The annual tease known as spring football comes to an end tonight, as the two-time defending Class 4A Division I state champion Guyer Wildcats will play their annual spring game at 6 p.m.
While the coaches have already done all of their evaluating over the past few weeks in spring practice and don’t really care too much for tonight’s game, it’s most for the fans, so here’s a little guide of what to watch for if you’re heading out to Guyer tonight.
When spring football began, the Wildcats had four realistic options to be their starting quarterback in the fall, and they all were promising with their own strengths and weaknesses.
David Haynes — He entered the spring as a bit of favorite, thanks in large part to his experience in Guyer’s system considering the other three candidates — Kevin Dillman, Shawn Robinson and David Moore — were all move-ins. Haynes has been in Guyer’s system since middle school but found a niche as a starting wide receiver last year. In fact, he was Guyer’s leading receiver with 41 catches. Ultimately, it was decided he’d be best served there and he was moved back to wideout full-time at the beginning of the spring.
Shawn Robinson — When you see this kid, let it sink in that he is 14 years old. Yes, 14. At 6-2, 195 pounds, he physically looks like Jerrod Heard already. He throws a great ball and he’s an electric runner, although you won’t see that in full effect since QBs won’t be live in the game. He’s gotten the starter’s reps since he arrived after the hiring of his mother, Andrea, as the head girls basketball coach and his father, Othell, as the new tight ends coach. At first, I thought there would be no way Guyer would roll a 15-year-old (his birthday is this summer) out against Allen on Aug. 29, but I think I was wrong.
David Moore — This is perhaps the most interesting of all of these guys. Moore was probably running fourth of the bunch when the spring began, but he’s done all he can to earn playing time and has been elevated to running with the No. 2s. Guyer head coach John Walsh said he might be the best pure passer of the bunch and he’s improved his running ability a ton throughout the spring. Guyer won’t go with a two-quarterback system, but don’t be surprised to see Moore getting action in some manner.
Kevin Dillman — The absolute wild card of the bunch, Walsh called him the “X-factor.” Dillman’s story is a unique one. A Sweden native who somehow picked up American football, he was a foreign exchange student in California before becoming a U.S. citizen and setting the recruiting world on fire with nearly 20 offers. He absolutely looks the part at about 6-3, 220 pounds. He committed to Nebraska this winter while having played around 10 varsity football games in his career due to injury, the latest of which was a ruptured Achilles last season. He’s still not 100 percent after that injury and still can’t drive the ball with full force, much less run effectively. But he’s basically a genius, has a great grasp of the offense in his short time and has drawn praise from everyone involved in Guyer’s program for his team-first attitude and approach. There’s a chance he never plays for Guyer (depending on his rehab) and he’s going to sign with Nebraska. That’s just insane.
As was pointed out in today’s paper, this is the biggest question mark on Guyer’s team, and it’s a biggie. Walsh did say he’s more comfortable with the unit than he was when the spring began, but he’s working in five new starters after graduating all five last year. There are two players — Gunnar Chance and Max Herbig — who started a few combined games last year due to injury, but the other guys are varsity newbies. One interesting player to watch will be Xavier Brown, who moved over from defensive end, and will play tackle. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he’s big enough and will bring some serious athleticism to the line.
Walsh has never coached a running back at Guyer that has earned a Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship. In fact, in all his coaching days, he’s coached one, while at Brownwood. There’s a very good chance Guyer will have its first this year in the form of Anthony Taylor, who finally becomes Guyer’s No. 1 back after serving as the change-of-pace back for two years behind DJ Breedlove. Taylor has the home run speed that past Guyer backs haven’t (he qualified for the state track meet in the 200 and 800 relay), and he’s also big and strong. Walsh said he could be a 2,000-yard rusher with the right amount of carries. It’s not far-fetched.
The Guyer offense has a chance to be great. The Guyer defense pretty much already is. The unit returns eight starters from last year’s championship squad, and make no mistake, last year’s defense was a championship defense. The 2012 unit gave up some big point totals and yards in wins. The 2013 unit won some games, most notably that state semifinal win over Highland Park when the offense was shut out for three quarters. Again, eight of those guys are back. A few of the key returners won’t play tonight, as defensive tackles Isiah Correa and Carl Thompson (who’s picking up a new college offer seemingly every day) haven’t practiced all spring, and safety Jordan Wallace was recently banged up with a minor injury.
Defensive end Derek Watson, a pass-rush specialist who picked up an offer from UConn this week to go with Nevada and UNT, will be on the field and joined by his fellow bookend Tevan McAdams, who’s the brother of former Guyer standout Taylor Bible. Another big spot for the defense? They return all four secondary starters, including Wallace. Fellow safety Ian Edwards has been the story of the spring, according to Walsh, as he’s emerged into a play-maker after having already showed what a superior athlete he was last year. Cornerbacks Trey Woods and DeMarcus Owens have both started since they were sophomores and Woods, like Thompson, has 32 starts under his belt in two seasons.
So that oughta do it. Get out to Guyer tonight and enjoy the show.