GEORGETOWN — Three years ago, the Guyer Lady Wildcats were nowhere close to a playoff appearance, much less a state championship.
That season was Guyer head coach Kenny Blevins’ first year with the school, and his team finished sixth in an eight-team Class 5A district. That team had six freshmen in its starting lineup.
Three years later, those freshmen are part of a group of 10 seniors looking to bring home the state’s top prize.
Guyer (27-1) takes on Highland Park (25-0-5) today for the Class 4A state championship. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. at Georgetown’s Birkelbach Field.
The Lady Wildcats will try to earn the school’s first state championship in a girls sport — a task that’s been in the making for three years.
“It takes some time,” Blevins said. “They were able to grind it out to where we got to this point, and it paid off.”
Highland Park, the defending 4A champion, is looking to stay unbeaten for the 50th straight game, while Guyer is looking to stretch is undefeated streak to 19 games.
Guyer’s last loss was a 4-1 decision against Wylie East on Jan. 26. Since then, the Lady Wildcats have rolled through District 11-4A and through the playoff bracket, including a 4-2 win over Magnolia in the state semifinals on Thursday.
Guyer junior defender Peyton Bucklew said the Lady Wildcats have been fueled by their own success.
“It builds our confidence to be able to go out there,” Bucklew said. “We’re a good team — just as good as them — so I think all these wins, it motivates me to win it all.”
Winning it all will be much easier said than done. Highland Park is making its eighth state tournament appearance and has surrendered only two goals this postseason — one of those coming in the team’s 2-1 victory over Cedar Park in the state semifinals on Thursday.
Five starters from last year’s state title team will maintain their roles today in the Lady Scots’ 4-5-1 formation, with senior midfielder Katie Martin playing at the top.
Highland Park coach Stewart Brown said he doesn’t care much for his team’s gaudy win streak.
Brown said Guyer is a very strong offensive team that’s well organized — ingredients that should mix for an entertaining game.
“What’s exciting to me about [today’s] game is that it’s two teams that like to attack and like to score goals,” Brown said. “Hopefully that will be a lot of fun for everybody.”
Behind sophomore forward Brittany Crabtree and junior forward Hannah Alspach, attacking is something the Lady Wildcats have had no trouble doing. The duo has combined for 17 of the team’s 25 goals this postseason.
Crabtree and Bucklew compared Highland Park to Trophy Club Nelson. Nelson lost to the Lady Scots in a shootout in last year’s state final. This year, Guyer defeated Nelson in all three meetings, with the last victory a 3-0 shutout in the Region I final last weekend.
Crabtree said that when the season started, the Lady Wildcats knew they could be on the verge of a historic campaign.
“From the beginning, I think we knew we were a special team and together we could pull through and become state champions,” Crabtree said.
Blevins said his team knows it has done some great things this season, but the Lady Wildcats are focused on accomplishing something no girls team at Guyer has ever done.
“They’ve done some really incredible things, and I don’t think they think about it that much,” Blevins said. “I think that they are totally focused on this game and know that these chances are very, very — you never know when you’re going to get another one.”
BEN BABY can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @Ben_Baby.