Top 5 games of 2013: No. 3 — Guyer vs. Highland Park, football

Guyer head coach John Walsh holds up the Class 4A Division I state semifinal trophy after Guyer' mounted a comeback against Highland Park in one of the top games of 2013.

For a while, it didn’t look like the Class 4A Division I state semifinal between Guyer and Highland Park was going to be very exciting. In fact, Guyer’s chances of repeating as state champions looked pretty bleak as the two teams entered the fourth quarter at Allen’s Eagle Stadium.

But Guyer has a knack for playing in thrilling state semifinal games. The Wildcats’ came up with a huge fourth-quarter comeback win over the Scots, and that contest checks in as the No. 3 game of 2013.

Dec. 14, 2013
Guyer 22, Highland Park 16

I checked my Twitter feed while hanging out at the Laundromat, and I saw Guyer and Highland Park were scoreless after the first quarter. OK, it’s just a slow start. But when I left with a clean batch of laundry, I checked the score again. Highland Park 10, Guyer 0.

All right, this might actually happen.

As the Wildcats entered the fourth quarter trailing by 10 points, there were strong thoughts that the defending Class 4A Division I champs might be dethroned before they could protect their crown.

A year after a wild semifinal win against Tyler John Tyler, Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard led the Wildcats back for the 22-16 win.

Guyer scored all 22 of its points in the game’s final nine minutes. Heard finished the game with 24 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns, and he was 12-for-19 passing for 150 yards.

After Guyer scored 14 straight points, Highland Park responded and took a 16-14 lead with 2:18 left in the game. Heard stepped back on the field and the three-year starter added to his legacy.

The Texas commit led Guyer down the field and capped a 57-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run with 55 seconds left.

“You could write a book about our state semifinal games,” Guyer coach John Walsh said after the game. “I didn’t get nervous until they [Highland Park] answered us back [with 2:18 remaining to take a 16-14 lead] in five plays, and then I got a little nervous.”

While the Wildcats were scoreless and trailing, the game was played under overcast skies. When Guyer started making its comeback, the sun poked out from behind the slab of gray and shined upon the Wildcats.

You can look into that all you want. Whether it was a mere coincidence or destiny-related, I’ll let you make that call.

“That’s when we knew the game was ours,” Guyer junior defensive lineman Carl Thompson said. “When the sun came out, we knew everything would go our way. Everyone started jumping and cheering — the fans, the players — we knew it was our time.”

It’s certainly not the first time Guyer’s pulled off a dramatic playoff win.

Last season, Guyer blew a 19-point fourth-quarter lead against John Tyler in the state semis but the Wildcats somehow managed to comeback for the 57-53 victory. Both teams combined for 22 points in 74 seconds, and it was the undisputed No. 1 game of 2012. It’s one of the greatest games anybody will ever see.

In 2013, most people figured Guyer’s toughest 4A games weren’t coming until the final two rounds of the playoffs (that is, unless Aledo faced Guyer).  Highland Park pushed Guyer and almost spoiled dreams of another state championship.

But after Heard’s heroics helped the Wildcats scrape past Highland Park, Guyer overwhelmed San Antonio Brennan to win its second straight state title and made sure its comeback against the Scots was not in vain.

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