Three Things: Guyer at Allen

Guyer senior defensive end Tevan McAdams (8) celebrate after a play against Allen, in the 2015 Tom Landry Classic, Friday, August 28, 2015, in Allen, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer senior defensive end Tevan McAdams (8) celebrate after a play against Allen, in the 2015 Tom Landry Classic, Friday, August 28, 2015, in Allen, TX. David Minton/DRC

Well, Friday’s game was not what many people expected to see. A few folks picked Guyer to win, myself included, but just about everyone was predicting a tight game between two state-ranked teams.

It started out that way, but after Shawn Robinson’s highlight-reel 55-yard TD run gave Guyer a 10-7 lead midway through the second quarter, the Allen machine took over and rolled to a 48-16 win — the Eagles’ 44th straight win.

Here are three quick things I took away from the game, which went from good to bad pretty quickly for Guyer.

1. Guyer’s defense is going to be good: Guyer coach John Walsh has been playing up his defense all spring and summer, and on Friday, they showed they’re going to be a force. But they gave up 48 points, you say. Well, that happens when you’re on the field the majority of the game and you’re up against a really good football team. Two big reasons for Walsh’s enthusiasm are his bigger and better defensive ends, Cameron Wax and Tevan McAdams, and both displayed greatness on Friday. McAdams was in on nine tackles and had four behind the line of scrimmage with a sack. Wax was in on eight stops with three behind the line, a pass breakup, a sack and two QB hurries. That’s going up against the top player in the nation in Allen tackle Greg Little. They were also missing Ben Nwiba on Friday with a broken hand. He’s not a starter, but their fifth defensive lineman and a huge factor given that when he plays on the end, it allows Wax to move inside. They’re going to be a force for the rest of the season and present a ton of problems to opponents.

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What you need to know: Allen

Allen head coach Tom Westerberg (right) talks to Alex Robinson (left) as quarterback Seth Green (7) listens during afternoon practice on Aug. 10 in Allen. (G.J. McCarthy/The Dallas Morning News)

Allen head coach Tom Westerberg (right) talks to Alex Robinson (left) as quarterback Seth Green (7) listens during afternoon practice on Aug. 10 in Allen. (G.J. McCarthy/The Dallas Morning News)

Well, folks. Here we go. That annual #txhsfb grind begins on Friday, and Guyer’s game against Allen is quite possibly the biggest of a big slate of marquee games in the area in Week 1. It’s going to be spectacle city in Allen as the Eagles reopen their $60 million stadium after a year of structural fixes — as an aside, keep us in the press box in your thoughts — and there is even a sky-diving team set to jump out of an airplane and deliver the game ball. Boy, you just can’t get any more Allen and #txhsfb than that.

The game itself? Well, it should be a dandy between two teams ranked in the preseason top 10 of the Associated Press Class 6A state poll. Last year was the coming out party for Shawn Robinson, Guyer’s dynamic dual-threat quarterback who made his first start for the Wildcats against Allen last year. That was a game featuring a tremendous matchup at quarterback, but now all-World QB Kyler Murray is at Texas A&M and Allen must turn elsewhere under center. They have two options, and both are expected to play, in Minnesota move-in Seth Green, an Oregon commit, and Mitchell Jonke, who transferred to Allen from Lovejoy two years ago.

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Preseason questions: Game-changer?

The Guyer Wildcats are set to begin fall practice on Monday, and with days to go before that early morning practice comes, we’re going to take a look at five preseason questions/things to watch for in the upcoming season.

Guyer is set to open their 10th regular season in program history on Aug. 28 in the re-opening of Allen Eagle Stadium against the three-time defending Class 6A Division I state champion Eagles. Before that, the Wildcats scrimmage Euless Trinity and have a lot of practices leading up to that.

Question: The Wildcats have a history of utilizing some pretty good tight ends in the last seven or eight years. This year, they have what could be the next in line, and he’s a completely different animal. Can the Wildcats properly utilize Brian Polendey’s skill set?

Over the years, the Wildcats have had some really good tight ends, but for the most part, it’s basically been an extension of their stout offensive line and helped contribute to one of the best rushing attacks in the state on an annual basis. Names like Xavier Brown, Jonathan Pershall and Austin Otto stand out. One time, back in 2010, they had someone who could be heavily utilized in the passing game in Dominic Ramacher, but he was more of an H-back than a true tight end.

Now, the Wildcats have a unique weapon in the form of Brian Polendey, a 6-5, 240-pound tight end, and a tight end in the truest sense of the term these days. Think Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce, etc. That’s what Polendey has the chance to be.

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Preseason questions: Two-way troopers

Guyer's Thabo Mwaniki (30) tackles a Keller Central Charger during a game last season at C.H. Collins Stadium. Maegan Puetz/For the DRC

Guyer’s Thabo Mwaniki (30) tackles a Keller Central Charger during a game last season at C.H. Collins Stadium. Maegan Puetz/For the DRC

The Guyer Wildcats are set to begin fall practice on Monday, and with days to go before that early morning practice comes, we’re going to take a look at five preseason questions/things to watch for in the upcoming season.

Guyer is set to open their 10th regular season in program history on Aug. 28 in the re-opening of Allen Eagle Stadium against the three-time defending Class 6A Division I state champion Eagles. Before that, the Wildcats scrimmage Euless Trinity and have a lot of practices leading up to that.

Question: The Wildcats have a history with two-way players, even though it isn’t something that is too prevalent at the state’s largest classification. Josh Stewart was one of the best players in the state while starring at cornerback and wide receiver for Guyer before going on to Oklahoma State and then the Tennessee Titans. The Wildcats will rely on a couple of more two-way stars this year. Can they hold up?

In 2010, when the Wildcats advanced to the Class 5A Division II (now known as 6A) state championship game, they did it with a couple of studs going both ways at wide receiver and cornerback. It all started with Stewart, who racked up nearly 1,000 receiving yards with 10 touchdowns despite not playing on offense until the fifth game of the season. On defense, he racked up 85 tackles, broke up 12 passes and had seven interceptions. For good measure, he added a punt return touchdown.

They also had Quint Gardener, who missed several games due to injury but had 544 receiving yards with six touchdowns to go with 29 tackles, five breakups and four interceptions and was huge in the postseason on defense.

Will they have anyone like Stewart this year? If they do, look out. But even if they don’t, they’re going to have a couple of players who will seeing lots of action at wide receiver and in the secondary. Defense will be priority for cornerback Brandon Daniel and safety Thabo Mwaniki, but they’ll get on the field on offense in what Guyer coach John Walsh calls “money time.”

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Preseason questions: Man in the middle

 

Guyer linebacker Dharrius Timmons (25) brings down Keller's quarterback in a game last season at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. David Minton/DRC

Guyer linebacker Dharius Timmons (25) brings down Keller’s quarterback in a game last season at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex. David Minton/DRC

The Guyer Wildcats are set to begin fall practice on Monday, and with a week to go before that early morning practice comes, we’re going to take a look at five preseason questions/things to watch for in the upcoming season.

Guyer is set to open their 10th regular season in program history on Aug. 28 in the re-opening of Allen Eagle Stadium against the three-time defending Class 6A Division I state champion Eagles. Before that, the Wildcats scrimmage Euless Trinity and have a lot of practices leading up to that.

Question: The Wildcats have had a pretty stellar run of great play from the middle linebacker spot, but Dharius Timmons has something many of them didn’t have — experience. Can he build on a solid junior year and be the next great one as a senior?

Last year as a junior in his first year starting for Guyer, Timmons racked up 91 tackles in 12 games with 13 coming behind the line of scrimmage. He added two sacks, four pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a recovery. Most importantly, he got a full year of experience under his belt at one of the most important positions on the Guyer defense, and one with a rich history in recent years.

Several key figures in Guyer’s football history have played the “Mike” in the Wildcats’ defense — most recently Dominic Ramacher, Terence Belton and Marcel Thomas. Those three names each got just one year as the starter in the middle. Timmons is about to enter his second year as the team’s starter.

For that reason, Timmons is far ahead of any of those three entering their senior seasons, and that should play heavily in his favor. He’s already a cerebral player with off-the-charts intelligence at the position. One thing Guyer coaches noted was that he has to shore up his tackling this year and become a more sure tackler, but he has everything else you want in a standout high school middle linebacker.

The experience he has is key, and it’ll be interesting to see what we’ll be saying about Timmons when this season comes to an end, whenever that may be.

Coming Thursday: Two-way troopers

From Tuesday: Filling a void

From Monday: Buying into bulk

Preseason questions: Filling a big ol’ void

Guyer wide receiver Brandon Daniel (16) celebrates a touchdown catch against Keller Fossil Ridge last season at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex.  Michael Clements/For the DRC

Guyer wide receiver Brandon Daniel (16) celebrates a touchdown catch against Keller Fossil Ridge last season at C. H. Collins Athletic Complex.
Michael Clements/For the DRC

The Guyer Wildcats are set to begin fall practice on Monday, and with a week to go before that early morning practice comes, we’re going to take a look at five preseason questions/things to watch for in the upcoming season.

Guyer is set to open their 10th regular season in program history on Aug. 28 in the re-opening of Allen Eagle Stadium against the three-time defending Class 6A Division I state champion Eagles. Before that, the Wildcats scrimmage Euless Trinity and have a lot of practices leading up to that.

Question: The Wildcats lost a huge chunk of production from the wide receiver position, leaving a gaping hole at an important unit in the Guyer offensive machine. They have one of the best quarterbacks in the country, but who will Shawn Robinson throw the ball to?

Shawn Robinson is the No. 1 dual threat quarterback in the country for the Class of 2017, and according to several recruiting services, would also be the top of any in the Class of 2016. In short, the kid is really, really good and has a chance to go down as the best quarterback Guyer has ever produced. That’s saying something given the Wildcats brief, albeit impressive, history at the position.

But there’s a big question surrounding Guyer as the Wildcats prepare to start practice next week: Who, exactly, is going to catch Robinson’s passes? Last year, Robinson completed 145 of his 238 pass attempts for 2,799 yards and 33 touchdowns. Of all of that, 22 of his 145 completions were to guys who return this year. Of those 2,799 yards, only 358 yards return. The touchdowns? That number dips to six.

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Former Guyer standout makes big jump for Yanks

Former Guyer catcher KJ Alexander rounds third base in a game back in 2009. Now, he's fresh off a promotion to Double-A in the Yankees organization after completely bypassing Class-A ball. DRC File Photo

Former Guyer catcher KJ Alexander rounds third base in a game back in 2009. Now, he’s fresh off a promotion to Double-A in the Yankees organization after completely bypassing Class-A ball. DRC File Photo

The day my story about Jacob Rhame’s recent promotion from High-A Rancho Cucamongo to Double-A Tulsa in the Los Angeles Dodgers system and the shorter it made his path to the big leagues ran on Saturday, I also got some other news on another former Guyer baseball standout making progress through the hierarchy of pro baseball.

Now Rhame’s former Guyer teammate KJ Alexander, aka Kevin Alexander, was promoted within the New York Yankees farm system, and it wasn’t the typical promotion.

The former Guyer star catcher, who went on to play for local powerhouse Dallas Baptist, had a pretty nice year in Rookie League last season with the Gulf Coast Yankees, hitting .304 with an .867 OPS, a homer and eight RBIs. He also walked 15 times to go with his 17 strikeouts.

But instead of starting the 2015 season back in the Rookie League, Alexander was called up, and not just to the logical next step of Class-A ball. Alexander got the call straight to Double-A Trenton, completely bypassing Class-A. He’s now on a roster loaded with some of the Yankees’ top prospects, and judging by the lofty promotion, he could be working his way into similar promise. Not bad at all for any prospect, especially not for an undrafted free agent signee.

Guyer tight end picks up Michigan offer

While Shawn Robinson is stealing all of the recruiting spotlight in Denton, and with good reason given his hefty list of big-time offers, one of the guys Robinson will be throwing to this upcoming season picked up a big one on Monday.

Sophomore tight end Brian Polendey, a big 6-5, 240-pounder who will be a junior in the fall along with Robinson, was offered by Michigan on Monday, according to Guyer head coach John Walsh — his second FBS offer after Houston offered recently.

Polendey, who moved to Denton from Washington last year, played on the JV as a sophomore and has grown into a guy who has a chance to be an elite tight end prospect in an age when big pass-catching tight ends are starting to be coveted in the mold of your Rob Gronkowskis, Jimmy Grahams, etc.

Polendey will give the Wildcats a weapon they’ve never really had before. They’ve had big guys at tight end, who are basically a sixth offensive lineman (Cole Underwood, Xavier Brown, etc.) and then they’ve had basically one pass-catching tight end in Austin Otto, who was a great high school tight end but didn’t have elite size like Polendey does.

So be ready, folks. The Guyer offense will likely have some new looks to it in 2016 with a new kind of weapon. But you won’t get a sneak peak on Thursday in Guyer’s spring game because Polendey will be sidelined with a minor ankle turn, along with several other starters who are dealing with minor bumps and bruises.

Robinson nation’s top QB in 2017 class

Quarterback Shawn Robinson eludes a Keller Central defender

Guyer quarterback Shawn Robinson eludes a Keller Central defender last season. David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle

This isn’t too surprising, but it’s news, nonetheless.

Guyer sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson, who is set to begin spring football with the Wildcats on April 27 to prime for his junior season, has been getting tons of accolades and big-time offers recently, and on Tuesday he added another.

Robinson, who recently picked up offers from defending national champ Ohio State along with Alabama to add to his prestigious list, was named the top quarterback in the country in the latest Top 247 for 2017 released by recruiting website 247 Sports.

Robinson is the No. 11 player on the list and the top-ranked quarterback and has a four-star rating from the service. Other services, including Scout, have tagged Robinson with the rare five-star rating.

“We think he’s the best quarterback in the country regardless of classification, so I’m glad everyone else thinks so too,” Guyer head coach John Walsh said.

Robinson burst on to the scene last year as a young sophomore, having just turned 15 a month before the season began. He ended up throwing for 2,799 yards and 33 touchdowns with just five picks. On the ground, he rushed for 1,416 yards and 17 scores while leading Guyer to an area-round playoff berth.

Walsh said he has to pinch himself every once and a while to make sure he isn’t dreaming thinking about the prospect of coaching the 6-3, 195-pound Robinson for two more years at the high school level.

“It’s definitely something that makes you feel good as a program knowing you have your quarterback solidified with that kind of talent and that kind of leadership,” Walsh said. “He brings so much to the table with his physical talent, but he’s also extremely humble. I don’t know who all reads the papers and the Internet to see he’s the No. 1 guy, but you wouldn’t know it just seeing him at school.”

Hodapp set to become Guyer softball ironman

Guyer's Hannah Hodapp (3) connects against Burleson-Centennial in a playoff game last May at Saginaw High School in Fort Worth. David Minton/DRC

Guyer’s Hannah Hodapp (3) connects against Burleson-Centennial in a playoff game last May at Saginaw High School in Fort Worth. David Minton/DRC

Any time a Guyer softball player can break an all-time school record held by Kylee Crosek, it’s a pretty big deal.

Crosek was the first softball star for Guyer in the fledgling years of the program as a four-year starter. By the time she was a senior, she helped lead the Lady Wildcats to the Class 4A state tournament in Austin. Simply put, Crosek holds just about every school record at Guyer. I once saw her intentionally walked to lead off a game. That tells you what you need to know.

But on Friday, Crosek is losing one of her school records, and she’ll be on hand to see it as a member of the junior varsity coaching staff while doing her student teaching at Guyer and helping out with softball.

That’s because Hannah Hodapp will set a new school record for career starts when she steps on the field to start for Guyer against Keller in a key District 5-6A game to determine first place in the district and start off the second round of district play.

Hodapp started as a freshman and has never left the starting lineup since. She entered Wednesday’s win against Ryan hitting .476 with a .500 on-base percentage and a 1.119 OPS. She has a double, a triple and a homer to go with 13 RBIs and 16 runs in 12 games played. She has eight stolen bases and has been caught just once.

Hodapp, a West Texas A&M signee, will make her 111th career start, passing up Crosek’s mark of 110, which Hodapp tied on Wednesday night in a 10-0 win over Ryan. In that game, Hodapp went 1-for-2 with a walk, an RBI and a stolen base, also scoring on a passed ball at home.