Guyer coach John Walsh knows he and his staff will be relying on an experienced defense early in the 2014 season while a new quarterback and an entirely new offensive line are thrown into the varsity fire.
But on Thursday night in Guyer’s spring game, fans caught a glimpse of what the new-look offense could be capable of as the Wildcats make the jump to Class 6A after winning two straight Class 4A Division I state championships.
“I think what showed up offensively is the guys we have back,” Walsh said. “The receivers, you can just throw it up and they’re getting it and making big plays. You can tell they’ve been in some big games. [Running back] Anthony [Taylor] also showed his explosion. Where we have experience, you can see it, whether it’s on offense or defense.
“Offense has never been a problem here, and it’s not going to be a problem next year.”
Projected starting quarterback Shawn Robinson, a 14-year-old sophomore-to-be, showed some flashes of the brilliance.
He ran for an 80-yard touchdown and completed eight of 18 pass attempts for 176 yards and two touchdowns, looking at times like former three-year starter Jerrod Heard, who is headed to Texas this summer with a chance to win the quarterback job as a freshman. Robinson’s touchdown passes were a catch-and-run to Taylor, who added an 83-yard scoring run, and a 35-yard throw to David Haynes off his back foot.
“It’s hard because we can’t call to his abilities [in the spring game],” Walsh said. “We’re blowing the whistle and it’d probably be a 35-yard gain. It’s hard. He was behind on some inside cuts, but I think he did fine for his first time out.”
Backup quarterback David Moore, a move-in from Prosper, proved that Guyer might have the deepest group of quarterbacks in the state, considering Nebraska pledge Kevin Dillman has been sidelined all spring with a lingering Achilles tendon injury that he suffered last season. Moore was 13-for-24 for 238 yards and three touchdowns, but he threw four interceptions.
“What I liked about him is he had command of his huddle,” Walsh said. “He threw off his back foot a few times trying to force some balls, but I don’t think either of those guys would’ve thrown some of those balls if the game meant something. We give them some freedom today to have some fun, and that’s what they did.”
Another player who was in the quarterback derby early in the spring was Haynes, who was Heard’s backup a year ago while leading Guyer in receptions as a wide receiver.
Haynes was moved back to receiver to fortify that group early in the spring. He finished the night with four grabs for 97 yards and a score. Alex Honey had four catches for 134 yards and a 70-yard touchdown from Moore, and Adam Scott added five catches for 75 yards and a touchdown from Moore.
“It’s really exciting,” Haynes said. “We have a lot of great quarterbacks that came in. They’re about to do work, and so am I. It’s just a good thing all around.”
The offense likely will look different when it takes the field against two-time reigning Class 5A Division I champion Allen on Aug. 29 at Apogee Stadium, and Walsh said he knows he’s going to have to rely on a defense that returns eight starters from a championship defense. Four of those starters didn’t play in Thursday’s scrimmage but should be at full health come August.
The Wildcats will return three starting defensive linemen from last season and their entire secondary. Cornerback DeMarcus Owens had one of the day’s four interceptions and showed how hard it could be for opponents to move the ball on Guyer’s full-strength defense.
“We’re going into the season knowing we have a defense that can win a 6A title, and we just have to bring that offense along,” Walsh said.
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.