LUBBOCK — For the second straight week, Guyer’s D.J. Breedlove had the type of performance that can carry a team to victory in the postseason.
The only difference in Saturday afternoon’s regional semifinal against Amarillo was that Breedlove got a lot of help from his friends.
The senior running back totaled 121 yards and scored three times in just a half of action as Guyer cruised to a 63-21 win over Amarillo at Lowrey Field to advance to the Class 4A Division I Region I final.
“He’s a senior and has been a big-time player for three years,” Guyer coach John Walsh said. “We expect him and others to take the game over when the ball’s in their hands. That’s what leaders do, and he’s done that.”
The Wildcats will play Birdville (11-2) at Apogee Stadium for the right to move on to the state semifinals. The game is tentatively scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday.
After racking up nearly 300 total yards, including two punt-return touchdowns in last week’s win over Waco, Breedlove was in a groove from the beginning of Saturday’s win over Amarillo — the Wildcats’ second over the Sandies in as many postseasons.
Breedlove was just one of many Guyer players who stood out offensively, as the Wildcats played perhaps their best all-around game of the season, scoring on six of their first seven possessions to build a 42-0 halftime lead and then a 56-point lead before Amarillo got on the scoreboard near the end of the third quarter.
Breedlove scored twice on the ground and also on a 26-yard catch-and-run from Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard as the Wildcats (11-2) steamrolled Amarillo (7-6) early and often.
“D.J. is a born leader,” said Heard, a Texas pledge. “Since last week when he had those [two] returns, it’s just at the point where he has to step up. That’s part of his leadership role, and he’s doing a great job of that.”
The Wildcats had their fourth punt-return touchdown of the postseason to get the scoring started Saturday, but this time it was not from Breedlove, who returned three punts for scores in the first two games of the postseason.
Sophomore linebacker Michael Carrillo returned a punt 42 yards for a score to give Guyer a lead before its offense ever took possession.
Breedlove said the punt return set the tone for a day full of offense that saw Guyer roll up 493 total yards, including 339 in the first half.
“We just wanted to come out and play and hit them in the mouth first,” Breedlove said. “We’ve been starting slow all year and coming out slow, so we wanted to make a point today to come out fast. Carrillo’s punt return just set the whole mood for the game.”
Heard, a senior, had one of his better passing games of the season. The dual-threat quarterback was 10-for-15 for 162 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 89 yards and a score before taking a seat on the bench for the second half.
Walsh said Heard’s lack of eye-popping passing statistics can be chalked up to several factors, most notably the result of games like Saturday’s when he played just one half.
“He looks great in practice,” Walsh said. “We’ve been in situations in games where whether it’s weather or we’re up or whatever, we run it so well that our throwing gets overlooked sometimes. And I just don’t call it [passes] enough. I know we’ll need it down the road. He stayed in the pocket today and took some shots, but he was very accurate.”
The game against the Sandies went much differently than last season’s matchup, which came in the same round of the postseason. Guyer won that game 38-30, as Amarillo controlled the tempo with its wing-T offense and some timely play-action passes on third down.
With that in their minds, the Wildcats knew they had to jump out early and put the Sandies out of their comfort zone.
“We watched a lot of film on them and schemed them really good this year,” Guyer senior offensive lineman Hunter Krastin said. “We didn’t get after them like we should’ve last year. That was the point this year — to get on them and get it lopsided. The wing-T isn’t meant to come back.”
Heard said he knew that when the Wildcats had the ball they had to put it in the end zone, and he was pleased with the results as his team jumped out to a 56-0 lead even after he’d left the game.
“They [the Sandies] want to keep the ball,” Heard said. “It’s hard to beat a team that has the ball most of the time, so we knew when we got out there we had to score.”
Guyer 63, Amarillo 21
DG — Michael Carrillo 42 punt return (Brad Grems kick)
DG — DJ Breedlove 11 run (Brad Grems kick)
DG — Jerrod Heard 19 run (Brad Grems kick)
DG — DJ Breedlove 13 run (Brad Grems kick)
DG — DJ Breedlove 26 pass from Jerrod Heard (Brad Grems kick)
DG — Eric Ramon 17 pass from Jerrod Heard (Brad Grems kick)
DG — David Haynes 43 run (Brad Grems kick)
DG — Tripp Reed 1 pass from David Haynes (Brad Grems kick)
AM — Deon Lynch 77 run (Hunter Cathey kick)
AM — Anthony Geiger 65 run (Hunter Cathey kick)
AM — Kyas Rodriguez 75 run (Hunter Cathey kick)
DG — Anthony Taylor 33 run (Brad Grems kick)
Rushing — AM: Deon Lynch 13-137, Kyas Rodriguez 3-82, Anthony Geiger 5-71, Simpson Spencer 4-11, Brent Burdett 3-4, Hogan Walker 1--1, Chris Buchanan 1--2, Issac Garcia 5--10, DG: Jerrod Heard 9-89, David Haynes 9-54, Anthony Taylor 5-48, DJ Breedlove 5-45, Adam Scott 2-35, Collin Clayton 3-12, David Rolon 1-12.
Passing — AM: Issac Garcia 5-8-0-67, DG: Jerrod Heard 10-15-0-162, David Haynes 3-6-1-36.
Receiving — AM: Dally Burney 1-60, Brent Burdett 1-6, Treyton Roland 2-1, Anthony Geiger 1-0, DG: DJ Breedlove 2-76, Adam Scott 1-37, David Haynes 3-28, Tripp Reed 2-26, Eric Ramon 1-17, JT Ashcraft 1-10, Jonathan Pershall 1-3, Anthony Taylor 2-1.