Freshman All-American RB enrolls at Guyer

The pool of players to replace the production left when star running back Noah Cain left Guyer last month to transfer to IMG Academy in Florida grew by one on Tuesday.

According to his Twitter, Kaedric Cobbs enrolled at Guyer Tuesday morning and seemingly threw his name into the hat for what should be an interesting running back competition when spring football kicks off at the end of April.

Cobbs, who is a rock-solid 5-9, 195 pounds, starred last season as a freshman at Class 4A Melissa. He rushed for just shy of 1,300 yards on 125 carries and scored 15 touchdowns before he was named a Freshman All-American by MaxPreps. Ironically, Cain received the same honor after the 2015 season.

The Wildcats, who, as you might know, love to run the football, will be looking to replace one of the best 1-2 running back tandems in the state in Cain and senior Myron Mason, who signed with FCS Missouri State.

There are several players who will compete for carries, most notably Devin Jefferson, who will be a senior in 2017, Kaleel Rhoden (junior) and Harrison Bohannon (sophomore).

Now, you should add Cobbs’ name to that list.

Football: Ryan DT Dayton LeBlanc commits to North Texas

Ryan junior defensive tackle Dayton LeBlanc (56) tackles Denton senior running back/defensive back Caleb Osuofa (2), Friday, September 23, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Ryan junior defensive tackle Dayton LeBlanc (56) tackles Denton senior running back/defensive back Caleb Osuofa (2), Friday, September 23, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Dayton LeBlanc won’t be gone from Denton for long.

The junior defensive tackle has verbally committed to North Texas. He played for Ryan this past season but is expected to leave in March now that his father, Derrick LeBlanc, has left UNT to be the new defensive line coach at Kentucky.

Dayton LeBlanc is the first Mean Green commit from the Class of 2018.

“I have teammates who are going there, of course, and I still talk with the defensive linemen that my dad coached,” LeBlanc said. “It’s meant to be.”

Verbal commitments are nonbinding. The first day LeBlanc would be able to sign an official letter of intent is Feb. 7, 2018.

LeBlanc moved from Mississippi before the start of last season and immediately became a starter at tackle for a Ryan defensive unit already rich in talent. He finished the year with 77 tackles (17 for loss), three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He returned two for touchdowns.

LeBlanc would have been the only defensive lineman returning for 2017, and he said he was looking forward to competing for a state title with the Raiders, who finished 14-1 in 2016 and lost in a Class 5A Division I state semifinal.

That quickly changed earlier this month. Derrick LeBlanc was one of four North Texas assistants to leave the program for other opportunities. He spent one year with UNT and already has assumed the same role with the Wildcats.

Dayton LeBlanc said his family is expected to move to Kentucky on March 11. He said he will attend Henry Clay High School in Lexington for the remainder of his junior year, then transfer to the forthcoming Frederick Douglass High School for his senior year. That school is expected to be open for the 2017-2018 school year.

“I am, of course, going to miss everyone here. But I am at peace with it,” LeBlanc said. “I’m excited for this new opportunity [at North Texas]. I plan to redshirt my freshman year so I can be the best possible player I can be.

“I’ll play offense or defense. Whatever it takes.”

STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.

Basketball: Will the Ryan girls make the region tournament?

Denton Ryan Lady Raiders senior guard Julia McKeathen (5) and senior point guard Traeli Calhoun (33) hug after a win against the Chisholm Trail Lady Rangers. The Lady Rangers faced-off against the Lady Raiders, Tuesday, February 14, 2017, at Keller High School in Keller, Texas. Tomas Gonzalez/DRC

Denton Ryan Lady Raiders senior guard Julia McKeathen (5) and senior point guard Traeli Calhoun (33) hug after a win against the Chisholm Trail Lady Rangers. The Lady Rangers faced-off against the Lady Raiders, Tuesday, February 14, 2017, at Keller High School in Keller, Texas. Tomas Gonzalez/DRC

The Ryan girls have a chance to make the Class 5A region tournament in the same season where they won their first playoff game since 2011.

To keep that magical run going, the Lady Raiders first have to knock off Birdville at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night in a third round game at Keller Central.

So the biggest question for Ryan fans is: Can Ryan win?

At this point, anything is possible. I don’t think anyone is surprised that Ryan has made it this far, but the fact that Birdville is the opponent may be more of a head scratcher. Birdville is good but clearly many people had Saginaw Boswell pegged for this round. Boswell was coming off an absolute thrashing of Denton in the first round and was ranked No. 5 in Class 5A by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches.

When I spoke to Ryan coach Monesha Allen immediately following Ryan’s 60-51 win over Grapevine on Thursday, she praised Boswell up and down and seemed as if she knew that would be who they’d face next.

Birdville had other plans, beating Boswell in overtime, 41-39.

Birdville will be led by senior Savannah Lawson, who scored 17 points to go with 11 rebounds and four steals against Boswell. That included a layup with 24 seconds left to lift her team to the OT win.

Her performance was just good enough to offset a huge night from Boswell’s Audrey Warren, who finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three blocks. My buddy, Brian Gosset, covered the game that night for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. You can read about it here.

Regardless of who they play, Ryan could be difficult to beat if it continues its hot shooting from last week. The win over Grapevine saw the Lady Raiders hit seven 3-pointers, six from C’yera Coleman, and still get 18 points from senior post player Traeli Calhoun. Grapevine stormed back from a 19-point deficit, but could not maintain the same hot shooting.

One more win, and it’s a region tournament trip for Ryan or Birdville.

 

Guyer facing familiar foe in playoff opener

Euless Trinity's Jhivvan Jackson, shown here playing for the Puerto Rican U18 national team, scored 49 points in a win against Guyer in December. Now, Guyer gets a rematch to open the playoffs.

Courtesy photo/Euless Trinity’s Jhivvan Jackson, shown here playing for the Puerto Rican U18 national team, scored 49 points in a win against Guyer in December. Now, Guyer gets a rematch to open the playoffs.

Fans of Guyer basketball should be awfully familiar with Euless Trinity shooting guard Jhivvan Jackson by now.

Guyer (25-5) has been trying to stop the Trinity guard for years. As a freshman, Jackson played with current NBA star Myles Turner on Trinity’s team that beat Guyer in Denton. As a senior, Jackson played in Denton again back in December and he dropped 49 points in an 87-77 win over a shorthanded Guyer team.

Now, the Wildcats will get one last crack at Jackson on Tuesday night as Guyer faces Trinity in the Class 6A Region I bi-district round of the playoffs in a game which will see Guyer as a heavy favorite. The UTSA signee and Puerto Rican national team alum is averaging 22 points per game this season.

In that last meeting back in December, Guyer was without two starters in Jalen Wilson and Le’Tre Darthard, the team’s second- and fourth-leading scorers, respectively. It was the Wildcats’ first game without the pair and they scrambled to try and find an offensive rhythm in a game that saw sophomore De’Vion Harmon nearly go toe-to-toe with Jackson with 34 points of his own.

Jackson’s score by quarters in that matchup looked like this: 10-12-19-8. In that third-quarter outburst, he hit 3-pointers on three consecutive trips down the floor and a fourth after a one-possession break.

“He’s one of the best, most dynamic scorers in Texas,” Guyer coach Grant Long said of Jackson. “He’s a great shooter. He’s very shifty and very quick. He’s a hard guard for anyone. He can really get his shot off. He definitely draws a lot of attention and you have to know where he is at all times, especially in transition.”

In that game, Harmon scored 27 of his 34 points in the second half as it became clear it was a one-on-one battle between Harmon and Jackson, and Long said he doesn’t expect to see that again. And he certainly doesn’t want it with Wilson and Darthard back and the Wildcats at full strength with five starters averaging double figures on the season.

“Pretty much our whole team got minutes in that first game,” Long said. “Adding Jalen and Le’Tre back for this game will really help us. We don’t want it to be a one-on-one battle. We want it to be our five guys sharing the ball. We’ll gladly play one versus our team.”

Guyer softball team hit with big injury

Denton Guyer second baseman Morgan Medford (3) makes a throw to first from her knees after diving for a ground ball during the second inning of play against Plano. The two teams played Game 1 of a best-of-3 Class 6A first round softball playoff series at Prosper High School on April 28, 2016. (Steve Hamm/Special Contributor)

Denton Guyer second baseman Morgan Medford (3) makes a throw to first from her knees after diving for a ground ball during the second inning of play against Plano. The two teams played Game 1 of a best-of-3 Class 6A first round softball playoff series at Prosper High School on April 28, 2016. (Steve Hamm/Special Contributor)

The Guyer softball team’s Gold Bracket championship in the Tournament of Champions over the weekend came at a significant cost.

Sophomore Morgan Medford, who has moved to shortstop from second base this season after a breakout freshman year, suffered a broken wrist on Saturday while chasing a fly ball into foul territory and sliding into the fence.

Guyer coach Keith Medford, Morgan’s father, said the best-case scenario for his leadoff hitter and shortstop is to return in six weeks, which would put her back for the start of the second round of District 6-6A play.

Medford hit .667 with a .708 on-base percentage in the six wins over the weekend for the state’s 10th-ranked 6A team. She was the Newcomer of the Year last year on the Denton Record-Chronicle’s all-area team. As a freshman, Medford hit .508 with a .625 on-base percentage while scoring 32 runs.

Replacing a stellar leadoff hitter and a vacuum at shortstop will be tough for the Wildcats in a gauntlet of a district with powers like Plano West, Plano and Wylie. Guyer must now hope for a speedy (as possible) recovery for Medford.

All that aside, it was a great start for the Guyer softball team, which beat Arlington, Lake Dallas, Palmer, Frisco Liberty, Wylie East and Andrews to claim the tournament title.

Social media firestorm wants Guyer-Ryan resumed

Ryan's Antonio Anderson (27) and Scotty Young (10) and Guyer's J.W. Walsh (4) participate in the coin toss before a playoff football game, Saturday, December 5, 2009 at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton.

Ryan’s Antonio Anderson (27) and Scotty Young (10) and Guyer’s J.W. Walsh (4) participate in the coin toss before a playoff football game, Saturday, December 5, 2009 at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton.

I’ve been working here at the Denton Record-Chronicle for going on 10 years now. That’s a long time. I’ve seen a lot of good football and a lot of good games, and I’ve watched a program come from scratch and being really bad, as far as on-field results, to being a perennial state powerhouse.

When Guyer beat Ryan for the first time in 2008, it signaled the Wildcats’ arrival on the big stage, and since then, the teams have played some epic games. Each team has one blowout to its credit since that time, and the other meetings have all been classics. That includes the 2015 regular-season finale which Ryan won 31-28 a year after Guyer had claimed its blowout in the series history. In fact, before that 2014 Guyer win, we looked back on the history of the rivalry. That series, of course, includes an epic 2009 regional final playoff game played on a cold, windy Saturday afternoon in front of a packed house at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.

What struck me after that 2015 game was walking on the field afterward to talk to coaches and players and hearing all of the friendly banter and well-wishes going on between the kids — many of whom have grown up together playing with and against each other.

And for the foreseeable future, that game was the last between the two proud programs with four state championship rings between them. It’s a shame.

Those kids started talking on Twitter the other day, and before you knew it, there were several Guyer and Ryan players going back and forth on Twitter about what would happen if this game ever happens again, and some Guyer players suggesting they want to play, but it was simply up to Ryan to accept. I’m sure those Ryan players would feel the same way. Here’s the thing: This game couldn’t even take place until 2018, as both teams already have their 2017 schedules set, but that gives them plenty of time to make it happen.

My good buddies at Dave Campbell’s Texas Football decided to tackle the issue on Thursday afternoon on the Internet hit #DCTFLive, the world’s pre-eminent Internet show about Texas high school football. Hear what they had to say about the matter below:

What do you guys think? I think that’s a silly question, actually. I think I know what people in Denton want to see, especially when we have this beautiful stadium right in our own backyard that is rarely close to being filled to capacity. I have a pretty good idea of a game that would do the trick.

Football: Ryan’s LeBlanc confirms he’s following father to Kentucky

Ryan junior defensive tackle Dayton LeBlanc (56) tackles Denton senior running back/defensive back Caleb Osuofa (2), Friday, September 23, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Ryan junior defensive tackle Dayton LeBlanc (56) tackles Denton senior running back/defensive back Caleb Osuofa (2), Friday, September 23, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

The coaching shuffle that went down Thursday at North Texas also has impacted the Ryan football team. Junior defensive tackle Dayton LeBlanc, whose father, Derrick LeBlanc, is on his way to Kentucky after one year as UNT’s defensive line coach, also is leaving after just one season with the Raiders.

LeBlanc confirmed this morning that he will follow his father.

“It’s hard, but I’ve come to accept it,” LeBlanc said. “I love everyone at Ryan and I hope for the best for everyone. I just hope I end up at a school with great coaches like I had here.

“I’m going to continue working out with my teammates right up until I leave.”

LeBlanc moved from Mississippi before the start of last season and immediately became a starter at tackle for a defensive unit already rich in talent. He finished the year with 77 tackles (17 for loss), three fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. He returned two for touchdowns.

The Raiders went 14-1 this past season, and while their offense remains pretty much intact, almost everyone is gone on the defensive side. That includes Earnest Brown IV (Northwestern), Tyreke Davis (North Texas) and Delano Robinson (SMU).

LeBlanc would have been the only returning starter on the defensive line next year.

“We hate to see Dayton go, and we wish him and his dad the best,” Ryan coach Dave Henigan said. “He’s a great player and a great leader. It’s definitely tough for the Raiders, and I know it’s tough for Dayton.”

Our UNT beat writer, Brett Vito, confirmed Thursday that Derrick LeBlanc was leaving the program to take the same post at Kentucky. He’s one of four Mean Green assistants who have left the program. You can read that story here.

STEVE GAMEL can be reached at 940-566-6869 and via Twitter at @NewspaperSteve.

 

Ryan’s Earnest Brown IV makes 247Sports’ All-Impact Team for 2017 recruits

Ryan senior football player, Earnest Brown IV, signs his national letter of intent to Northwestern University at the Ryan High School Field House, Wednesday, February 1, 2017, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Ryan senior football player, Earnest Brown IV, signs his national letter of intent to Northwestern University at the Ryan High School Field House, Wednesday, February 1, 2017, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

A lot of really good things have been said over the last few years about Ryan defensive lineman and new Northwestern signee Earnest Brown IV. At 6-5, 240 pounds, Brown is big, athletic and fits the mold of a guy who not only should be successful at the college level, but could find himself playing right away.

Earlier today, 247Sports came out with its All-Impact Team for the 2017 class. Brown, of course, was on that list. The 26-man unit, which consists of 12 offensive players, 12 defensive players and two special teams players, takes a hard look at the prospects with the best combination of ready-to-play skill and opportunity.

Here is what they had to say about Brown …

Earnest Brown (Northwestern): The top-ranked player in Northwestern’s 2017 class will have a chance to play right away with C.J. Robbins leaving an opening on the defensive line. Brown, the nation’s No. 96 overall prospect, totaled 36 tackles for a loss as a senior.”

Brown is well aware of the opportunity he has at Northwestern and alluded to the bond he’s developed with Northwestern coaches when I spoke to him at Ryan’s national signing day ceremony on Wednesday. You can read that story here.

To see the full All-Impact Team from 247Sports, go here.

 

Lake Dallas’ Ijiyera plans to sign with Houston Baptist

Lake Dallas High School offensive lineman Segun Ijiyera (70), an area standout, follows a play during the first half as Prestonwood Christian Academy hosted Lake Dallas High School at Lions Stadium in Plano on Friday night, September 9, 2016.  (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Lake Dallas High School offensive lineman Segun Ijiyera (70), an area standout, follows a play during the first half as Prestonwood Christian Academy hosted Lake Dallas High School at Lions Stadium in Plano on Friday night, September 9, 2016. (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Lake Dallas lineman Segun Ijiyera was set to sign with Texas State just a few weeks ago.

Those plans changed in a hurry as national signing day approached.

Ijiyera was prepared to sign with Texas State as a member of its 2017 class. The school later asked Ijiyera to blue shirt, a practice that would involve joining the team as a preferred walk-on and being put on scholarship after the start of fall practice.

Following that path would allow Texas State to back date his scholarship to the 2018 class.

Ijiyera elected to follow another path, one that led to Houston Baptist. Ijiyera confirmed Sunday afternoon that he is planning to sign with the Southland Conference school on national signing day this week.

Ijiyera had five offers from Football Bowl Subdivision programs at one point or another during his recruiting process. He committed to Texas State over Tulane and Houston Baptist, which competes in the Southland Conference. The Southland is a Football Championship Subdivision conference.

“Texas State tried to give me a blue shirt offer after I committed,” Ijiyera said. “I didn’t want to go that route. Houston Baptist was my No.3 school and Tulane had already filled its spots.

“Houston Baptist made a lot of sense.”

The 6-2, 270-pound Ijiyera played mostly on Lake Dallas offensive line, but also played defense last season due to a series of injuries the Falcons suffered on their defensive line. He finished with 31 tackles, including nine behind the line of scrimmage, and a sack.

Ijiyera is a member of The Dallas Morning News’ Area Top 100 list.

“Houston Baptist is on the come-up,” Ijiyera said. “Playing time won’t be that hard to come by.”

— Brett Vito

Former Sanger QB can absolutely sling it

Sanger junior quarterback Dane Evans (17) hurls a pass to junior wide receiver Jay Cain (18) as Argyle junior linebacker Carston Bossow (43) tries to intercept, Friday, November 5, 2010 in Sanger.

Sanger junior quarterback Dane Evans (17) hurls a pass to junior wide receiver Jay Cain (18) as Argyle junior linebacker Carston Bossow (43) tries to intercept, Friday, November 5, 2010 in Sanger.

If you’ve been around this area for more than a few years, you remember the name Dane Evans.

The former Sanger quarterback finished his high school career among the all-time leading passers in Texas high school history and helped turn Sanger into a perennial contender with an instant shot of offense he gave the Indians after bursting onto the scene in 2010 and leading all Dallas-Fort Worth area 4A players in passing.

Evans went on to have a standout career for Tulsa — staking a real claim as the most successful collegiate quarterback to ever come out of this area.

The numbers speak for themselves, regardless of system at Tulsa. Evans finished his career with the Golden Hurricane with a bowl win in December and ended up with 11,680 career passing yards with 84 touchdown passes and 47 interceptions.

That leads us to the other day, when Evans was filmed training for the upcoming NFL Draft. One of his passes was clocked at a remarkable 61 mph — better than the Combine record of 60 mph from Logan Thomas in 2014, which broke the previous record of 59 mph held by Colin Kaepernick.

Evans has an outside chance of being drafted, but he’ll definitely end up in someone’s camp, and he’s landed on several “sleeper lists,” including this one published back in September. There’s some truth to him being a product of Tulsa’s high-octane offensive system, but there’s also obvious truth to him being a guy with a cannon where his right arm should be.

It’ll be interesting to follow Evans throughout this process leading up to the draft in April and see what happens.