With the Texas High School Football season just days away, I figured we’d take a look here at the top 5 players Guyer is relying on this season to help the Wildcats repeat as Class 4A Division I state champions. Consider this list as the “most valuable” players in order for a successful season.
Before we get started, let’s talk about some guys that are key, but just missed the cut of being in that upper echelon of importance that comes with being in the top-5.
Jordan Wallace/Ian Edwards — These two will be the new starting safeties for Guyer, and big things are expected of the juniors. There was no escaping the fact that the secondary last year had its issues. This year, they shouldn’t, and these two will have a lot to do with that.
Alex Honey — This kid looks the part, minus about 15 pounds. He’s tall and can get down field in a hurry and will be looked upon to be Guyer’s wide receiver that can stretch the field in Ellis Jefferson’s absence. He showed that ability in the scrimmage with Aledo.
Jonathan Pershall/Nate Maki — As long as I can remember, Guyer’s had a tight end that didn’t do a thing in the passing game but was an Earth mover in the run game and a key to Guyer’s vaunted run attack. This year, that’s Pershall. Maki won’t get a lot of acclaim stat-wise but is a masher at fullback and will spearhead one of the best ground attacks in the state.
Follow the jump for the top 5 and get excited, folks. Football is almost here.
5. Tailback duo — Last season, D.J. Breedlove was an outside-the-tackle, speed back with the wiggle and shake you want in a tailback. Richard Whitaker was the between-the-tackles more punishing straight-line runner. Both topped 1,000 yards and scored double-digit touchdowns. This season, Whitaker is gone and Breedlove is back for his senior season. But this year, Breedlove will shift to the more workhorse masher in the backfield, proving his versatility, and junior Anthony Taylor will step into the “lightning” in the thunder and lightning combination. Breedlove is fast. Taylor is blazing. If he hits the edge and gets past the second level, it’s trouble. Look for another season of Guyer tailbacks pushing the 3,000-yard mark for rushing yards.
4. Thomas Ferguson — The senior defensive captain led the area last season with 10 sacks — albeit in 16 games. Along with Carl Thompson, Ferguson will be one of the leaders up front for a defense that is expected to a game-winning defense this season after giving up more points than they would’ve liked last year.
3. Returning big boys — Remember that rushing attack we just talked about? Well, they wouldn’t be nearly as potent without the big guys up front. Guyer is known for having big, strong offensive linemen and this year will be no different but several of them will be new faces. Hunter Krastin and Bryan Barrett are the only two returning starters from a unit that led one of the best ground attacks in Texas and rushed for 612 yards in the state semifinal game, in 2012, not 1992.
2. Demontrie Taylor — The undersized linebacker did it all for Guyer’s defense in 2012, finishing second on the team with 150 tackles and showing a nose for the ball with four fumble recoveries and a pick. He has the athleticism of safety but the instincts and aggressiveness of a linebacker, making for a lethal combination for opposing offenses. He’s even got an offer from New Mexico State as a safety/linebacker hybrid. Now, he’ll be the lone returning starter in the linebacking corps and will carry a lot of weight both on the field and off it.
1. Jerrod Heard — I bet you guessed it. Look, a lot of the time, quarterbacks get unnecessary acclaim (and blame) and hype, but this isn’t one of those cases. All you need to do is look at the last two high school games Jerrod Heard played. In the state semis he rushed for 318 yards and four touchdowns. In the state title game he accounted for all seven of his team’s touchdowns and scored three rushing TDs in the final six minutes of the third quarter to erase a 16-point, second-half deficit en route to claiming Guyer’s first state title and winning Offensive MVP honors. And guess what? This year, he’s better, especially when it comes to dropping back and slinging the rock, and not relying on play-action to do so. The Texas pledge deserves every bit of hype and accolades placed on his shoulders and not only is he the most important player for Guyer, he’s one of the most important, dynamic players in the state, if not the country.