Football: Guyer, Rider to open as teams to beat

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Two years removed from a state championship game appearance in Class 5A and with the majority of its offense back from a 5A playoff team in 2011, the general opinion heading into this season was that Guyer would compete with fellow powerhouse Wichita Falls Rider for the District 5-4A championship while leaving the other six teams to fight for the leftovers and the two remaining playoff spots.

Depending on who is asked, that perception remains, but one thing is for certain as 5-4A play begins this week and that’s the jumbled mess of teams that have positioned themselves for a run at the postseason.

“I still think Rider and Guyer are the two best teams,” Lake Dallas head coach Michael Young said. “I think they’re better than the rest of us at this point. Rider and Guyer have played good teams. They’re both really, really good. But I do think the other teams in our district are better than maybe anticipated.”

Azle, Fort Worth Brewer and Trophy Club Nelson are all 3-0, with only Nelson having serious playoff aspirations before the season began, according to outsiders.

Also in the mix are Lake Dallas (2-1), which suffered a tough loss to a talented Frisco Centennial team and has an identical record to Wichita Falls, and what appears to be an upstart Denton squad.

That leaves Guyer (1-2), which saw its second-half struggles lead to two blowout losses before picking up its first win over Flower Mound Marcus two weeks ago and completing its nondistrict slate against three Class 5A programs.

“I think everybody in our district would perceive us as one of the favorites,” Guyer head coach John Walsh said. “Coming into it, it’s us and Rider based on the type of talent we have coming back with [Rider quarterback] J.T. Barrett and [Guyer quarterback] Jerrod [Heard]. That puts the expectations on us. … We feel like we’re the favorites, and we’re gonna go in like we’re the favorites and let it fall where it falls.”

And when it comes to Guyer’s 1-2 start to the season, Rider head coach Jim Garfield is not putting any stock into it. He added that he does not see the two perceived favorites as being ahead of anyone else in what he called the toughest Class 4A district in the state.

“We do a pretty good job of keeping our kids focused on what’s happening that day,” said Garfield, whose Raiders are ranked No. 6 in the state in the latest Associated Press Class 4A poll. “If they looked at Guyer’s 1-2 record and then Byron Nelson’s 3-0 record, I think they would be thinking the same thing. They’ve been playing tough football. They just didn’t win two of their nondistrict games.”

At Denton, the Broncos have already surpassed their 2011 win total under new head coach Kevin Atkinson, who has installed an up-tempo passing offense that has the Broncos averaging 30 points per game in their three games.

“I’ve been pleased with the way the kids have played,” Atkinson said. “They’re executing. They’ve got a long way to go, but one thing I’ve seen is us improve each week and that’s our main goal. We don’t want to stay the same. You either get better or worse, and we want to try to get better every week.”

That’s the same thing Walsh wants to see from his team as it plays host to Azle on Thursday to open the district schedule.

“I’ve been real honest with them,” Walsh said. “It’s [Class 4A] definitely a different level of football [than 5A]. I try to tell them we’re not the best football team Guyer has ever fielded and the ones before them weren’t undefeated in 4A, so they better be ready to go.

“The district is not going to be just top-heavy. I know Lake Dallas is physical and had some move-ins they’re excited about. I think it’s going to be a competitive district.”

ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872. His e-mail address is aboedeker@dentonrc.com .

DISTRICT 5-4A STANDINGS

 

District

 

Overall

 

 

 

 

W

L

W

L

PF

PA

FW Brewer

0

0

3

0

120

81

Azle

0

0

3

0

119

37

Byron Nelson

0

0

3

0

95

62

Denton

0

0

2

1

90

69

WF Rider

0

0

2

1

83

75

Lake Dallas

0

0

2

1

73

76

Wichita Falls

0

0

2

1

65

53

Guyer

0

0

1

2

93

122

Sept. 14 results

Guyer 27, Flower Mound Marcus 14

Denton 41, Fort Worth Western Hills 33

Wichita Falls Rider 26, Amarillo 17

Lake Dallas 28, Carrollton Newman Smith 14

Bishop Lynch 24, Wichita Falls 7

Azle 34, Cleburne 30

Fort Worth Brewer 31, Fort Worth Arlington Heights 28

Trophy Club Nelson 40, Burleson Centennial 35

Thursday’s games

Azle at Guyer, 7 p.m.

Trophy Club Byron Nelson at Wichita Falls Rider, 7 p.m.

Friday’s games

Denton at Lake Dallas, 7 p.m.

Fort Worth Brewer at Wichita Falls, 7 p.m.

 


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