Allen head coach Tom Westerberg, left, high-fives quarterback Kyler Murray after a second-half touchdown against Pearland in the Class 5A Division I state championship game at AT&T Stadium in December. Allen won its second straight 5A Division I state title. (The Dallas Morning News file photo)
Since Guyer’s quick rise to Texas high school football elite, the Wildcats and head coach John Walsh have never shied away from playing top competition in nondistrict play. But this one takes the cake.
The Wildcats open the 2014 season in a rare battle of defending state champions. To make it more rare, it’s a battle of two-time defending state champs, as Guyer will play Allen in the Tom Landry Classic at North Texas’ Apogee Stadium.
In case you have a short memory, Allen is the two-time defending Class 5A Division I state champion. Guyer is the two-time defending Class 4A Division I state champion. Now, both are Class 6A teams. Allen has more boys in its school than Guyer has students, as the Eagles have the biggest pool in the state to choose from and despite losing 10 defensive starters, it’s hard to ever called an Allen team a rebuilding one.
No. 7 Guyer vs. No. 1 Allen, Apogee Stadium, 7:30 p.m. (Rankings are from preseason Class 6A Associated Press poll)
Series record: This is the first meeting between the teams.
What happened last year: Allen went undefeated, never really being tested by anyone outside of DeSoto. As a junior, standout quarterback Kyler Murray threw for 3,669 yards and 46 touchdowns to go with just nine interceptions. He rushed for 1,274 yards and 19 touchdowns while leading Allen to a second straight title. The Eagles also had a loaded defense, and they still might, but it’s yet to be determined with the 10 new starters.
Guyer dropped its season opener to eventual 5A Division II state champion Cedar Hill before reeling off 15 straight wins. They finished with an official record of 14-2 after a forfeit to Colleyville Heritage in nondistrict play for using an ineligible player. The Wildcats steamrolled opponents up until the state semifinal, when they needed a thrilling comeback from 10-0 down in the fourth quarter to get past Highland Park before thumping a previously unscathed San Antonio Brennan team for their second straight title.
What to expect: It’s hard to pick against Allen until someone beats them. But that’s the thing, eventually someone will beat the Eagles again. And this seems like a pretty prime position for Guyer. The Wildcats aren’t officially playing a home game, but they might as well be. They return eight defensive starters, several skill players on offense and get to see the debut of sophomore phenom Shawn Robinson, who is replacing Texas freshman Jerrod Heard under center. There is no talk about “playing with Allen” around Guyer or using the game as a measuring stick, so yes, that Guyer swagger is still alive and well, to no one’s surprise. Expect a high-scoring affair between two very strong offenses, and in the most cliche statement ever, look for a big play on special teams and the turnover ratio to decide this thing.
Allen player to watch: QB Kyler Murray (shocker, I know)
Guyer player to watch: DT Carl Thompson