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.

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.

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.

Lake Dallas’ Van Noy coming back to Guyer as head volleyball coach

Lake Dallas volley ball coach Heather Van Noy strategizes after her team wins a big point against Krum at Lake Dallas High SchoolIf not for timing, Heather Van Noy might have never left the Guyer volleyball program.

Now, after six seasons down the road at Lake Dallas, the former Guyer assistant coach is returning to lead the Lady Wildcats. Van Noy spent the first six seasons of her coaching career as an assistant at Guyer.

“I’m just super excited to come back,” said Van Noy, whose hire was approved Tuesday night by the Denton ISD school board. “It’s such a great opportunity. It’s weird because I’m coming back to where I started. It’s a pretty rare thing.”

Van Noy was a charter staff member at Guyer when it opened in 2005 and served as the varsity assistant coach under current Calvary head coach Jennifer Bramlett. That duo led Guyer on its deepest playoff run in program history. The Lady Wildcats lost in the third round of the 2007 playoffs in what was then known as Class 4A, which is now Class 5A.

See Wednesday’s Denton Record-Chronicle for more on the story.

 

 

Cain accepts Under Armour invite

Guyer sophomore running back Noah Cain (7) stiff-arms Plano West senior linebacker Titus Wall (8) at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, November 4, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Guyer sophomore running back Noah Cain (7) stiff-arms Plano West senior linebacker Titus Wall (8) at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, November 4, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Well, it’s been a busy couple of days for now-former Guyer running back Noah Cain.

On Thursday, the nation’s top-ranked sophomore running back announced he would be leaving Guyer to attend the polarizing IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, for his junior season after rushing for almost 1,700 yards and 22 touchdowns as a sophomore at Guyer.

On Friday, Cain, who will begin his time at IMG on Jan. 16, announced his invitation to the Under Armour All-American Game and said he was committing to play in the game following his senior season (2019) so actually in January of 2020.


If Cain was still at Guyer, he’d be the second Guyer player to take part in the game, as former defensive lineman Taylor Bible played in the game in January 2010 before going on to Texas.

Cain has 15 major college offers from the likes of powerhouses like LSU and Oklahoma with two years of high school football still to play.

Guyer’s Cain is leaving for IMG Academy

 Guyer sophomore running back Noah Cain (7) evades a tackle from Plano West junior defensive end Dylan Raiborn (44) at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, November 4, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC


Guyer sophomore running back Noah Cain (7) evades a tackle from Plano West junior defensive end Dylan Raiborn (44) at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, November 4, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

The Guyer football program was dealt a significant blow on Thursday when star running back Noah Cain announced he is leaving the school to attend IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

Cain, a 5-11, 205-pound sophomore, is the nation’s top-ranked running back in the Class of 2019 and already has 15 offers from programs such as LSU and Oklahoma after two phenomenal seasons at Guyer.

Cain said IMG coaches have been in touch with him for a while and he has several friends who play at the school. He made his decision Thursday morning. Cain will leave for the school on Jan. 16.

“It was definitely a hard decision,” Cain said. “It wasn’t easy. It came down to the last minute. My parents and I discussed it so much. We thought it’d be a good opportunity for me athletically and academically to try it out and see how it is down there.

“The first thing I wanted to do was talk to [Guyer coach John] Walsh out of respect for him, because without him I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today. I’m grateful to Guyer for being the starting point of my recruiting trail and my high school career. I’ll forever be grateful to them, especially coach Walsh, who’s the man who started this all for me. He’ll always have a special place in my heart.”

Cain has lived in Denton since the third grade but attended Plano Prestonwood starting in sixth grade. He resumed attending school in Denton in the eighth grade when he went to Crownover Middle School. He had a breakout freshman season at Guyer, in which he rushed for 1,058 yards despite missing four games. The Associated Press second-team all-state selection went on to rack up 1,683 yards and 22 touchdowns on the ground for Guyer last season while leading the Wildcats to the area round of the Class 6A playoffs. No running back at IMG last season had 50 carries on the year. Cain averaged 17.5 carries per game in 2016.

“You never want to lose anyone in your program,” Walsh said. “I’ve known Noah since the fifth grade, and he’s been a good product of our program and a good product on the field. His presence on the field is going to be missed.

“But no one player or coach will define this program.”

It appeared Guyer was set up with arguably the best back in the country to spearhead its lethal rushing attack for the next two seasons, but that plan is now out the window.

IMG has had a tumultuous relationship with Texas high school football coaches for recruiting some of the state’s best players to their school. The boarding rate for football players at IMG for the 2016-2017 academic year is $72,900 with financial aid available, according to the school’s website. Cain said the school will cover his full tuition. The school sells itself as a better way to prepare elite athletes for the college level in a variety of sports.

Cain said his mother took a job in Seguin that will require some travel, so the boarding option was a selling point for IMG.

“We looked really deep into the program and what they had to offer with the meal plan and boarding, and we liked the college structure of it,” Cain said.

Brenham coach Glen West, who was formerly the president of the Texas High School Coaches Association, wrote an open letter to the state’s football coaches in Texas Coach Magazine last year with a clear message of his stance on schools such as IMG.

“It’s not necessarily against IMG, it’s just for years in the state of Texas we have been the advocate for our kids, where the college coaches come through and it’s been a really good situation for hundreds of years,” West told The Dallas Morning News after the letter was published. “The idea of athletes being raised through your program in your community, being part of your community, until later in their career [they] think they need to go to a specialist, we don’t agree with that.

“We’ve sent a lot of people on to college and the NFL. We think we do a good job of sending them there. We’re with them from day to dark. I will stand strong on [the fact] that I think our coaches do a great job.”

In October, Crosby assistant coach Marvin Nash, who ironically coached at Guyer during Cain’s freshman season, publicly chastised IMG coaches on Twitter for contacting one of his players through social media for recruiting practices he felt were unethical.

“I kind of have mixed feelings about this,” Nash said Thursday. “I know Noah thinks he’s doing what’s best for him and his family. I hate to see private schools come to different areas of the nation and cherry-pick the players they want. I’m very old school in the fact I believe in playing for your hometown school and representing your community.

“Maybe it’s just because I’m an old-school, small-town guy, but I will never believe that’s the best thing for kids to do.  But I do wish him the best, and I support him in everything he does because he’s a special kid with a great family. I’m still kind of shocked.”

Walsh said he has no hard feelings toward Cain or his family but did say he agreed with the common assessment of IMG after several coaches have come out and said they would no longer schedule games against the school in nondistrict play. IMG played no Texas teams last season after playing DeSoto in 2015.

“I think if I was going to answer any question about IMG honestly, we’d need a talk show on HBO,” Walsh said.

Cain’s absence leaves an obvious void in Guyer’s offense, but Walsh said a few different players will be candidates to step into the Wildcats’ rushing attack that annually averages well over 300 yards per game.

Those players include junior Devin Jefferson, who rushed for 125 yards and a score on 10 carries in limited mop-up duty a year ago, as well as sophomore Kaleel Rhoden and freshman Harrison Bohannon.

“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for some young players and some guys who haven’t had many opportunities because of the road block Christian [Moore], Myron [Mason] and Noah put up there,” Walsh said. “It was hard to see the field with those guys. I got asked how we’d do it when [former quarterback] J.W. [Walsh] left, and then there was Jerrod [Heard]. It happens every year. There’s kids in this system for years. Good programs have their personnel built up from the fifth grade, and we know who our guys are going to be for the 2020 season.”

 

 

J.W. Walsh takes Abilene Christian job

Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh waits to take the field on senior night before an NCAA football game against Oklahoma at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Stillwater, Okla. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh waits to take the field on senior night before an NCAA football game against Oklahoma at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015, in Stillwater, Okla. (Smiley N. Pool/The Dallas Morning News)

Former Guyer star quarterback J.W. Walsh on Wednesday accepted a job as the running backs coach at Abilene Christian. He confirmed the move in a text message late Wednesday night.

J.W. Walsh has spent the 2016 season as an offensive graduate assistant coach at TCU and will coach the Horned Frogs in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Dec. 30 against Georgia before beginning his new job under newly hired Abilene Christian coach Adam Dorrel.

Dorrel was hired after winning three Division II national championships at Northwest Missouri State in the past four seasons. Abilene Christian recently made the jump back up to Football Championship Subdivision competition by rejoining the Southland Conference after a 40-year stint in Division II. The 2017 season will be the first the program is eligible for postseason play.

“The college game is what he wants to do,” said Guyer head coach John Walsh, J.W. Walsh’s dad. “This is the step he wants to take, and there’s several ways to get there, but getting his own position group and getting on the recruiting trail at his age is invaluable experience.”

Walsh, 24, ended his playing career at Oklahoma State in 2015 and finished his injury-plagued career with 3,917 career passing yards and 1,036 career rushing yards. He accounted for 61 career touchdowns — 36 passing and 25 rushing — and is still a fan favorite in Stillwater, Oklahoma. In 2012, he was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year.

John Walsh said the year his son spent at TCU was great preparation for getting a full-time college job at such a young age.

“[Oklahoma State head coach Mike] Gundy gave him good advice. He told him last year that he knew the Oklahoma State way and he needed to go learn a different way,” John Walsh said. “[TCU head coach Gary] Patterson is one of the best in the business. I think he’s learning this business on fast-forward.”

At Guyer while playing for his dad, Walsh led the Wildcats to their first playoff appearance in school history in 2008 and guided Guyer to the Class 5A Division II state championship game as a senior in 2010 when he was an Associated Press first-team all-state selection before playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Before moving to Denton when his dad took the job to be Guyer’s first coach in 2005, Walsh grew up in Brownwood and has both sets of grandparents living in the Abilene area.

“As uncomfortable as a new job is, him being in Abilene surrounded by both sets of grandparents and some friends will make it more comfortable,” John Walsh said. “The family got to share in his playing career and now they get to be a part of his early coaching career, as well.”