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Football: Wildcats answer call of spring

Profile image for By Adam Boedeker / Staff Writer
By Adam Boedeker / Staff Writer

There are a couple of big questions the Guyer football coaching staff has been looking to answer this spring, but for the most part, the 2014 edition of the Wildcats will look pretty similar to the one that defended its Class 4A Division I state championship at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium in December.

The annual spring game will be held today at Guyer with a 6 p.m. start, and fans will get a glimpse of the team that will open the 2014 season against two-time defending Class 5A Division I state champion Allen at UNT’s Apogee Stadium on Aug. 29.

“I think you go into spring ball with a lot of questions, and I think a lot of those are gone now,” Guyer head coach John Walsh said. “We know who’s stepped up to be our offensive line and be that defensive end and those linebackers. I think we’ve answered a lot of questions.”

The biggest void from last year’s squad is perhaps the most important unit on any football team — the five guys on the offensive line. Guyer is looking to replace five starters and the projected offensive line for 2014 has just a few varsity starts under its belt.

Center Gunnar Chance started one game a year ago because of injury, and right tackle Max Herbig made a few starts, but other than that, the season opener will have three players up front making their first varsity start, including left tackle Xavier Brown, left guard Austin Colpean and right guard Cesar Vidana.

“I was concerned about our offensive line coming into spring ball,” Walsh said. “I’m nowhere near not concerned, but I’m less so now. I’m proud of the way their strength numbers have come up, and they’ve played well this spring.

“They’re all new. We lost five, and [defensive tackles] Carl [Thompson] and Isiah [Correa] aren’t going out there, so I haven’t seen them against a varsity defensive line yet.”

Behind that line will be someone other than Texas-bound Jerrod Heard for the first time since 2010, but Walsh is plenty confident in his options at quarterback.

Shawn Robinson, who will be a sophomore next year and started as a freshman for Saginaw Chisholm Trail in 2013, is projected as the starter and is projected as one of the top quarterbacks in the class of 2017. Right behind him is junior-to-be David Moore, who transferred from Prosper. Not currently in the equation is Nebraska pledge Kevin Dillman, a transfer from California via Sweden, who is rehabbing a torn Achilles’ tendon suffered last season and has yet to fully recover.

David Haynes, last year’s backup, was also a starting receiver last season. He was moved to wide receiver full time earlier in the spring.

“It’s never easy at the QB position because you only get to play one,” Walsh said. “We’re not into playing two guys. It’s been nice watching two guys compete at it right now. Both [Robinson and Moore] are really talented. We won’t play two quarterbacks, but I can guarantee you both will have a chance to play. The X-factor is Kevin Dillman. We’re hoping he gets healthy and can compete for some playing time.

“The beauty of it is they leave their egos at home. They rally for each other. They’re coaching each other. If one guy makes a great play the rest of the guys are fired up. It’s been healthy — as healthy as it can possibly be.”

As uncertain as some parts of the offense might be heading into the summer, the defense is a state championship-caliber unit, as evidenced by its eight returning starters from last year’s defense. It is led by Thompson and cornerback Trey Woods, who each have 32 starts under their belts.

Three starting defensive linemen return, as does the entire secondary, leaving Walsh full of confidence in his defense with the 2014 season on the horizon.

“We’re counting on some low-scoring ballgames,” Walsh said. “We have new quarterbacks in our system and a new offensive line; we’ll be slow to go offensively. We’ll end up being really, really good. But we’re going to be patient with it and lean on the defense early and let the offense come along.”

ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.