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Football: Guyer aiming for bounce-back performance against Wylie

Not many things went Guyer's way in last week's 45-7 loss to No. 1 Allen.

Coach John Walsh was heated for the first time this season when talking to his team after a game, as the Wildcats (4-3, 2-2 District 6-6A) missed several opportunities to hang with the Eagles.

With a showdown against Wylie (3-4, 2-2) looming Friday, Walsh says the message resonated with his team.

"They responded extremely well," Walsh said. "We didn't lose any confidence in the loss, and we'll be better because of the things that happened."

The Pirates are coming off a 34-3 win over Plano that sent shockwaves through District 6-6A, as Wylie was able to contain the high-powered offense that scored five times in three plays or fewer against Guyer four weeks ago.

Plano's Kyron Cumby, who had 274 total yards and four touchdowns against the Wildcats, managed just 106 yards and was kept out of the end zone last week.

"Wylie is rolling. Plano didn't score a touchdown, and that catches my attention," Walsh said. "They play good assignment football and tackled well in open space. [Cumby] didn't have room to break free like he did against us."

While Wylie forced Plano out of its game plan, Guyer enters the week looking to do the same thing it's done all season on the offensive side of the ball. Allen joined DeSoto as the only teams to hold the Wildcats under 300 yards rushing, and Guyer has gotten several people involved on the ground.

Sophomore Kaedric Cobbs (879 yards, 17 TDs) remains Guyer's workhorse, but senior Devin Jefferson (302 yards, two TDs) and sophomore Harrison Bohannon (213 total yards, four TDs) have important roles as well.

When defenses focus too much on Guyer's running backs, senior quarterback Luke Stillwell has shown the ability to impact the game with his legs. Stillwell is the team's second-leading rusher with 473 yards and three TDs.

"It's going to take all our guns from here on out to make it work," Walsh said. "You hope to have a quarterback who can make a defense pay for selling out to stop a running back, and Luke has proven that he can do that."

Defensively, injuries continue to pile up for the Wildcats, as starting defensive end Chad Aune suffered a shoulder injury against Allen that will keep him out the rest of the year.

Aune joins cornerback Kaleel Rhoden as Guyer starters who aren't available against Wylie, putting even more on the shoulders of experienced defensive leaders like Dylan Bourey (52 tackles, nine for loss, five sacks), Arian Bhat (21 tackles, eight for loss, three sacks), DeRay Darthard (18 tackles, two interceptions) and Tre Turner (24 tackles).

"In 6A ball, coaches are good — it doesn't take long for them to figure out someone is out and try to expose them," Walsh said. "Our seniors, the returning starters and the guys who have played a lot this year need to step up and have a really good game."

Guyer will go into Friday night tied with Wylie for the fourth and final playoff spot out of 6-6A, with Allen, McKinney Boyd and McKinney leading the pack. With games against Boyd and Plano West still to come, the Wildcats' current position isn't a concern for Walsh. 

"We know we're going to finish second in district and move on to the playoffs," Walsh said. "We don't worry about where we are now. We focus on taking care of each week so we know where we're going to end up."

What you need to know

Matchup: Guyer vs. Wylie
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Wylie Stadium
What happened last year: Guyer won 35-23

Brady Keane — Guyer 35, Wylie 31

Steve Gamel — Guyer 35, Wylie 21 

Jimmy Isbell — Guyer 38, Wylie 27 

Clay Massey — Guyer 45, Wylie 28