Over the years, Guyer coach John Walsh has tested his relatively young program against some of the most tradition-rich teams in the state.
The Wildcats will add another to the bunch next Friday when they open the regular season with a game against two-time defending state champion Allen.
But before that, the two-time state champs in their own right will face another powerhouse when they host Euless Trinity in a scrimmage at 7 tonight at Guyer.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for how they approach the game,” Walsh said of the Trojans, who have won three state titles since 2005. “You try to steal some from everyone, and the mentality they bring of being a powerful program known for being strong in the trenches, I think we’ve tried to model some of what [coach] Steve Lineweaver has done over there.”
Guyer, which scrimmaged powerhouse Aledo prior to the past four seasons, was set to scrimmage Flower Mound Marcus after Guyer defensive coordinator Derek Ramsey was in line to land the Marauders’ vacant head coaching job. When Ramsey changed his mind at the last minute, Aledo already had found a replacement. That brought on Trinity.
Walsh said the traditionally mammoth Trojan lines on both sides of the ball will let him know where his team stands in a hurry. Most notably, Trinity offensive lineman Patrick Vahe has committed to Texas and will face Guyer’s stout defensive line, led by Kansas pledge Carl Thompson.
Trinity defensive lineman Tipa Galeai has several Football Bowl Subdivision offers and will test an entirely new Guyer offensive line.
“Defensively, our guys are back and they’re proven,” Walsh said. “Offensively in the trenches, we have no one that is proven. I think we have guys that are strong enough to play up there, but we’re fixing to find out in a hurry because Trinity will expose them in a hurry if they’re not.”
Henigan faces former squad
When Dave Henigan and Joey Florence agreed to scrimmage each other for the fifth straight year, Florence was still the head coach at Ryan and Henigan was over at Grapevine.
At the end of last season, Henigan never imagined he was going to be the one coaching Ryan against the Mustangs in the Raiders’ final preseason scrimmage.
“I didn’t think I’d be over here coaching against those guys that I’ve coached for the last several years,” Henigan said.
Henigan’s new team scrimmages his former team at 7:30 tonight at Ryan. Henigan, a former Ryan offensive coordinator, was the head coach at Grapevine for five years before he succeeded Florence, who became the Denton school district’s athletic director.
Grapevine players attended Ryan’s scrimmage against North Crowley last week to visit Henigan and Ryan assistant coach Kyle Burch, who followed Henigan to Ryan. The Mustangs will open the season against North Crowley.
But when it comes to preparing for his old employer, Henigan said the Raiders have been planning for Rockwall instead. Ryan opens the season against the Yellowjackets on Aug. 29.
Henigan said the various position battles that have been fought during the first weeks of practice could become clearer after the final scrimmage.
“We still have some competition, but we still have some guys that had a good scrimmage [against] North Crowley and will get a harder look in this scrimmage,” Henigan said. “Some of those things are going to play themselves out [tonight].”
The biggest question mark coming into the fall revolved around who was going to be the starting quarterback.
Freshman Spencer Sanders, junior Austin Carter and senior Shomari Cann started the fall competing for the job, but it sounds like Henigan has his first-string quarterback picked out. The only thing he divulged Thursday was hints.
“You come to the scrimmage and you’re going to figure out real quick who the starter is,” Henigan said.
Denton set for Little Elm
With some positions yet to be sorted out and Denton’s first regular-season game a week away, today’s scrimmage against Little Elm at Bronco Field will help reveal where the deficiencies reside.
Denton coach Kevin Atkinson said that although it’s not a game, it’s still a well-timed challenge for a team dealing with several changes from a season ago.
“I think they’re really looking forward to seeing the weights and conditioning pay off,” Atkinson said. “It’s going to be exciting. It’s very important because it gives you a gauge of where you are. It’s exciting, just like the kids, to see how these things pay off. Like the three [nondistrict] games, the teams that we play and the things that we’re doing, they tell you where you need to execute better and where your mistakes are at. It’s going to be a good test for us. They’re very athletic.”
The scrimmage is an opportunity to work on all three phases of the game, especially special teams and core offensive schemes.
“Our whole offense is based on repetition,” Atkinson said. “We don’t want to do a whole lot of things; we just want to do the things we do really well. It’s just ingraining that muscle memory and sustaining a pattern that we can rely on all year long. It’s important that we get the reps right now so it can help us in a game.”
While the team still is not operating at full capacity and there are plays and formations to add to the playbook, Atkinson said he wants his team operating on autopilot by the time district play rolls around.
“To be a successful football player, you don’t want to think,” Atkinson said. “You just want to play. You want those habits so that you just react and you don’t have to think about the basics because those things are ingrained in you so much.”
Staff writers Ben Baby and Patrick Hayslip contributed to this report.
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.