The following is a little insight into the mind of a high school beat writer:
I won’t lie. It’s been pretty fun covering Guyer football for the past several years. I’ve seen several players that have gone on to have successful careers on Saturdays, and over the past couple of years, I’ve also seen a lot of horrible football games.
Guyer is good. They were a really good 5A team, and they’re a flat-out dominant 4A team, to the point where it becomes a challenge trying to come up with angles and advances of games you know are going to be blood-lettings.
With that said, I can’t imagine how hard it is for kids to get motivated for a game against a team that is 0-6 in district play, like Guyer did for Thursday’s regular-season finale. The Wildcats are looking to hit the postseason on a high note and defend their Class 4A Division I state championship, which they’re favored to do. After that, though, things will get interesting.
Guyer won Thursday’s game 70-7 over FW Brewer in a game that you honestly have to wonder if Guyer would’ve been better off not playing when it comes to preparing for the postseason.
Guyer is expected to move up to Class 6A (just a new, fancy name for Class 5A) and return to where they were for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In 2010, Guyer’s first in the state’s largest classification, the Wildcats lost a heartbreaker in the Class 5A Division II state championship after a remarkable run through the postseason which saw them knock off state powers like Cedar Hill, Southlake Carroll and Longview en route to the title game.
I thought, with this last Class 4A district game in the history books, that we’d take a look at the difference between playing Class 4A football and playing Class 5A, soon-to-be 6A football.
Combined score in District 5-4A games
2013: 382-74, through seven games (7-0 record)
2012: 365-73, through seven games (7-0)
The closest game Guyer had as a member of District 5-4A in this two-year run? A 21-10 defeat of Wichita Falls Rider in 2012.
Now, let’s take a look at what Guyer did as a member of District 7-5A in 2010 and 2011.
Combined score in District 7-5A games
2011: 234-112 (5-2)
2010: 289-120 (6-1)
Guyer lost to Southlake Carroll and Keller Central in 2011, Jerrod Heard’s first year as the starting quarterback, and dropped a game to Coppell in 2010.
So, you can see the difference. In two years in 5-4A, Guyer allowed almost as many points as it did in 2010 in 7-5A, when Guyer was a state finalist and ended Southlake Carroll’s home district winning streak that had gone years and years. That year, 7-5A was arguably the best district in the state, as Coppell, Guyer and Carroll all made it to at least the region final.
Guyer head coach John Walsh sees the difference, as well. And while he undeniably likes the idea of being the heavy favorite in most of his games, he admitted it’s a lot more fun when you’re challenged on a weekly basis.
“The honest answer is when you play at the 5A or 6A level week in and week out, you’re challenged,” Walsh said. “Does that make it funner than not being challenged? The answer is yes.”
But there’s also an unquestioned positive to being able to take your starters out after halftime in several games. When Guyer was in 5A and will be in 6A, it will be one of the smaller schools in the classification, which means that depth advantage Guyer has in Class 4A will be no longer, and injuries will be more of a concern.
“It’s hard to stay healthy because you’re challenged every week and you don’t get to rest your kids as much,” Walsh said.
But perhaps the biggest difference between the two two-year stints in the respective classifications has been the Wildcats’ postseason runs. It is what it is, and you play who you have to, but we’d all be kidding ourselves if we tried to say Guyer’s run to the 4A Division I state title game was as impressive as its 2010 run to the 5A Division II title game.
“Not to downgrade what we did last year or what we’re gonna do this year, but when you look at the playoffs and you see the Southlakes and Cedar Hills and Marcus and [Abilene] Cooper vs. whatever, it’s much more difficult,” Walsh said.
When Guyer moves up to 6A next season, the Wildcats won’t waste any time jumping into the fire feet-first. In case they forget they’re moving up with the big boys again, Walsh has agreed to play Allen, the favorite to defend its Class 5A Division I state championship this December and one of the state’s largest schools in terms of enrollment.
Walsh welcomes the challenge though, as he has every year with tough nondistrict schedules including matchups with Cedar Hill, last year’s 5A Division II runner-up, for the past four seasons.
People might think Walsh is crazy. He understands the questions, but he believes that type of scheduling has made the Wildcats program what it has become. Remember, just last year, Guyer got outscored 108-66 in two losses to open the season that exposed some weaknesses. Then, Guyer reeled off 14 straight wins with the last one coming at Cowboys Stadium (now AT&T Stadium) in the state title game.
“How we approach it at Guyer is, ‘It is what it is,’ and we can’t wait to get in 6A and just pin our ears back and go and do what we did in 5A last time,” Walsh said. “We’re real excited about it. We’re really glad we’re opening with Allen. Everyone thinks we’re crazy, but you know what I think about my nondistrict games and after we get through with that buzzsaw, and I don’t think it’ll be any harder until the end. We’ll see the best and we’ll see where we’re at in a hurry. We’re going to be in a dogfight and whether we win or we get our rear ends handed to us, we’ll know where we’re at and where we have to go.”