The last time the Guyer secondary saw a pass-heavy offensive attack, it didn’t end well for the Wildcats.
On Sept. 6, the Wildcats faced Colleyville Heritage and quarterback Cody Thomas, who has committed to Oklahoma, and watched a 31-21 halftime lead go up in flames as Thomas threw for five touchdowns and led the Panthers to a 54-38 win.
That was a Guyer defense playing its second game with nine new starters, but their fortunes have changed since as the Wildcats have gone on to win their last six games.
Tonight when Guyer, No. 9 in The Associated Press Class 4A poll, takes on Wichita Falls, the Wildcats (6-2, 5-0 District 5-4A) will see their first wide-open passing attack since that day nearly two months ago, but they expect things to go much better this time around.
“That’ll help our secondary,” Guyer outside linebacker Terrell Singleton said. “We haven’t played too many passing teams. Colleyville Heritage was the last one we played and we got burned right there. It’ll be good to see a passing team because we’ll see some in the playoffs.
“I feel way better about our defense now. Our front seven and back seven and everything about us are so much better. Everyone’s done their job.”
Wichita Falls (2-6, 0-5) will not present near the challenge Heritage did, but it’s a wide-open passing attack nonetheless. And even though the Coyotes might have some issues up front, their players at the skill positions can hurt opponents.
“They have some skill guys — that’s not a problem for them,” Guyer head coach John Walsh said. “They’ve had some issues up front in a few games, but at the skill positions they can play with you.”
Even though the Wildcats know what to expect, Walsh said he wants his team to be careful to not look past Wichita Falls, or even Fort Worth Brewer (5-3, 2-3) in next week’s regular-season finale.
Coming off a three-game stretch that included games against Trophy Club Byron Nelson, rival Lake Dallas and a showdown with Wichita Falls Rider that essentially was for the district title, the Wildcats now must focus on taking care of the Coyotes.
“We’ve just taken the business approach,” Walsh said. “The reason you play 10 games is because football can be funky sometimes and anyone can get you anytime, whether you’re favored or not.
“You practice from August to hopefully December, and it’s hard to have emotional practices week in and week out. During those weeks when you don’t have much emotion, you just have to keep them going like it’s business, and Friday nights are fun regardless.”
Tonight should be especially fun for Guyer’s D.J. Breedlove, as the junior running back makes his return to the starting lineup after missing two games and most of a third with a high ankle sprain.
In his absence, senior Richard Whitaker has shined, racking up 334 yards and seven touchdowns over that time. Now, Breedlove gets his chance to return to a successful running back timeshare.
“When you use two running backs, people say you can’t get them in a rhythm, but we run the ball enough that they’re both going to get in rhythm,” Walsh said. “What we like is it keeps them fresh and if it’s a long drive or the next drive, you’re putting a fresh set of legs in there and they’re carry-hungry, so they’re ready to make the most of it when they get in there.”
Breedlove said the Coyotes can be run on, and that he plans to have a big game in his return.
“I guess they have a lot of effort. That’s all I can really say about them,” Breedlove said of Wichita Falls’ defense. “They have a pretty good nose tackle. They’re not really good at tackling. They like to go for the legs a lot. They’re really slippery. They don’t wrap up much, but I expect them to come out with full effort. They’ll play hard because they know they’re going against a good team.”
If Guyer wins, the Wildcats will have their first outright district championship. In 2009, the Wildcats shared the 5-4A title with Ryan and Lake Dallas.
Despite the lack of emotion about this week’s opponent, Walsh said he’s been using the trophy as motivation.
“That’s been good this week, just letting our kids know they can do something that’s never been done here before, and that’s winning an outright district championship,” Walsh said. “That’s kept our kids motivated.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .