For a few minutes during Friday night’s game at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, it looked as if Guyer’s offense might have come out flat against a team still searching for its first district win.
The Wildcats (7-2, 6-0 District 5-4A) turned the ball over on downs the first time they had the ball after a nine-play drive stalled at the Wichita Falls 32-yard line.
From that point, Guyer’s offense hit on all cylinders, using its punishing ground game and quick, short passes from Jerrod Heard to lead the Wildcats to a 49-0 win over Wichita Falls and wrap up Guyer’s first outright district championship in the program’s seven-year history. The Wildcats scored on five consecutive drives to close out the first half after their opening drive stalled in Coyotes territory.
“We took the business approach all week long, and I thought the kids played that way,” Guyer head coach John Walsh said. “I didn’t like turning it over on downs on our first drive, but after that, we grinded it out. We didn’t call for big plays. We called for a lot of our base-run plays and our short game. I was pleased with how we executed.”
Guyer shared a three-way District 5-4A title in 2009, when it lost to Ryan, beat Lake Dallas and Lake Dallas beat Ryan.
But after the Wildcats’ blowout win Friday night, they can now claim the top seed out of 5-4A in the Class 4A Division I bracket. The Wildcats will face Saginaw in the bi-district round of the playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Justin’s Texan Stadium.
“We have a long-term goal to play Dec. 22 [in the 4A Division I state championship game] and win, but along the way there’s still goals to be had,” said Walsh, who has always downplayed the importance of district championships. “It’ll be our first outright district championship in the trophy case, so it’s special.”
Guyer, the No. 9 team in The Associated Press Class 4A state poll, got a performance from its defense that proved to be equally dominant to that of its offense.
The Coyotes (2-7, 0-6) managed only three first downs in the first half (one coming on a Guyer penalty) and seven first downs on the night with 126 total yards, including minus-14 on the ground. The Coyotes didn’t cross midfield until the final play of the third quarter, a drive that ended with a turnover on downs at the Guyer 14-yard line.
“We’ve been working hard, and our defense has grown and gotten better every week,” senior linebacker Terrell Singleton said. “It’s starting to show now. We’re putting it all together.”
Walsh said his unit has grown immensely since the beginning of the season, when the Wildcats had nine new defensive starters and gave up 54 points in each of their first two games – both losses.
“They’ve continued to get better,” Walsh said of his defense. “When I look back at Week Zero to where we are now, I see a bunch of sophomores up front that have really grown up and some seniors up front that took some leadership. There’s a standard here on playing the run defense, and I think they understand that. I think we’re getting closer to that.”
The defense also gave its offense some good field position as Domenic Pickering recovered a fumble from Wichita Falls quarterback DeShaun Young at the Coyotes’ 40-yard line near the end of the first quarter. It only took six plays for Guyer to find the end zone on a 1-yard plunge from running back D.J. Breedlove, who returned from a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss two games.
In all, Guyer rushed for 376 yards and racked up 493 total yards.
About five minutes later, the Guyer special teams got in on the action after the Wildcats’ defense forced one of the Coyotes’ eight punts.
Tavi Sanches took the punt at the Guyer 35-yard line and returned it 74 yards to the Wichita Falls 11. Two plays, and a holding penalty, later, Heard ran into the end zone from 18 yards out for his second score of the game. He finished with 86 yards on nine carries and 83 yards on 11-of-16 passing, as none of Guyer’s offensive starters returned after halftime.
“We’ve been that way for the most part for the past six games,” Walsh said. “Tavi’s been putting us in pretty good position on returns, and we’ve been able to capitalize on a lot of turnovers. It’s pretty phenomenal how many points we score when they turn the ball over.”
As the Guyer depth chart was emptied in the second half, only one player’s stat line stood out — backup quarterback David Haynes.
Haynes, who played the entire second half instead of Walsh’s customary plan of letting Heard get at least one second-half series in blowouts, finished as the team’s leading rusher with 133 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns, including a 63-yarder in the third quarter.
“We wanted to get David some real-time reps,” Walsh said. “We would’ve liked to have thrown it around a little more, but the game didn’t allow us to. He’s a really good quarterback, and he’s played a lot of wide receiver, too. He can make a lot of plays for us. It’s real comforting as a coach knowing we have Jerrod and David on the sideline because he can operate our offense, everything we do.”
Guyer will play at Fort Worth Brewer to close the regular season next Friday night and will look to get another first for its program — an undefeated district season.
“Undefeated in district isn’t a main deal around here, but we’re at that week now, so let’s go undefeated,” Walsh said.
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Guyer 49, Wichita Falls 0
G —Richard Whitaker 3 run (kick blocked), 4:02
G —D.J. Breedlove 1 run (Josh Harris pass from Jerrod Heard), 0:52
G — Heard 11 run (Grems kick), 9:49
G — Heard 18 run (Grems kick), 6:52
G — Nate Maki 4 run (Grems kick), 1:07
G — David Haynes 63 run (Grems kick), 6:54
G — Haynes 27 run (Tanner Hunt kick), 3:53
Rushing — WF: Robert Williams 8-20, DeShaun Young 3-(-25), Eric Butler 3-(-5), Mikal Penn 1-(-4). G: Jerrod Heard 9-86, Richard Whitaker 6-66, D.J. Breedlove 7-37, Nate Maki 1-4, Connor McCown 5-24, David Haynes 11-133, Michael Carrillo 5-26.
Passing — WF: DeShaun Young 9-15-0 83, Eric Butler 10-15-0 57. G: Jerrod Heard 11-16-0 83, David Haynes 3-6-1 31
Receiving — WF: Robert Williams 6-22, Bubba Mathis 3-43, Korie Robinson 3-9, Dwight Ross 1-14, Garron Nash 1-6, Mikal Penn 5-46. G: Josh Harris 1-10, Nate Maki 2-24, Tyler Smith 1-9, D.J. Breedlove 3-7, Adam Scott 2-26, Preston Thrailkill 2-18, David Haynes 1-9, Connor McCown 1-3, Logan Helal 1-8.