When Guyer has needed a big play this season, it put its faith in a talented offensive line that has come through time and time again.
In the biggest moment of the year, the Wildcats again turned to senior John Lanz and the rest of the offensive front to put the team into the end zone. Trailing by four late in the fourth quarter of Friday night's game against Trophy Club Nelson, Guyer's Luke Stillwell dropped back and then took off behind Lanz, heading for the end zone.
Stillwell extended his body and dove for the pylon, sending the Guyer sideline into a wild celebration — it appeared as though the Wildcats had pulled ahead of Nelson with less than 30 seconds to go.
But the celebration was short lived.
Stillwell turned around to see a penalty on the 15-yard line, negating the touchdown run and forcing Guyer into a near-impossible fourth-and-long situation.
A last-second desperation heave fell short of the end zone, and the Wildcats lost to Nelson 28-24 in a Class 6A bi-district playoff game.
"They made a holding call on our receiver," Guyer coach John Walsh said. "In 23 years of coaching, I've never had a flag end the game for us. It happened tonight — there's always a first."
Guyer was forced to play from behind with 2:48 to go in the fourth quarter when Nelson quarterback Nick Santini found a wide-open Chase McClean all alone for a 46-yard go-ahead touchdown.
The pass was Santini's second long touchdown of the night, as the Bobcats were able to find holes in the Guyer secondary and exploit them.
The Wildcats responded with a long drive that put the team in position to win the game — and they did so without star sophomore running back Kaedric Cobbs.
After rushing for more than 80 yards and two touchdowns to give Guyer a 14-0 lead in the first half, Cobbs was forced to the sideline midway through the second quarter after injuring his shoulder and suffering an asthma attack.
Cobbs tried to return to the field in the second half, but the Wildcats were forced to rely on Stillwell and Devin Jefferson in the backfield. Stillwell led the team with 132 yards and a touchdown while Jefferson finished with 60 yards on 11 carries.
"It was extremely difficult for me because you just can't get back out on the field," Cobbs said. "You feel helpless because there's really nothing you can do. You just have to pray and hope for the best — things just didn't go our way tonight."
Nelson had a chance to put the game away early in the fourth quarter before things got crazy, but the Wildcats defense came up with a big stop when De'Ray Darthard intercepted a Santini pass and returned it deep into Bobcat territory.
Guyer capitalized on the turnover as Stillwell scored from 13 yards out to give the Wildcats a 24-21 lead.
But Guyer was penalized too many times down the stretch and had a few key drops that killed the team's chances. The Wildcats had nine penalties for 95 yards while Nelson was penalized just two times for 15 yards in the game.
"I just told our kids that this game is so good to us and gives us so many good feelings," Walsh said. "But on any given night, it can be cruel - and tonight, it was cruel to us."
The loss marks the first time in program history the Wildcats have lost a playoff game in the first round. The Bobcats advance to face Waco Midway at 8 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium while Guyer's season comes to a disappointing end.
"It was just heart wrenching," Lanz said. "Our entire offensive line is a family, and all seven of us are seniors— it's really just a heartbreaking moment."
Trophy Club Nelson 28, Guyer 24
DG -- Kaedric Cobbs 3 run (Cole Schroeder kick)
DG -- Kaedric Cobbs 12 run (Cole Schroeder kick)
TN -- Noe Diawaku 43 pass from Nick Santini (Fuller Shurtz kick)
TN -- Jaired Chamberlain 3 run (Fuller Shurtz kick)
TN -- Jordan Joiner 73 run (Fuller Shurtz kick)
DG -- Cole Schroeder 27 FG
DG -- Luke Stillwell 13 run (Cole Schroeder kick)
TN -- Chase McLean 46 pass from Nick Santini (Fuller Shurtz kick)
Rushing -- DG: Luke Stillwell 22-132, Kaedric Cobbs 16-90, Devin Jefferson 11-60, H Bohannon 1-8, Seth Meador 1-3, Trace Jewell 1-1, TN: Jordan Joiner 16-132, Dylan Bell 6-28, Nick Santini 6-13, Jaired Chamberlain 1-3.
Passing -- DG: Luke Stillwell 4-16-0-74, TN: Nick Santini 11-18-1-173.
Receiving -- DG: Seth Meador 4-74, TN: Noe Diawaku 5-87, Chase McLean 2-50, Calvin Wiggins 3-27, Mance Kabongo 1-9.