The last time Guyer and Ryan met, it was arguably one of the biggest days of football in Denton school district history.
In December 2009, Guyer and Ryan met for the right to advance to the Class 4A Division I state semifinals and drew one of the largest crowds in the history of C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, on a cold, blustery afternoon.
Guyer won that game, avenging a loss to its crosstown foe earlier in the season. The teams haven’t played since. Tonight, they meet again at C.H. Collins after a four-year hiatus, with different stakes and some new faces, including Ryan head coach Dave Henigan, who replaced Joey Florence this year after Florence became the DISD athletic director.
The following is a look back at the brief history of the Guyer-Ryan rivalry, which has seen its tables turned a bit after early dominance by the Raiders.
Dec. 5, 2009
Class 4A Region I final
Guyer 28, Ryan 25
In a packed stadium with howling winds, Guyer edged Ryan to advance to the Class 4A Division I semifinals, where the Wildcats fell to Longview the following week.
The story of the game was the way Guyer’s defense harassed record-setting Ryan quarterback Scotty Young, who ended his high school career by throwing five interceptions, three of which came inside the Guyer 5-yard line. Future Oklahoma State star Josh Stewart, then a Guyer junior, returned an interception 72 yards for a touchdown and blocked a field goal and an extra point.
After being corralled in the previous meeting, Guyer’s ground game kicked into high gear, rushing for 348 yards to help control the game’s tempo. Tailback Jamaine Wilhite rushed for 240 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries and quarterback J.W. Walsh rushed for another 115 yards.
Guyer wasn’t mistake-free, as Walsh threw two interceptions and the Wildcats coughed the ball up six times, but they didn’t lose any of those fumbles and made the Raiders pay for their mistakes.
Nov. 5, 2009
Ryan 50, Guyer 29
Unlike in their playoff matchup a month later, Young was remarkably efficient and productive, showing why he was one of the nation’s top high school signal-callers that year as the Raiders toppled the No. 2 Wildcats. Guyer entered the televised game as the favorite but left with a resounding defeat by the Raiders, who rolled up 371 yards of offense, including 297 from the right arm of Young, who tossed five touchdown passes and just one interception.
Ryan scored the final 21 points to pull away after Guyer had tied the game at 29 late in the third quarter.
Guyer regrouped to beat Saginaw in its playoff opener, while Ryan rolled into the rematch a month later.
Nov. 7, 2008
Guyer 42, Ryan 28
The lead in the DRC story by former staff writer Jeff Andrews the following day told the story: “There’s a new football king in the city of Denton.”
Legendary Ryan coach Florence was handed his first loss by a DISD school in his career by the upstart Guyer program, as the Wildcats rushed for 348 yards and pulled away from a two-point halftime deficit to top the Raiders in a statement victory as part of Guyer’s 2008 coming-out party.
After embarrassing defeats at Ryan’s hands in their first two meetings, Guyer announced its arrival on the local scene in a year that saw it advance all the way to the Class 4A Division I semifinal.
With this game, the rivalry was born.
Oct. 19, 2007
Ryan 42, Guyer 20
Guyer won just one game on the season, and it didn’t come against the big kid on the block in the second game in the series.
Ryan allowed Guyer to play close for a quarter before pulling away with 28 consecutive points to score an easy win before the Wildcats were able to save face a bit with two fourth-quarter touchdowns after the game had been decided.
The Ryan rout began immediately as Nick Rinks returned the opening kickoff 100 yards to the end zone and Ryan quarterback Austin Axtell threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another.
In a turnover-plagued season, Guyer’s luck was no different on this day, as the Wildcats lost three fumbles and threw one interception.
Oct. 20, 2006
Ryan 56, Guyer 7
While Guyer was still learning how to play varsity football, Ryan was one of the most respected programs in the state, and it showed on the field as the Raiders outmatched Guyer in their inaugural showdown on Ryan’s homecoming night.
Guyer carried the ball 40 times for just 31 yards and had just 84 passing yards as the Wildcats avoided a shutout with a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Jake Witt to Joe Don Boyce. The Raiders scored a defensive touchdown and a special teams touchdown in a game that was never in doubt.
Following the game, Florence had a bit of foreshadowing for his crosstown rival’s future success.
“Guyer is doing a lot of good things, and I give a lot of credit to their coaches,” Florence said. “They’re headed in the right direction.”