After three weeks of playing tough Class 5A competition to fill out its nondistrict schedule, Guyer got back to its roots Thursday.
The Wildcats, who had not played a Class 4A school since a season-opening blowout of Waxahachie in 2010, opened District 5-4A play against Azle at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex and got a similar result, beating the Hornets 55-14 after jumping out to a 42-0 halftime lead.
“I think we came out and did what we were supposed to do,” Guyer head coach John Walsh said. “We felt like we were the better team, and sometimes the better team performs in that situation. I was glad we were able to come out and prove that quickly.”
The Wildcats (2-2, 1-0 District 5-4A) capitalized on a couple of Azle miscues and jumped out to a 21-0 lead just more than four minutes into the game.
“You’re going to feel good [about a quick lead], but you’ve got to be careful on letting off the gas too early because that’s when injuries start to happen,” Walsh said.
After seeing their offense go through some struggles in nondistrict play, the Wildcats took the opening drive 75 yards on seven plays in a little more than two minutes, capped off by a 9-yard touchdown run by D.J. Breedlove.
After that, the floodgates opened for Guyer.
The ensuing kickoff was fumbled by Azle and recovered by Guyer’s Nate Maki at the Azle 11-yard line. Two plays later, Maki scored from 2 yards out to put Guyer up 14-0 just 47 seconds after Breedlove’s touchdown with Azle having yet to run an offensive play.
When the Hornets (3-1, 0-1) finally got the ball on offense, they gave it right back to the Wildcats as Guyer linebacker Terrell Singleton stepped in front of a pass from Corbyn Koiner and took it 25 yards to the end zone to give Guyer a 21-0 lead.
“We’ve got to encourage it and make our kids understand that if it’s a tight game that’s a difference maker,” Walsh said of Singleton’s interception return. “They won’t get that feeling tonight because of the score, but those are the differences in winning close games.”
Azle kept struggling offensively, and Guyer kept the gas pedal on the floor.
Azle didn’t earn a first down until there were just more than three minutes left in the first half.
Walsh removed starting quarterback Jerrod Heard from the game with 9:10 left in the half after he ended his night with a 30-yard touchdown strike to Ellis Jefferson to give Guyer a 35-0 lead. Azle was flagged for roughing the passer after the play.
Heard’s brief night saw him rush five times for 58 yards and go 5-for-9 for 105 yards through the air. He was relieved by sophomore David Haynes, who finished with 66 rushing yards, including a 56-yard touchdown run, while completing four of five passes for 48 yards.
“I wish we could’ve gotten a little more out of Jerrod,” Walsh said. “I hate pulling my [starters], especially my quarterback, in the first half. I wanted to get David some reps with the first team, and when he went and capitalized I couldn’t put Jerrod back in.
“We’re deep at that position, for sure. Jerrod is an extra-special talent, but I’ve been saying for a long time that David Haynes can play for anybody around here.”
Guyer dominated the game despite missing three starters due to injury: left guard Hunter Krastin, wide receiver/cornerback Josh Harris and defensive tackle Domenic Pickering. Starting left tackle Patrick Morris missed the game after being suspended for breaking team rules.
“It feels very refreshing to know we have guys that can step up when guys aren’t available, and they’ll probably have to do it for one more week [against Denton next Friday] because I don’t know if we’ll get many of those guys back,” Walsh said.
The Wildcats’ defense held Azle to 215 total yards. The Hornets, a run-heavy team, struggled for just 98 yards on the ground after Guyer allowed another power running team, Flower Mound Marcus, just 66 yards on the ground in its previous game.
“We’re seeing a lot of our D-linemen grow up,” Walsh said. “Our linebackers are ready to play big-time football and our D-lineman are a little behind. But we played three sophomores up there tonight and I’m seeing their hats get across the line a little quicker than normal.”
Thomas Ferguson, a 6-1, 220-pound defensive end, had two sacks and recovered a fumble that led to one of Haynes’ touchdown runs.
“It was a dominating performance,” Walsh said. “It needed to be a dominating performance. We just have to build on it now. We haven’t arrived anywhere. We’re still a 2-2 ballclub with a bright future, but we have to take care of our business week in and week out.”
As far as the drop back to 4A, Walsh said he made it known from the get-go that his team needed to realize it was supposed to win in dominant fashion.
“That was my whole pregame speech,” Walsh said. “I wasn’t going to rah-rah them. I told them, ‘I’m not gonna spit fire. I’m gonna tell you how it is. You’re supposed to win tonight. You’re supposed to win convincingly, and it’s your job to do it.’
“Good, quality programs don’t need the coach to fire them up. They go out and do it, and they did it tonight.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is email@example.com .
Guyer 55, Azle 14
G — D.J. Breedlove 9 run (Brad Grems kick), 9:46
G — Nate Maki 2 run (kick failed), 8:59
G — Terrell Singleton 25 interception return (Ellis Jefferson pass from Jerrod Heard), 7:38
G — Richard Whitaker 7 run (Grems kick), 2:36
G — Jefferson 30 pass from Heard (Grems kick), 9:10
G — David Haynes 1 run (Grems kick), 4:47
G — Haynes 56 run (Grems kick), 8:51
A — Hunter McDonald 13 pass from Corbyn Koiner (McDonald run), 4:25
G — Connor McCown 2 run (kick failed), 7:38
A — Dalton Cole 8 run (run failed), 2:43
Rushing — A:Corbyn Koiner 8-1, Hunter McDonald 17-53, Dalton Cole 9-44. G: Jerrod Heard 5-58, D.J. Breedlove 7-51, Richard Whitaker 4-38, Nate Maki 1-2, David Haynes 7-66, Connor McCown 10-69, Mason McKnight 2-10.
Passing — A: Corbyn Koiner 7-16-1-87, Brett Harris 2-2-0-30. G: Jerrod Heard 5-9-0-105, David Haynes 4-5-0-48.
Receiving — A: Nolan Harris 4-54, Tyler Albers 2-24, James Norwood 2-33, Richie Fabela 1-6. G: Ellis Jefferson 2-42, Jonathan Pershall 1-32, Nate Maki 1-9, Preston Thrailkill 2-35, Adam Scott 3-32, Tripp Reed 1-12.