Guyer gets another “season-definer”

Guyer wide receiver Quint Gardener (5) celebrates with teammates as he hugged by quarterback J.W. Walsh after catching the game-winning touchdown in the final 17 seconds of the Class 5A Division II state semifinal game between Guyer and Longview at SMU's Ford Stadium in Dallas on Dec. 11, 2010. Denton Guyer defeated Longview 28-27. (Brendan Sullivan/The Dallas Morning News)

As Guyer prepares to face Amarillo in a Class 4A Division I Region I semifinal (say that three times fast), the Wildcats can’t continue to ride high on the momentum they created for themselves last weekend by knocking off three-time defending 4A Division II state champion Aledo and ending the Bearcats’ 19-game playoff win streak.

But since I don’t have to prepare for Amarillo, I can.

No one expected Guyer to manhandle Aledo like it did. Though the final score only showed a 12-point difference, the feel of the game was that of a four- or five-touchdown game. It was supposed to be a game that could’ve been for the state championship but one of those games that would be unfortunate to have a loser, especially that early in the playoffs. But after Friday’s game, there was no feeling sorry for Aledo and second-guessing the way the bracket set up. Guyer was hands down the better team.

What will that win do for Guyer’s confidence moving forward, with four more wins needed to claim a 4A Division I state championship? Just ask Guyer head coach John Walsh, who’s seen these types of games before.

“I think these kind of games propel you to bigger things,” Walsh said after the win on Friday. “I think in those three years we made deep runs [2008-2010] we always had to beat a Cedar Hill or a Flower Mound Marcus. There’s always someone we had to beat, and those games just give you great momentum. I’m really proud of how our coaches and our whole program handled it today.”

So I thought I’d look back on those three seasons when Guyer went to two 4A state semifinals and one 5A state title game and see where the marquee, “season-defining” wins came.

2008: First off, you have to remember that Guyer was coming off two seasons of 1-19 football in its first two years of existence. No one expected much of the Wildcats, including Stephenville. In fact, to this day, that’s one of two Guyer games I haven’t covered because we decided it would be wasteful to send me to that game when it would just be a blowout and Guyer would lose. Oops. Guyer traveled to “the Ville” to play the perennial state powerhouse in the second game of the season without its starting quarterback, J.W. Walsh, then a sophomore with one start under his belt, due to injury that forced him to miss six games that year. Anyway, long story short, Guyer defied all odds and beat Stephenville, 19-16, with the help of a late goal-line stand that helped propel them on their run that wouldn’t end until Week 15. That run also included its first-ever win over crosstown foe Ryan and a thrilling come-from-behind victory in Lubbock over Wolfforth Frenship.

2009: The first big win this season came in midseason when Guyer, led by Walsh, met up with Lake Dallas, led by James Franklin, who had tanned Guyer’s hide the previous season with Walsh on the shelf. Guyer went to Lake Dallas and won, 28-21, as both teams were ranked in the top-10 in the state. In the fourth round of the playoffs, Guyer met up with Ryan, who had embarrassed Guyer on television in Week 10, and picked off Scotty Young five times en route to a 28-25 win over Ryan at C.H. Collins in, what is to this day, probably the most fun game I’ve ever covered.

2010: The season got off to a 1-1 start after Guyer fell in overtime to 5A powerhouse Cedar Hill at Cowboys Stadium in its first game against a 5A opponent. It was a loss, but it proved that Guyer belonged in 5A, as everyone would come to see later in the year when the Wildcats were in the state championship game. The next week, J.W. Walsh hit Quint Gardener in the final seconds for a touchdown to beat Mesquite Horn by three. The biggest game of that season, though, came in Week 10 when Guyer traveled to Southlake’s Dragon Stadium and physically whipped the Dragons, one of the most well-known programs in the country. That set off a spectacular run through the postseason that included wins over Flower Mound Marcus, Cedar Hill, Abilene Cooper, Carroll (again) and their personal demon, Longview, who they beat in heart-attack inducing fashion on a late blocked punt from Dan Kottman. It’s really a shame Guyer couldn’t have finished the job against Cibolo Steele (losing 24-21) because that would’ve been one of the greatest playoff runs in recent memory.