ARLINGTON — Winning a Texas high school football championship once can be quite an accomplishment. Winning twice in a row? Now that is pretty darn special.
The Guyer Wildcats celebrated their second straight Class 4A Division I state title Friday night with a 31-14 victory over San Antonio Brennan, becoming just the fifth program since Class 4A was split into divisions in 1996 to repeat as state champions in either 5A or 4A Division I.
“I am so happy,” said senior defensive lineman Thomas Ferguson. “This is such a special moment for me, for my teammates, for everyone in this program. We came out each and every game this season ready to play and ready to defend. That didn’t change tonight. I’m so proud of this team. We come out believing we could win.”
The second straight title caps an impressive run for a school that has been open less than 10 years. After going 0-10 in its first season in 2006, the Wildcats have now made five trips to the state semifinals in the last six years and three state championship appearances in the last four seasons, two in 4A and one in 5A.
“We started working for this almost the day after we won last year,” said junior wide receiver Alex Honey. “We win games like this in the offseason with a lot of hard work and commitment.”
Interestingly, the Wildcats kept a trend going at this year’s state finals. They were one of five teams with an opportunity to repeat, and so far, those teams are 3-for-3. Stamford won its second straight title on Thursday in Class 1A, followed by Cameron Yoe repeating in Class 2A. Now with Guyer’s repeat, Class 5A teams Katy and Allen can match the feat today.
“This was hard,” said senior linebacker Demontrie Taylor. “It was not easy at all. But as a team, we made a commitment to do our best on every play in every game. We did as we expected tonight. It’s such a special feeling. All that hard work pays off when you win a game like this.”
The Wildcats came into the season with high expectations, returning 11 starters, including quarterback Jerrod Heard, who accounted for all seven of Guyer’s touchdowns in the state title win over Georgetown last year.
The experience played a key role in the Wildcats’ run through the playoffs, particularly in the state semifinals, where Guyer had to overcome penalties and turnovers to pull out a last-minute victory over Highland Park.
The state title game was no easy game. The Wildcats faced an undefeated Brennan team that had outscored opponents in its 15 previous games 816-51 and had yet to trail all season. The Bears had not given up more than 21 points in any game. But the Wildcats scored first and scored the most points Brennan allowed in any game.
“We knew we had targets on our back,” said junior wide receiver David Haynes. “That’s part of what comes with being a state champion. But everyone on this team didn’t rest or take it easy because of that. We had to keep working harder.”
That target on the back is going to get even bigger next season, especially with the Wildcats moving to the new Class 6A.
Haynes, who has been the backup quarterback for two seasons, is the projected starter for next season. He played wide receiver this year to gain additional on-field experience and caught the game’s first score, a 14-yard pass from Heard.
“We’re going to get to work on next season pretty quick,” he said. “This win was probably more special for me since I didn’t play as much last year. But I’m ready for the challenge. I’m ready to go.”