Bye weeks are designed to give football teams a chance to recuperate and recharge from prior weeks and get ready for the upcoming grind.
All of District 5-4A was off last week, but not all the teams got healthy. That list includes Guyer (1-2), which will open district play tonight against Azle (3-0) in the Wildcats’ first game against a Class 4A opponent since the 2010 season opener.
The Wildcats will play tonight’s game without starting left tackle Patrick Morris and left guard Hunter Krastin (concussion) and likely will be without wide receiver/cornerback Josh Harris for the second straight game after he injured his shoulder in Guyer’s loss to Colleyville Heritage.
Morris, a TCU pledge, was suspended for two games for breaking team rules.
The Wildcats had a productive off week despite those losses.
“We did a good job of evaluating what was wrong the first two weeks of the season,” Guyer head coach John Walsh said, referencing blowout losses to Cedar Hill and Heritage. “We thought we got better at [Flower Mound] Marcus and are trying to fix what’s still wrong.”
What Guyer did well in beating Marcus, in its third game of the season, was run the ball with its running back tandem of D.J. Breedlove and Richard Whitaker, who each eclipsed the 100-yard mark. Quarterback Jerrod Heard was two yards shy of the century mark.
“One thing we can always come to is the running game,” Heard said. “We’re very good there. I can rely on them to make plays, and that’s a great thing to have.
“If one thing goes wrong, then let’s try to make the best of it somewhere else. We weren’t having a great passing game [against Marcus] so we went on the ground, and that was good enough to get the job done.”
That could be a concern considering the entire left side of the Guyer offensive line will be new, as seniors Wade Austin and Ryan Starr will fill in at tackle and guard, respectively.
“Both of those guys, in normal years, would be starting for us,” Walsh said. “We’re good up front. They just happen to be seniors with very good guys in front of them. We’re very confident in those guys.
“Usually when you have a fill-in, you hope the guy next to him takes care of him on communication, and we don’t have that, so we’re counting on [center Zach] Colpean to help them get lined up in the right place.”
Offensively, Azle likely will resemble Marcus, which means the Wildcats will get a heavy dose of the run. That worked out well against Marcus, as the Guyer defense met the challenge of facing its first power-running team by holding the Marauders to 66 rushing yards on 27 carries and 180 total yards.
“Especially after the first two weeks of giving up so many points, to contain Marcus gave us a lot of confidence,” middle linebacker Terence Belton said.
Heard said he is hoping to rebound from what he called a subpar first few games for him personally. He said the bye week helped him refocus after being rushed through the first three weeks of the season, which included two Thursday games that required short weeks of preparation.
“Now we just want to work and bounce back,” Heard said. “I know [people] probably still have us picked high to win our district, but we want to come out level-headed and play. What we don’t want to do is come out cocky and not play to our full potential.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .