of the biggest plays in Argyle’s 38-33 win against Fairfield in the Class 3A Division II state championship game was installed into the playbook on Aug. 6, a day after teams were allowed to practice this season.

On Argyle’s first drive of the first half, senior Ian Sadler opted not to punt the ball. Instead he rolled to his left and ran for 41 yards, putting the Eagles 4 yards away from the opposing goal line. Sadler scored on the next play to tie the game at 24-24 with 7:22 left in the third quarter.

It was one of his four total touchdowns on the game.

All Argyle head coach Todd Rodgers had to do was look at his star player and let him make the call. Rodgers said Fairfield was in a free-wheeling zone, and all he had to do was call the punt team over and let them know the potential to fool the defense was there.

“He [Sadler] did it a couple of times as a junior,” Rodgers said. “I think he’s actually 100 percent on that. One time it was by one inch, but it worked to our favor. ... For the punt team to go out there and to fake a punt, it’s very deflating to a football team emotionally.”

Wildcats honor Maki in win

Throughout the season, “State for Nate” was a saying that resonated at Guyer following the death of teammate Nate Maki.

The saying was fulfilled in the Wildcats’ 31-14 win against San Antonio Northside Brennan in the Class 4A Division I state championship game, as they picked up back-to-back state championships.

“I can’t even describe it,” senior Jonathan Pershall said. “That was our motive the whole year, to win it for Nate, and we came out here and did it. I can’t be more proud of our team.”

Maki was killed in an accidental shooting during Labor Day weekend, the week Guyer played Colleyville Heritage.

Some players wore his number 33 on their eye-black. Other students had his number on their shirts, while every player had a black decal of his number on their helmets.

“After the Colleyville Heritage game, we let Nate rest a little bit but we brought him back out this week,” Guyer head coach John Walsh said. “We had heavy hearts, for sure.”

Maki started last season at fullback and would have started this season in Guyer’s opener against Cedar Hill, but he was injured and missed the contest.

Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard said he was happy with how he finished his career.

“I’m very excited with the way we all did this with the seniors, and mostly for Nate Maki,” Heard said. “It was mostly for Nate Maki.”

As the seconds ticked down, Guyer fans chanted the saying that became a motivation for the team all season. The chant resonated throughout AT&T Stadium before Guyer celebrated its state title.

“I didn’t hear it, but I’m sure it sounded great,” Walsh said.

Hedlund finalizes national field goal record

For weeks, Argyle senior kicker Cole Hedlund owned the national record for most career field goals made. He finalized his record with a 44-yard field goal with 10:22 left in the first half.

Hedlund, an Arkansas pledge, finished his career with 56 field goals. Hedlund connected on 24 field goals this season, one shy of the national record he set as a sophomore in 2011 for most made in a single season.

He set the national record for most career field goals made with five field goals in Argyle’s bi-district playoff win against Krum.

Argyle gets key turnovers early

In the first quarter, Argyle’s defense picked up where it left off last week against Graham.

After five interceptions last week in the 3A state semifinal against the Steers, the Eagles started the game with key interceptions of Fairfield senior quarterback Jacob Gallegos.

Sophomore defensive back Drew Estrada and senior defensive back Connor Wilson each intercepted Gallegos in the first half, as Argyle turned them into 10 first-half points.

The Eagles forced 15 turnovers in six playoff games.

Guyer ground attack too much for Brennan

By the end of the game, Guyer’s rushing attack took advantage of a weary Brennan defense that surrendered two long touchdown runs in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats racked up 128 rushing yards in the second half, including a 28-yard touchdown run by Heard. Senior running back D.J. Breedlove sealed the win with a 33-yard touchdown run with 2:42 left, capping the back-to-back titles.

“I could tell they were getting tired around the second quarter, bending over tired,” Breedlove said. “We knew we had to take over, and we just started making bigger plays from there."