In this 2009 file photo, Denton shortstop Hunter Dozier (11) throws out a runner at first base in a game against Wichita Falls. Now, he's a highly-rated MLB draft prospect. (DRC File Photo)
Hunter Dozier had a bit of a rough high school athletic career for Denton as one of a few standout players on both the football field, as the Broncos quarterback, and on the baseball diamond on an average Broncos team. But he always excelled, and it earned him a scholarship to play baseball at Stephen F. Austin.
A few years later, all that hard work is set to pay off in a big way with the MLB First Year Player draft approaching next month. Dozier is set to be a very high pick in the draft after putting a great three years as a Lumberjack with his junior season nearing an end.
Dozier recently checked in at No. 39 on Baseball America’s list of 2013 MLB draft prospects and is the fourth-rated shortstop after putting up solid numbers for SFA. This seaosn, he’s hitting .398 with 16 home runs, 23 doubles, 47 RBIs and 44 runs scored, showing the potential to be a plus-offensive shortstop in the bigs.
Dozier is ranked No. 54 on the same type list by ESPN draft guru Keith Law and is on the watchlist for the Brooks Wallace Award, given to the nation’s top collegiate shortstop.
It’s unknown whether Dozier will leave school if drafted, but it’s hard to imagine him staying at SFA if he’s picked anywhere around where he’s slotted — anywhere from a late first-rounder to a second-rounder.
It would mark the second straight year an area shortstop has been drafted high in the MLB draft, as Argyle’s Austin Aune was a second-round selection by the New York Yankees in 2012, forgoing a chance to go play both baseball and football at TCU.
Josh Stewart, pictured here in December 2010, is now the leading returning receiver in the Big 12. His touching story will be featured on Fox Sports Southwest. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)
In this job, there is the occasional story you write that sticks with you for a long time, and to this day, the story of Josh Stewart, the former Guyer standout and current Oklahoma State wide receiver, is one of the highlights of my near-decade long career in sports journalism (wow, I’m really aging myself).
It’s the ultimate story of rising out of what could have been a pretty horrible situation and making the most of what you’re given, and ultimately succeeding in a big way.*
*Excuse some of the weird formatting on The Dallas Morning News version, I can’t find ours anywhere.
As it stands, Stewart is the leading returning receiver in the Big 12 after a breakout sophomore season last year, and there’s a pretty solid chance he’ll become the first Guyer athlete to go big-time at the professional level as some NFL team is going to be very lucky to have him in a year or two.
Anyway, Stewart’s story is being re-told in the current running of the Oklahoma State preview show, which begins running on Fox Sports Southwest Thursday at 10 p.m. with subsequent showings scheduled later in the week. But if you’re a fan of good stories and a good kid, set your DVR and plan to watch it.
In the jumbled mess that is District 5-4A baseball, there’s one thing we know — well, two things. One, Wichita Falls Rider, at 10-3 in district play, has clinched the district title as the regular season wraps up today. Two, that’s all we know and the rest of the district is completely up in the air.
So sit back, put on your thinking cap, and let’s break down what could happen with the remaining three playoff spots that are up for grabs between Guyer, Trophy Club Nelson, Azle and Lake Dallas, with Fort Worth Brewer, Denton and Wichita Falls all eliminated.
Heading into Friday’s finales, Guyer, Nelson and Azle are all tied at 8-5 in district play. Guyer has the best cumulative record against the other two schools having swept Nelson and split with Azle. Lake Dallas, at 7-6, is alone in fifth place.
Tonight’s games that have a bearing on this: Nelson-Denton, Guyer-Brewer, Lake Dallas-Azle.
Read on to see what all could happen pending the results of said games.
Former Guyer standout, and current Oklahoma State defensive end, Jimmy Bean sacks Mesquite Horn quarterback Collin Strahan during their game at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in 2010. (Al Key/Denton Record-Chronicle)
Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh won Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors last season. His teammate, wide receiver Josh Stewart, prepares to enter the 2013 college football season as the leading returning receiver in the Big 12 after topping 1,000 yards last year for the Cowboys with seven touchdown catches and 101 grabs on the season.
As you all know, the two were a potent pass-catch combination in high school at Guyer and now they’ll be joined by another Guyer teammate as key contributors for the Cowboys in 2013 as defensive end Jimmy Bean is listed as a starter on the team’s post-spring depth chart, which was released Tuesday morning.
Bean graduated in 2010 with Walsh and Stewart and played in three games as a true freshman before redshirting last season after an August injury slowed his progress. Now a redshirt sophomore, like Walsh, he’s finally ready to make an impact for the Cowboys after a great spring game over the weekend which saw him record five sacks.
As a senior at Guyer, Bean had 78 tackles, including 19 behind the line of scrimmage as the Wildcats fell to Cibolo Steele in the Class 5A Division II state championship game.
Stewart, obviously, was listed as a starter on the preliminary depth chart while head coach Mike Gundy continued his quarterback mystery as all three of Oklahoma State’s 1,000-yard passers from last season are listed as equals on the depth chart with the keyword “or” between their names.
Lake Dallas junior Jackson Owens catches Guyer senior Cole Wessling (3) in a rundown at third on March 19 in Corinth. Both teams face uncertain postseason futures with one game remaining in the regular season. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)
Oh, what a difference a week can make.
At this time last week, Guyer and Wichita Falls Rider were tied for the lead in the jumbled mess that is District 5-4A baseball. Rider won that game, and has since clinched the 5-4A title. The Raiders are the only team to have clinched a playoff spot out of the district with one game to play. Now, Guyer is one more loss from the possibility of missing the playoffs. Lake Dallas is also in the mix and with a win Friday could end up playing in a play-in game for the fourth seed in the playoffs, which begin next week.
It’s simple for both teams: Win on Friday and you’re in good shape. Lose, and things get hairy. If Lake Dallas loses to Azle on Friday, the Falcons will miss the playoffs after such a promising start to the district slate. If the Falcons win, they’ll likely play a play-in game against the same Azle team the following day.
For Guyer, it’s a little safer bet to make the postseason. A win on Friday against Brewer, and the Wildcats could finish anywhere from the No. 2 seed to the fourth seed, depending on other results involving Byron Nelson and Lake Dallas-Azle. A loss to Brewer, and the Wildcats could finish second, third, fourth or even fifth and miss out on the postseason altogether, a week after being in first place.
With school testing going on this week, teams can’t play until Friday, when the regular season will come to an end. Needless to say, it’ll be an interesting night in 5-4A baseball.
Guyer sophomore Hannah Hodapp battles Lake Dallas pitcher Chrisa Head on Thursday in Corinth. Hodapp, Guyer's No. 9 hitter, hit a two-run homer off Head to help lead Guyer to a 9-1 victory over Lake Dallas. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)
Since District 5-4A began competition in its current state back in the fall, it’s been a top-heavy district in just about everything.
Now that we’re into the most wonderful time of the year and diamond sports, we’re seeing that’s not necessarily the case, and especially in softball.
It sounds cliche to say, but with the exception of teams playing Wichita Falls (winless in district play), there really, truly isn’t an easy out in district play.
Fort Worth Brewer, which no one really put into the list of teams expected to make it out of the district into the postseason, is the only undefeated team in district play and beat state-ranked Wichita Falls Rider last week, all behind its star pitcher.
After that there’s a gaggle of 3-1 teams: Guyer, Trophy Club Nelson and Rider. Nelson beat Guyer. Rider beat Nelson. One team that was expected to emerge this season was Lake Dallas, which is loaded with young star players, and after Thursday’s 9-1 loss to Guyer, the Lady Falcons have dropped three straight — to Guyer, Nelson and Rider. Continue reading
James Franklin (2010), left, Josh Stewart (2011) and Mario Edwards (2012) were top area recruits in previous years. This year, the number of top-level recruits has dropped. (DRC photo illustration)
Tomorrow is one of the bigger days every year around these parts as high school athletes from across the area will sign their national letters of intent to play college athletics.
In recent years, the Denton area has been rich in big-time talent in all sports, most specifically on the gridiron. It all started back in 2010 with what is still arguably the best class, top-to-bottom, to ever come out of this area. It included Ryan’s record-setting QB Scotty Young (Texas Tech, transferred to Louisiana Tech), Lake Dallas QB James Franklin (starting at Missouri) and Guyer defensive tackle Taylor Bible (no longer at Texas, playing JUCO). Young and Bible were both Parade All-Americans.
The following year featured guys like J.W. Walsh and Josh Stewart, who both signed with Oklahoma State and are now both playing significant roles in the Cowboys’ program. Then, of course, came 2012 when Ryan had the nation’s top recruit, according to ESPN, in defensive end Mario Edwards, who started as a true freshman for Florida State.
Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard was named the postseason Class 4A MVP by Dave Campbell's Texas Football. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)
The love just keeps coming for Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard.
With the release of the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Winter Edition this week, Heard has been named by the publication as their postseason MVP in Class 4A. This after he was named the Denton Record-Chronicle All-Area MVP last week, and earned District 5-4A MVP honors for his play in 2012. Of course, thanks to his lack of stats because of Guyer’s blowout wins in the regular season, Heard was only named honorable mention on the postseason Associated Press all-state team. (He was Offensive Player of the Year on my ballot)
Heard, of course, took the big stage of the state championship game in Cowboys Stadium by storm when he led Guyer to a come-from-behind, 48-37, win over Georgetown to claim the school’s first state championship. He received the Offensive Player of the Game award, as voted by media in attendance after accounting for all seven touchdowns — two passing and five rushing. He rushed for three scores in the third quarter that saw Guyer claim the lead after trailing 30-14 early in the third.
Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard scores a game-sealing touchdown during the Class 4A Division I state championship game against Georgetown at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Dec. 22. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)
Argyle's Ian Sadler (5) stiff-arms a Melissa defender during a playoff game at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton on Nov. 23. (Al Key/Denton Record-Chronicle)
Well, folks. It’s coming up on that time of year where we start releasing our all-area teams. Volleyball will be out this weekend, and then it’s the granddaddy of them all, the All-Area football team, as presented by yours truly at the Denton Record-Chronicle. Over recent years, this team has become basically an all-state team as we’ve had some of the top players in recent years come from our little coverage area. This year is no different.
So, it has me thinking: Who is our All-Area football MVP? We had a lot of great players in the area this year, but as far as I’m concerned, the conversation starts and ends with two players: Jerrod Heard and Ian Sadler.
So let’s take a look at each players’ credentials and get your input as to who should come away the big winner. Unfortunately, there’s no “fan vote” but your thoughts could sway our voting. Just sayin’.
Guyer cornerback Trey Woods (8) and linebacker Demontrie Taylor celebrate a defensive stop in the Wildcats' epic 57-53 win during the Class 4A Division I state semifinal game between Guyer and Tyler John Tyler on Dec. 14. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)
You can’t sugarcoat it, the Guyer secondary has been the team’s defensive weakness at times this year. There were the two games early on, which we can throw out and chalk up to the Wildcats facing two well-oiled, high-octane passing offenses when they were trying to break in nine new defensive starters.
Since then, the Wildcats have shored up their defense, and though the scores the past few weeks look questionable, if you watched the games you know the Wildcats just had trouble closing teams out — Aledo, Birdville and Tyler John Tyler, the latter two of which had spectacular offenses.
Guyer (13-2) gets one more test tomorrow at Cowboys Stadium against undefeated Georgetown, and it’s the final test of the season — win or lose. The Wildcats will have two sophomores starting at cornerback, as Trey Woods has started all year and DeMarcus Owens is making his second start since making his starting debut against John Tyler.