ARLINGTON — The way the first half ended for Guyer and how the third quarter started for Georgetown, it looked as if the Wildcats were going to remain winless in two state championship game appearances.
A costly fumble and two stagnant offensive drives sent the Wildcats into halftime down by nine points. For the first time since its season opener, Guyer found itself trailing after the first half.
“It was odd,” Guyer coach John Walsh said. “For the coaches and the adults, it shouldn’t have been, because that’s their job. But for the kids, we knew it was odd. You could see it in their eyes. We’re used to going in [to halftime] feeling pretty good.”
In the last five minutes of the second quarter, Georgetown took advantage of a crucial Guyer mistake, sparking a stretch of nine straight points to close out the half.
Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard took a high snap and attempted to hand the ball off to senior running back Richard Whitaker. The ball clanged off Whitaker, hit the turf and was recovered by Georgetown lineman Ryan Rickerson at the Guyer 36-yard line.
The Eagles took a six-point lead on a 1-yard pass from Jake Hubenak to wide receiver Randy Knightner.
On the ensuing possession, Heard had three straight incomplete passes and Guyer punted the ball back to Georgetown. The Eagles again took over in Guyer territory, this time at the Wildcat 43.
After Hubenak was briefly knocked out of the game by a big hit at the Guyer 9 and two pass interference penalties on Guyer’s secondary, Georgetown ended the half with a 23-yard field goal by Austin Stevens.
The Eagles took a 23-14 lead into the locker room after finishing the first half with 16 unanswered points.
Georgetown QB briefly knocked out of game
With 11 seconds left in the second quarter and Georgetown inside Guyer’s 20-yard line, Hubenak took a crushing hit after a 9-yard gain. Hubenak said after the game that he got hit on both sides of his stomach and had the wind knocked out of him.
Hubenak slowly walked off the field with his helmet off and received an ovation from the Georgetown fans. He missed the last three plays of the half before the Eagles ultimately settled for a field goal.
“It definitely hurt, but it’s not an excuse,” Hubenak said. “It’s something every athlete has to play through, and it’s not an excuse for us losing. We played our hearts out.”
Hubenak returned to the game after halftime.
Former Wildcats attend
Two years ago, J.W. Walsh and Josh Stewart were on the Guyer team that lost 24-21 to Cibolo Steele in the 2010 Class 5A Division II final.
Walsh and Stewart, both now playing for Oklahoma State, were in attendance with several other players from the 2010 team to watch their alma mater in its second try for a state championship.
Stewart leads the Cowboys with 1,154 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in his sophomore year in Stillwater, Okla. Walsh has appeared in nine games this season, rushing for 277 yards and throwing for 1,478 yards as a redshirt freshman.
J.W. Walsh said he was more than happy that this group, led by his father as the head coach, was able to accomplish what the Wildcats couldn’t when he was a senior.
“Absolutely sweet,” J.W. Walsh said. “No bitter in it at all. These guys absolutely deserve this. The fact I was able to be here and be a part of it and watch — this whole team was special, you could tell from the beginning. I’m so happy for them all, especially my dad. He deserves one. I’m so happy for him.”
Coaches honor Sandy Hook shooting victims
The Guyer coaches had green and white ribbons pinned on their shirts to honor the victims of the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
John Walsh said the idea initially was proposed by Mitchell Combs, one of the team’s trainers.
Heard, Guyer trend online
During the Guyer-Georgetown game, “Jerrod Heard” was trending nationally on the social media website Twitter as Heard led the Wildcats to a comeback victory.
In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, “Guyer” was trending at halftime of the Class 5A Division II championship game between Cedar Hill and Katy, the second of three games at Cowboys Stadium on Saturday.
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is email@example.com .