SOUTHLAKE — If Guyer head coach John Walsh could bottle up his team’s first-half play from the first two weeks of the football season, he’d be a happy man.
Unfortunately for Walsh and his Wildcats, their second-half performance in both games has left a lot to be desired, and they are left searching for their first win of the season after seeing a 10-point halftime lead evaporate into a 54-38 loss to Colleyville Heritage.
“I have to figure out, with this bunch, how to be a better halftime coach,” Walsh said. “We talked about halftime, but maybe we have to re-evaluate how we do halftime because right now we’re not a very good halftime team.”
Guyer (0-2), the No. 7 team in The Associated Press Class 4A state poll, built a halftime lead by forcing its first punt of the season and capitalizing on a Heritage (2-0) turnover while watching as junior quarterback Jerrod Heard had three first-half rushing touchdowns.
But like last week, when Guyer watched a seven-point halftime deficit turn into a 26-point loss to Cedar Hill, the Wildcats’ fortunes started to turn in the second half.
After Heritage quarterback Cody Thomas, an Oklahoma commit, led the Panthers 55 yards to open the second half in under a minute, capped by a 35-yard scoring strike to Daniel Farrington, the Wildcats were clinging to a three-point lead.
On the next play from scrimmage, Heard carried the ball 75 yards up the middle of the field to put Guyer back in front, 38-28. After that, nothing went right for the Wildcats.
Guyer’s defense turned the ball over on downs deep in its own territory, but on the next Heritage drive, the Panthers went on a marathon 14-play drive that ended with a 17-yard missile Thomas threaded between three Guyer defenders to Kaelin Deboskie to bring Heritage back within a field goal.
Thomas finished his night completing 30 of 41 pass attempts for 363 yards and five passing touchdowns. He rushed for two more scores, including an emphatic 44-yard touchdown scamper to put the game away on which he bulled over a Guyer defender at the Wildcats’ 20 before finishing off the run.
“He’s got it all as far as being a strong kid and being strong in the pocket,” Walsh said of Thomas. “He can get out of the pocket and make plays with his legs, too. He’s extremely accurate. Those guys are hard to beat. We were covering good and he made some great throws, and then you can’t make busts [in coverage] with guys like that, and we had a lot of busts.”
The final nail in Guyer’s coffin came on the Wildcats’ ensuing possession when they drove to the Heritage 22-yard line while nursing a three-point lead.
That’s when Heard and running back Richard Whitaker botched a handoff attempt and Heritage defensive lineman Donovan Kleckner recovered the ball. Six plays later, Heritage was in the end zone again after another Thomas touchdown pass.
“He is a real accurate passer,” Walsh said of Thomas. “He’s a big-time quarterback. Hats off to him.”
The Wildcats’ second half was a complete 180-degree turn from the first, when the Wildcats were in control of the game. It started immediately for Guyer, who opened the game with a 14-play scoring drive that took nearly six minutes off the clock. On Heritage’s ensuing drive, Guyer held Thomas and his teammates to a three-and-out, forcing its first punt of the season.
On Heritage’s next drive, the Wildcats’ defense came up big.
Thomas found Brett Bofinger in the flat for a 3-yard gain, but he fumbled on contact and Guyer defensive tackle Domenic Pickering recovered the ball to give the Wildcats the ball at the Heritage 43-yard line.
Six plays later, Guyer was in the end zone on a 6-yard keeper by Heard to put the Wildcats up 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
“We’ve played two good halves with two good teams where we’ve been right in the ballgame,” Walsh said. “I have to figure out how to coach at halftime.”
Guyer managed just six second-half first downs, while allowing 17 to Heritage, and the Wildcats had 277 total yards at halftime but finished with just 473. Guyer gave up 575 yards to the Panthers after they had just 186 in the first half.
Guyer fell to 5-1 all-time at Dragon Stadium.
Next week, Guyer will get a chance to get its first win of the season against a more run-heavy Flower Mound Marcus team than the two opponents Guyer has lost to through the air. Guyer defeated Marcus in the bi-district round of the Class 5A playoffs in 2010, in a game that came down to the final seconds.
“It’ll be a welcomed sight,” Walsh said. “I’m tired of getting that ball thrown all over me. The run game will be welcomed, but I’m sure they’ll try to throw it all over us too after they see us on film.”
As for Guyer’s passing game, Heard had 140 passing yards at the half but managed just 73 more in the second half to go with an interception that set up another Panthers’ touchdown to put them up 10 points midway through the fourth quarter. Heard rushed for 137 yards and four touchdowns.
“What I’ll say about Jerrod is he’s got to put the second half together like he does the first,” Walsh said. “Our offense goes as he goes, and the second half we haven’t got him going in either game.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is email@example.com .
Colleyville Heritage 54, Guyer 38
G – Jerrod Heard 4 run (Brad Grems kick), 6:27
G – Heard 6 run (Grems kick), 1:07
CH – Connor Davis 2 run (Tony Granados kick), 11:36
G – Heard 10 run (Grems kick), 9:29
CH – Cody Thomas 23 run (Granados kick), 6:38
G – D.J. Breedlove 3 run (Grems kick), 3:35
CH – Nathan Crouch 5 pass from Thomas (Granados kick), 1:36
G – Grems 30 field goal, 0:07
CH – Daniel Farrington 35 pass from Thomas (Granados kick), 11:08
G – Heard 75 run (Grems kick), 10:47
CH – Kaelin Deboskie 17 pass from Thomas (Granados kick), 1:48
CH – Jonny Joe 19 pass from Thomas (Granados kick), 10:37
CH – Joe 5 pass from Thomas (kick blocked), 8:29
CH – Thomas 44 run (kick failed), 4:19
Rushing: G – Jerrod Heard 17-137, D.J. Breedlove 8-22, Richard Whitaker 9-66, Nate Maki 2-14, David Haynes 1-9, Josh Harris 2-10, Adam Scott 1-2. CH – Cody Thomas 4-72, Connor Davis 22-102, Demarco Corbin 6-38.
Passing: G – Jerrod Heard 15-24-1-213. CH – Cody Thomas 30-41-0-363.
Receiving: G – Ellis Jefferson 7-91, D.J. Breedlove 2-34, Preston Thrailkill 3-46, Josh Harris 1-12, Jonathan Pershall 1-26, Adam Scott 1-4. CH – Brett Bofinger 3-30, Nathan Crouch 9-152, Daniel Farrington 6-83, Jonny Joe 5-62, Kaelin Deboskie 4-24, Demarco Corbin 1-7, Connor Davis 2-5.