Guyer coach John Walsh likes to use Halloween as a point to measure where his team stands late in the season each year.
At times this year, the Wildcats (5-3, 3-2 district) have played like a team capable of making an extended run in the playoffs. But inconsistency and mistakes have plagued Guyer through eight games as they sit in a three-way tie for second place in District 6-6A.
With Oct. 31 in the books, Walsh said the biggest key to building momentum in the team's final two games is playing without a fear of making mistakes.
"We still have some areas that we're going to have to get better at to make a good run," Walsh said. "I think we have some guys who aren't sure of themselves that need to just go out there and play. Let the results be the results, but play fearless."
The Wildcats will look to embrace that mindset Friday against McKinney Boyd at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in their final home game. Boyd (4-4, 3-2) is coming off a 17-5 loss to Plano that snapped a three-game winning streak.
After last week's 28-24 come-from-behind win over Wylie, Guyer remains in a favorable position to graboneof the district's final three playoff spots. No. 1 Allen is the only team that has clinched a berth in the postseason, while Plano West (0-8, 0-5) is the only team eliminated from contention.
The Wildcats can clinch their spot this week with a victory and a West win over Plano.
"It's all good and well that it's senior night and the last home game at C.H. Collins before the playoffs," Walsh said. "But we'd better take care ofbusiness, because McKinney Boyd is trying to fight to get in the playoffs too."
Guyer needed a late touchdown from running back Kaedric Cobbs and a turnover with under a minute to go to seal the win over Wylie, and it will be looking to take control of Friday's game before the final quarter.
The Wildcats have trailed at halftime in five of their eight games, including three of their five district contests.
The key will be improving in the secondary, as Guyer has surrendered 10 passing touchdowns in the last four games. The defense has relied heavily on leaders in the front seven, like Arian Bhat, Tre Turner, Dylan Bourey and Kenneth Dunson, to compensate for the struggles on the back end.
Boyd doesn't throw the ball particularlywell and enters the week with as many interceptions (nine) as touchdowns.
"They're pretty balanced," Walsh said of Boyd. "We're going to have to lean on those guys who are senior leaders and coaches on the field. To see them come up and make plays the way they have, and set the example of how you can win, is huge for us."
There is no doubt what Guyer's offensive game plan will be, as the offensive line continues to open big holes for Cobbs, who has 1,106 yards and 20 touchdowns this season. But Walsh continues to place an emphasis on taking care of the ball, and the Wildcats had a fumble in the red zone late against Wylie.
Guyer has lost eight fumbles in the last five games and will be looking to make some progress against Boyd.
"We just have to take care of the ball," Walsh said. "I think we're a team where every possession matters. You don't want to lose possession just because you didn't hang on to the ball. Turnovers get you eliminated, and we're getting close to elimination games."
What you need to know
Matchup: Guyer vs. McKinney Boyd
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: C.H. Collins Athletic Complex
What happened last year: Guyer won 37-0
Brady Keane -- Guyer 42, McKinney Boyd 17
Steve Gamel -- Guyer 40, McKinney Boyd 28
Jimmy Isbell -- Guyer 35, McKinney Boyd 21
Clay Massey -- Guyer 42, McKinney Boyd 28