The Guyer Wildcats could not have had a much worse start to Thursday's pivotal District 7-5A game against Coppell.
The Cowboys, ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press Class 5A state poll, marched down the field in methodical fashion on a 13-play scoring drive to get on the scoreboard first.
From that point, the game belonged to Guyer, which scored 31 unanswered points to top Coppell 31-7 in a game that was delayed for an hour at the end of the first quarter due to lightning and didn't end until nearly 11:30 p.m.
Maybe it was the delay at the end of the first quarter, or maybe it was Guyer's defense making the proper adjustments, but the Wildcats' defense overcame the unimpressive opening drive and proceeded to register four turnovers on downs and force three turnovers en route to getting revenge against Coppell (4-1, 1-1), which handed Guyer its only district loss last season.
Coming out of halftime, the teams traded punts before Guyer drove to the Coppell 40-yard line with the Wildcats holding a 23-7 lead.
A Josh King punt was muffed by Coppell's Jacob Logan and recovered by Guyer's Connor Allen at the Cowboys' 15-yard line. After a penalty, sophomore quarterback Jerrod Heard took a designed quarterback sweep 20 yards to the end zone to finish off Coppell with 5:33 still remaining in the third quarter.
Heard did not put up huge numbers, but when it counted, he came through. Heard completed just 5 of 16 pass attempts for 93 yards, but had two touchdown passes to Conner Crane. Heard rushed for 64 yards on 13 carries with two touchdown runs.
Sebastain Williams led the Wildcats (4-1, 2-0) on the ground with 84 yards on 13 carries. DISTRICT 7-5A STANDINGS
THIS WEEK'S GAMEThursday, Sept. 29Guyer 31, Coppell 7Keller Fossil Ridge 27, Justin Northwest 14 Friday, Sept. 30Keller Central at SaginawSouthlake Carroll at Keller
NEXT WEEK'S GAMESThursday, Oct. 6Saginaw at KellerFriday, Oct 7Guyer at Keller Central Southlake Carroll at Justin NorthwestKeller Fossil Ridge at Coppell
Coppell's ground game was stymied by Guyer's swarming run defense, as the Cowboys rushed for just 93 yards on 39 carries, and the Wildcats held running back Luke Jenner, the district's leading rusher, to 42 yards on 18 carries.
Coppell opened the game with the commanding scoring drive that took more than five minutes off the clock, and that was followed by a three-and-out for Guyer's offense.
Then, Dominic Ramacher came up with a big play near midfield when he intercepted Coppell quarterback Jake Larson's tipped pass and gave the Wildcats the ball in Coppell territory.
A Josh King field goal got Guyer on the board, but from that point, the Wildcats controlled the game.
Heard found Crane on a 38-yard touchdown pass to give Guyer a lead at the end of the first quarter, but just after the ensuing kickoff the game was delayed for an hour because of the threat of lightning.
After the delay, it was all Guyer as defensive tackle Dan Kottman was a constant terror in the Coppell backfield as the Wildcats forced punts on two of Coppell's first three possessions after the delay. The other was a turnover on downs for Coppell as Kottman stuffed running back Jacob Logan on fourth-and-2 deep in Guyer territory.
Kottman finished the night with two tackles behind the line of scrimmage and 2 1/2 sacks and eventually forced Coppell quarterback Jake Larson from the game in the fourth quarter.
Guyer responded with a 7-play, 69-yard drive that was capped by a 14-yard run by Heard that put Guyer up 17-7 with 5 minutes remaining in the first half.
Just more than a minute later, the Wildcats struck again.
After Kottman sacked Larson for a 9-yard loss back to the Coppell 2-yard line, the Wildcats forced another Coppell punt that went just 18 yards and gave Guyer the ball at the Coppell 20-yard line.
On second-and-10, Heard spotted Crane sitting in the middle of a soft zone in the front of the end zone and threw a strike to give Guyer the commanding 23-7 lead, which the Wildcats took into the half.
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Guyer 31, Coppell 7
C ñ Henry Busch 9 pass from Jake Larson (Nick Jordan kick), 6:43
G ñ Josh King 42 field goal, 3:24
G ñ Conner Crane 38 pass from Jerrod Heard (King kick), 0:10
G ñ Heard 14 run (King kick), 5:05
G ñ Crane 20 pass from Heard (kick failed), 3:54
G ñ Heard 20 run (Ellis Jefferson pass from Mason McKnight), 5:33
RUSHING: C ñ Jake Larson 7-4, Luke Jenner 18-42, Jacob Logan 6-9, Tyler Zabojnik 4-30, Jared McComb 3-9, Gavin McDaniel 1-(-1). G ñ Sebastain Williams 13-84, Jerrod Heard 13-64, Conner Crane 1-8, D.J. Breedlove 2-10, Mason McKnight 2-5.
PASSING: C ñ Jake Larson 16-25-2-136, Tyler Zabojnik 0-1-0-0. G ñ Jerrod Heard 5-16-0-93, Mason McKnight 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: C ñ Emmanuel Mulumba 2-28, Troy Parker 1-10, Riley Massey 2-19, Henry Busch 3-29, Jacob Logan 7-43, Luke Jenner 1-7. G ñ Conner Crane 2-58, Sebastain Williams 2-28, Ellis Jefferson 1-7.