Aside from being two well-coached, successful teams that will be playing in today’s Class 4A Division I state championship game, there aren’t many similarities between Guyer and Georgetown.
Georgetown’s quarterback, Jake Hubenak, was voted first-team all-state by the Associated Press on Wednesday after throwing for nearly 4,000 yards and tossing 45 touchdown passes. Guyer’s Jerrod Heard is a true dual threat under center and has combined for just shy of 4,000 yards — split almost evenly between rushing and passing — and 46 touchdowns.
Georgetown (15-0) has two 1,000-yard receivers and another with more than 900, while Guyer (13-2) has two 1,000-yard rushers and Heard with 2,005 yards.
“If you have a scheme to stop the quarterback, they have a running back that can really hurt you, and if you scheme to stop the running back, they have a quarterback that can really get after you,” Georgetown head coach Jason Dean said. “They’re a dual-threat run offense, which is unusual about a one-back offense.”
The differences between the teams are not only on the field, but also in the history books.
The Wildcats have been to at least the state semifinals in four of the past five seasons, including a trip to the 2010 5A Division II state final, which they lost 24-21. They have played at Arlington’s Cowboys Stadium seven times since 2010, while Georgetown will be making its first appearance in the cavernous building that can leave even the most undaunted in awe.
The Eagles are in the midst of a historic season and have made the playoffs just nine times since 1909, winning more than one playoff game for the first time since 1970.
Guyer head coach John Walsh said the experience on the big stage could be an advantage for his program, or it could work the other way.
“I think on the outside, you’d have to say that common sense says we’d have an advantage,” Walsh said. “But I always tell our guys, I remember the first time we took our program into Texas Stadium [in 2008], and I was worried about [former quarterback] J.W. [Walsh], as a sophomore, and he had 500 yards of offense. Some guys will shine and some guys will cower down. There’s always that concern — ‘What if they get under those lights and get motivated, and they explode?’ But we’re counting on our experience there working in our favor.”
Emotion could play in Guyer’s favor today as well. There was no pep rally leading up to today’s game — nothing exciting, period.
“I had parents ask me to have a pep rally after practice one day this week, and I declined,” Walsh said. “They’re not happy with me, but that’s what we did. Everything’s been low-key. We decided to keep it a pretty boring week for a state championship week.”
In fact, that is about the only time Walsh will be heard using the words “state championship.”
“We have scaled it down,” Walsh said. “If there’s anything I did wrong two years ago was I let the week get too special. ... You’re not going to hear me say ‘state championship game.’ You’re going to hear me say ‘Round 6, Game 16 and Georgetown.’ Those are the three things. When the game’s over and they give us a different looking trophy, that’s when we’ll start talking about that.”
With several former Guyer players set to be on the sideline today, including many from that 2010 team, senior defensive end Connor Allen said he’s looking to end his career on the highest note possible.
“The thing is, we’ve been there and played at Cowboys Stadium and been in the state title game,” said Allen, who was a sophomore on the kickoff team in 2010. “But we want to take this one this time around, especially these seniors being in the last one and not coming out with the win. We’ve got our chance back. We’re definitely going to take this one.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .