The start to Friday night's game between Guyer and Plano East looked eerily familiar.
The Wildcats again fumbled the ball on their opening possession, this time setting Plano East up inside the red zone just a few seconds into the game.
But the Guyer defense stood tall and forced a field goal, and the offense recovered much faster than it did a week ago as the Wildcats cruised to a 55-24 win.
"We didn't have each others back on offense and defense last week," Guyer coach John Walsh said. "We fumble the first play and then hold them to a field goal — that's progress. Forget the 55 points, we made progress in areas the stands can't see."
After the defense's big stand to open the game, running back Kaedric Cobbs picked up right where he left off against Plano and rushed for 183 yards and five touchdowns on 12 carries as the Wildcats' offensive line — headlined by TCU commit John Lanz — had its way with Plano East.
Cobbs now has 15 rushing touchdowns this season and has had at least four scores in three straight games.
"Every time I get the ball, the offensive line does a great job of opening holes," Cobbs said. "I can go 5 yards without getting touched. When that happens, you know you have the best O-line in the state. I've said that before, and I'll say it again."
Cobbs and the offensive line helped get the offense back into a rhythm. Quarterback Luke Stillwell, who rotated each series with sophomore Trace Jewell, responded well after the early fumble with a 21-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He finished the game with 137 total yards and one score.
Jewell, who Walsh said earned more playing time this week, also played well. He guided the offense down the field without a turnover and rushed for 42 yards with a touchdown.
"When I make it a two-quarterback system on a returning starter, that's not easy to do," Walsh said. "Only special people can cope with that, and Luke Stillwell is special. I thought the system worked fine — I don't like doing it, but I thought they both played well."
While the offense will grab the majority of the headlines, the Guyer defense stepped up and showed dramatic improvement after allowing five touchdown drives of three or fewer plays last week.
It started with the stand in the red zone to open the game, which ignited the Wildcats on both sides of the ball. Defensive lineman Arian Bhat, linebacker Dylan Bourey and linebacker De'Ray Darthard came up with big play after big play to keep the Plano East offense at bay.
The Panthers scored their only first-half touchdown on a 77-yard run from Trey Scott-Jones before reaching the end zone on a 27-yard pass from Brandon Mallory to Jalen Anderson and a 23-yard pass from Mallory to Braylon Henderson in the second half.
Bourey finished with 13 tackles, six tackles for loss and two sacks while Darthard returned a 28-yard fumble for a touchdown in the second half.
"After the game last week, it's really good our defense is where it's at," Bourey said. "I'm a leader on the defense, so coming up with all those tackles makes me feel good."
Guyer will travel to take on McKinney next week, looking to build on Friday's bounce-back win. McKinney beat Plano 24-21 and is 5-0 on the season.
"I speak on momentum all the time," Walsh said. "We have to ride this momentum and improve on some things. The McKinney Lions will be a force to be reckoned with."
Guyer 55, Plano East 24
PE -- Blair Zepeda 24 FG
DG -- Luke Stillwell 21 run (Cole Schroeder kick)
DG -- Kaedric Cobbs 1 run (run failed)
DG -- Kaedric Cobbs 4 run (Seth Meador run)
PE -- Trey Scott-Jones 77 run (Blair Zepeda kick)
DG -- Kaedric Cobbs 5 run (Cole Schroeder kick)
DG -- Kaedric Cobbs 48 run (Cole Schroeder kick)
PE -- Jalen Anderson 27 pass from Brandon Mallory (Blair Zepeda kick)
PE -- Braylon Henderson 23 pass from Brandon Mallory (Blair Zepeda kick)
DG -- Kaedric Cobbs 14 run (Cole Schroeder kick)
DG -- Trace Jewell 5 run (Cole Schroeder kick)
DG -- De'Ray Darthard 28 fumble return (kick blocked)
Rushing -- DG: Kaedric Cobbs 12-183, Devin Jefferson 10-69, Luke Stillwell 6-62, Trace Jewell 8-42, Seth Meador 2-24, H Bohannon 2-7, PE: Trey Scott-Jones 15-149, Johnny Cisnero 1-25, Jonathan Meadors 5-15, Trey Hunter 2-8, Brandon Mallory 9-6, Braylon Henderson 1-0, Reece Field 2--11.
Passing -- DG: Luke Stillwell 3-4-1-79, Trace Jewell 1-3-0--4, PE: Brandon Mallory 15-20-0-174, Reece Field 4-4-0-32.
Receiving -- DG: Cole Schroeder 2-70, Josh Nicholson 1-9, Seth Meador 1--4, PE: Josh Allison 3-58, Braylon Henderson 5-54, Jalen Anderson 4-46, Sam Moore 2-18, Deonte Johnson 2-10, Trey Scott-Jones 1-8, Joseph Carter 1-6, Nathan Spencer 1-6.