FLOWER MOUND — For the past two weeks, Guyer head coach John Walsh has wondered what he could do to better prepare his team to play in the second half of two blowout losses, in which the Wildcats were either in the lead or in a tight ballgame at halftime.
The solution, he found, was to do nothing at all.
Walsh literally excused himself from the halftime speech and let senior offensive tackle Patrick Morris get his teammates ready to play in the second half.
“The passion he shows for this team is huge,” junior running back D.J. Breedlove said of Morris. “He has put a lot into this program. He’s one of our leaders, and we listen to him. Whatever he says, it goes.”
Breedlove would not reveal what Morris said at the half, but whatever it was worked as Guyer dominated in the second half using its ground game and rolled to a 27-14 win over Flower Mound Marcus — the Wildcats’ first win of the season — in its final nondistrict tuneup.
The Wildcats (1-2) had just over 100 rushing yards at halftime before Walsh decided to can the passing game in the second half and let his running backs and quarterback take over with their feet.
Breedlove finished with 121 yards on 15 carries, while senior Richard Whitaker carried the ball 18 times for 117 yards and a fourth-quarter score.
Quarterback Jerrod Heard finished with 98 rushing yards and a touchdown run to give Guyer 338 rushing yards.
“I probably mixed it up a little too much in the first half,” Walsh said of his play-calling. “We felt like the running game was going well, so at halftime we just said let’s put the pass on the shelf this week and run the football. It worked.”
Breedlove said he and Whitaker feed off each other in the running game and give opposing defenses a lot to handle with Whitaker, the long strider, and Breedlove, the shiftier, more powerful runner.
“If they hold on to the passing game, then here comes the run game,” Breedlove said. “We have a good [offensive line], led by Patrick Morris and Ryan Felan, so we just run behind them. We can eat up a lot of yards.
“We motivate each other. This is a brotherhood. We’re the rush crew. If I’m feeling down, [Whitaker] brings me up and vice versa.”
While the offense performed for an entire game for the first time all season, Walsh was equally, if not more, proud of his young defense, which returned only two starters from last year’s squad and had tough games the past two weeks, giving up 108 total points to Cedar Hill and Colleyville Heritage.
Marcus (0-3), known for its power rushing attack and play-action passing game, had trouble moving the ball against Guyer, finishing the night with only 69 yards rushing and 181 total yards.
The Wildcats also forced three turnovers — two on defense on interceptions by Terrell Singleton and Tavi Sanches and one on special teams.
“I’m real proud of them,” Walsh said. “We knew it’d be a challenge up front. I was real curious how we’d handle it. I’m extremely proud. We created turnovers and the play-action didn’t hurt us too much. Even when they caught the ball, we were on them. I think we grew up tonight.”
With a week off before opening District 5-4A play against Azle on Sept. 27, the Wildcats can now go into the break with a win instead of a possible 0-3 start, which they haven’t had since the 2007 season.
“Putting that stretch together, I knew we’d likely be 2-1, could be 1-2, or could even be 0-3,” Walsh said. “The Cedar Hill game we probably couldn’t have won, but we felt like we let one go last week [against Colleyville Heritage]. To get this win heading into district play is big for us.”
Even still, some programs might be looking at Guyer as a program on a downward trend after starting the season as the top-ranked team in The Associated Press Class 4A state poll, dropping to No. 7 after its first loss and falling out of the poll last week while playing three powerful 5A programs to start the season.
Walsh said he won’t worry about what other people assume, but he did issue a bit of a warning.
“We keep Guyer business Guyer business and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks,” Walsh said, “but please, please look at 1-2 and underestimate us.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is email@example.com .
Guyer 27, Flower Mound Marcus 14
G — Jerrod Heard 16 run (Brad Grems kick), 3:22
G — Preston Thrailkill 5 pass from Heard (Grems kick), 8:14
M — Cade Erwin 7 run (Tyler Mouton kick), 2:15
G — Grems 34 field goal, 6:02
M — Logan Sepanek 33 pass from Erwin (Mouton kick), 5:05
G — Richard Whitaker 1 run (Grems kick), 8:24
G — Grems 20 field goal, 3:47
Rushing — G: Jerrod Heard 15-98, D.J. Breedlove 15-121, Richard Whitaker 18-117, Nate Maki 1-2, Ellis Jefferson 1-0. M – Mark Demery 6-12, Cade Erwin 8-24, Ryan Vaughn 1-6, Wyatt Verret 10-41, TEAM 1-(-14).
Passing — G: Jerrod Heard 8-17-1-64. M – Cade Erwin 2-4-0-46, Ryan Vaughn 8-18-2-66.
Receiving — G: D.J. Breedlove 4-31, Preston Thrailkill 2-18, Adam Scott 1-5, Nate Maki 1-6. M – Logan Sepanek 5-61, Cade Erwin 4-38, Cole Rowley 1-13.