Weekend recap: Rivalry week

Ryan wins the coin toss before kickoff against Guyer, Friday, November 6, 2015, at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Ryan wins the coin toss before kickoff against Guyer, Friday, November 6, 2015, at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

District titles were decided in two big rivalry games in the area, and another was won on the road out in Wichita Falls. Steve Gamel and I look back at what was an exciting weekend in area high school football in our weekly recap.

Ryan at Guyer

AB: Steve likes to make it sound like I thought Guyer winning was a slam dunk, but that’s far from the truth. I will say this: I thought Ryan would have to force some turnovers to beat Guyer, and the Raiders didn’t. They just beat Guyer. It was impressive. I didn’t think Guyer played badly. In fact, after their first three drives against Ryan’s vaunted defense, they led 14-7 — a pretty good place to be in. After that, the Wildcats were outscored 24-0 before they found the scoreboard again. Guyer head coach John Walsh said his offense didn’t execute in the second half. I don’t have a keen enough football eye to notice that, but I thought it was a well-played game by both teams. Ryan’s defense is every bit as good as advertised despite giving up a season-high 28 points. Shawn Robinson had his best game of the year against the second-best defense he’s seen all year, and that’s a good sign moving forward for the Wildcats. I think both of these teams are going to be tough outs in the playoffs though both will be underdogs in their second-round matchups. Oh, and one more thing: I was uber impressed with Ryan sophomore quarterback Spencer Sanders. Dude had an amazing night.

SG: Several members of the Ryan coaching staff came up to me before Friday night’s showdown to say they were surprised I picked them to beat Guyer. Apparently, I was in the minority. One prediction had Guyer rolling up 42 points. Another one said Guyer would at least score 31. Either way, unbeaten Ryan was a decided underdog coming in. That says a ton about Guyer and what they can and have done on both sides of the ball. But the Raiders’ win says a lot for how far they’ve come dating back to last year’s 5-5 finish. Ryan is the top seed in Class 6A Division I, and should be recognized as a top-tier team. The key was Ryan’s offense. Spencer Sanders guided a unit that struggled with consistency throughout district play to a mistake-free 31-28 win. Guyer played great despite the loss — especially quarterback Shawn Robinson, who I can’t say enough of — and should be more than fine going forward.

Denton at Wichita Falls

AB: As good as Guyer and Ryan both are, I’m starting to think that outside of Argyle, the Broncos might be best set up to make a deep playoff run. Denton came from behind and got a game-winning field goal to beat Wichita Falls on the road on Thursday and cap their season with yet another win. Xavier Scott is a running back you can lean on in the playoff run, and I fully expect the Broncos to do just that even though they like to fling the ball around – it’s a lot easier to turn around and hand it off. The Broncos made history by claiming their first district title since the year after I graduated from high school (that’s a long time ago, folks) and now they have a chance to make more, and more meaningful, history in the coming weeks.

SG: It came down to a field goal, and that’s totally OK. Congrats to the Broncos for clinching the District 5-5A crown for the first time since 1999 on a night where they had to travel to Wichita Falls and rise up against a solid Coyote team. Robert Reyes’ 24-yard boot couldn’t have come under more pressure. Per our own Patrick Hayslip, Denton quickly fell behind 13-0 before it could blink. The Broncos still trailed 20-7 early in the third quarter. After crawling all the way back, there was no way Reyes could miss that kick. And he didn’t. Xavier Scott did what he normally does and the defense came away with at least one turnover to put the Broncos in a position to win. Now comes the playoffs and a chance to make a seriously long run should all the stars align.

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Weekend recap: Domination station

Ryan head coach Dave Henigan on the sideline against Justin Northwest, Thursday, October 29, 2015, at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Ryan head coach Dave Henigan on the sideline against Justin Northwest, Thursday, October 29, 2015, at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

I’m getting a little overly clever with my headlines on these things, but if the DRC coverage area was a station, it’d apply well.

Several area teams scored blowout victories in a rain-soaked weekend that saw the majority of the games moved to Thursday, and my cohort Steve and I take a look back at what was a pretty impressive weekend of #txhsfb action in northern Denton County.

Justin Northwest at Ryan

AB: This game went about like I saw it going — an utter demolition of an inferior Northwest team by an unbeaten Ryan team. The fact that it was a 33-0 game at halftime without Ryan’s best player Tyreke Davis after an early ejection was a mild surprise, but just barely. Anyway, enough about this game, let’s move on to what’s important, and that’s this week’s clash with Guyer. We hear all the time that teams don’t look forward and only concentrate on the here and now, and the here and now is finally here. (By the way, I find it near impossible to believe that Ryan’s kids weren’t thinking about what was coming when they were running through Northwest like a hot knife through butter last week). With Ryan’s first-team unit in, the Raiders beat Northwest 40-0 to continue what’s been an amazing run from the Raiders’ defense. Now, they’ll try to keep it up against what appears to be a rejuvenated Guyer offense.

SG: This game was merely a weak appetizer for what everyone in Raider Country has been waiting for, a showdown against Guyer with the District 5-6A title on the line. Ryan has played lights out this year and is the only unbeaten team left in the district, but the only option Ryan has to come away with an outright district title is to beat the Wildcats. Have you bought your ticket yet? It’s gonna be a doozy! In the meantime, there was little doubt Ryan would take care of business against Northwest, which came in with just one win on the season. Ryan’s first teamers jumped out to a 40-0 lead, doing most of it without two-way star Tyreke Davis, who was ejected early in the first quarter. Ryan comes in having allowed 130 points against in nine games. That’s pure domination.

Guyer at Keller Timber Creek

AB: Guyer did exactly what it needed to do on Thursday night, and that was win a game in convincing fashion after a recent cold spell that included a 12-10 win and a shocking loss to a Keller Central team who will likely end the season with its only district win coming over Guyer. Things weren’t looking to rosy for the Wildcats, and then, with a flip of the proverbial switch they played what might have been their best overall game of the season and scored a big win when they needed a big win, not just a win. Shawn Robinson returned from illness and looked good throwing the ball. It wasn’t a perfect night, but compared to what we had been seeing, it was a big step in the right direction. While the offense was coming to life, the defense was doing what it’s done all season, which is dominate folks. This is a program that prides itself on peaking about this time in the season, and we had a lot of reasons to wonder if that was going to happen this year. We’ll know for sure on Friday against Ryan, but it appears the Wildcats are right on schedule.

SG: Shawn Robinson is back, and though I wasn’t there to see this game live, I heard from my buddy Adam that he was in true form while carving up the Timber Creek defense for 160 rushing yards and 184 yards through the air. Robinson scored two touchdowns. Guyer is clearly a better team offensively with Robinson in the game, and even though this hasn’t been his best season since transferring to Guyer, he is clearly a threat. Two games removed from losing their first district game in what seems like ages, the Wildcats are supremely focused on proving they are still the team to beat in this district. Adam texted me late Thursday to tell me he was amped for the upcoming Ryan-Guyer game, and I can’t disagree. Both teams deserve a ton of credit, and it’s exciting to see so much on the line.

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Weekend recap: Week of statements

Argyle senior wide receiver Drew Estrada (3) can't get to a pass after interference from Celina senior defensive back Travis Tolbert (20), Friday, September 11, 2015, at Bobcat Stadium in Celina, TX. David Minton/DRC

Argyle senior wide receiver Drew Estrada (3) can’t get to a pass after interference from Celina senior defensive back Travis Tolbert (20), Friday, September 11, 2015, at Bobcat Stadium in Celina, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer at Wichita Falls Rider

AB: Guyer’s passing game still doesn’t look the part when looking at the stats, but the eyeball test showed something different on Friday night. Shawn Robinson made some good throws that were either dropped or looked off because of bad, inexperienced route-running. Several times in that game, Guyer had three sophomores and one freshman wide receiver on the field, and it showed. At the same time, one of those sophomores, Colton Phillips, had a big night and caught Robinson’s first touchdown pass of the year on a bomb. The rushing attack finally showed up as advertised, and did it against a Rider defense that at least looked the part physically. The Wildcats’ defense forced a couple of big turnovers, including a key interception from one of the big boys in P.J. Broussard to set up an easy TD that turned a potential one-score game into a three-score game in a hurry. Now, it’s bye week time before the Wildcats begin District 5-6A in a game that could end up deciding the district title against unbeaten Keller.

SG: Guyer hasn’t completely broken out from under its offensive slump, but the Wildcats did more than enough to roll past former district rival Wichita Falls Rider. Of course, it wasn’t the same as last year’s 66-0 thumping the Wildcats gave Rider, but they scored 35 second-half points this time – and until the passing game sorts itself out, it’s nice to be able to rely on a running game that produced 444 yards.  Next up is an all-important bye week heading into District 5-6A. This year’s district slate has improved with Ryan’s revival and Keller off to a solid start. First up is Keller (3-0), so as nice as it was to have the run game clicking so well, the Wildcats must sort out their passing situation if they want to run this particular district table for a second-straight season.

Ryan at Wylie East

AB: Color me impressed. The Raiders have something cookin’ with three straight wins to start the season after a disappointing 5-5 campaign a year ago. On one hand, those three wins don’t mean a thing when it comes to November. On the other, they’ve been huge for the confidence of a Ryan team that appears to be rolling offensively while also having the defense that many of us have come to expect year in and year out from the Raiders. Spencer Sanders is showing why folks were so excited about him a year ago. As a freshman, he suffered some growing pains. As a sophomore, he looks like a star, and he seems to have the Raiders easily on track to return to the postseason after a one-year drought.

SG: There were so many question marks heading into Ryan’s bye week last year, but as I wrote in my game story the other night, the Raiders have written themselves a pretty intriguing first chapter for 2015 with just three games down. Three wins, all blowouts, and not a single offensive turnover. The defense is playing lights out, it’s hard to find much wrong with the play of sophomore quarterback Spencer Sanders, and he’s got three studs in the passing game in senior Rodney Gladney and sophomores Gabriel Douglas and Tauskie Dove. Last week’s win over Wylie East was probably their best game overall, holding highly touted running back Eno Benjamin to 33 rushing yards while rolling up 294 passing yards in a 43-20 win. Time will tell how good these Raiders really are, but they appear to be a lock for a playoff spot heading into District 5-6A next week.

Denton at Carrollton Creekview

AB: As I said above in regards to Ryan, but in a completely different context: These first three games of the schedule don’t mean anything come playoff time. Make no mistakes, the Broncos plan on playing in the postseason, and they might have had a cold slap to the face to serve as a bit of a wake-up call on Thursday night when they lost to a Carrollton Creekview squad that had looked anything but impressive leading into the game. With that said, when teams hold Xavier Scott and the Broncos’ passing game to well under their season averages, it’s going to be a long day for a Broncos team that relies so heavily on both.

SG: A last-ditch field goal sailed wide and Denton was brought back down to earth on Thursday in a close loss to Carrollton Creekview. It’s just one loss, so let’s not panic. But the penalties last week need to be cleaned up. There were nine total for 56 yards, and according to our own Patrick Hayslip, eight of those were false starts.  The Broncos also had trouble establishing all-world running back Xavier Scott early – he was held to 44 yards going into the third quarter – and the passing game yielded 154 yards. Creekview didn’t appear to be too imposing, but the Mustangs did just enough to eke out the win, including a safety in the third quarter. By the looks of it, that one safety proved to be the difference in the game. Denton will try to regroup after this stunning loss, hopefully just in time for district play.

Argyle at Celina

AB: When you figure the prowess Celina has had on the state football landscape over the last two or three decades, you have to figure a team even as dominant as Argyle has been can’t dominate the series between the teams forever. And on Friday, Celina showed that to be true with what appeared to be a pretty thorough beating of an Argyle team ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 4A that had played in two straight state title games, winning one and losing another in double overtime. As far as current “power ranking” I’d put Argyle beyond Celina from a program standpoint, but for one night, the Bobcats proved they aren’t to be taken lightly.

SG: You know you must be doing something right when you elicit the response Celina had during and after its big win over Argyle. Argyle had Celina’s number in recent years, and the Bobcats hadn’t beaten the Eagles since 2008. The atmosphere was playoff-like in a battle of state-ranked teams. Unfortunately for Argyle, its offense started slow and the defense could not slow Celina running back Jarren Alexander. Alexander rushed for 222 yards and three touchdowns, and Celina looked mighty impressive. It was a tough loss, but one the Eagles will bounce back from. And for those remaining teams left on Celina’s schedule … look out!

Krum at Sanger

AB: Last year, Sanger rushed out to an undefeated start with the help of an all-state caliber running back. Then, he suffered a season-ending injury only to watch his teammates rally and go on to a playoff win. This year, the Indians are capable on offense, but don’t seem to have that go-to guy just yet. With that said, their defense appears to be every bit the dominant unit, and that showed with a great effort against a scrappy Krum team on Friday night.

SG: From what I heard from our reporter on the scene, Jimmy Isbell, this game was a bit chippy at times between two of our better area schools. Nonetheless, Sanger got another solid showing from its quarterback, CJ Jackson (114 passing, 63 rushing and 1 TD run) to preserve a 16-14 win that pushed the Indians to 3-0 and the Bobcats to 1-2. This is not the start we all envisioned from Krum, whose two losses came to Class 3A Pilot Point and now Sanger. The Indians are a solid bunch, and have retooled nicely after an injury-plagued 2014.

Weekend recap: A win is a win

Guyer senior linebacker Michael Carillo (6) loses his helmet after a tackle against Ennis, Friday, September 4, 2015, in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer senior linebacker Michael Carillo (6) loses his helmet after a tackle against Ennis, Friday, September 4, 2015, in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer rebounded with a win on Friday night after being whipped by the best team in the state, but it wasn’t a pretty win. The Guyer offense sputtered for the second straight game, mainly because of penalty issues (more than 100 yards) and a few protection problems. But a win is a win, and Guyer avoided an 0-2 start against a really good team and a defending state champion in Ennis.

Ennis at Guyer

AB: This was honestly one of the most ugly, frustrating games I’ve ever covered in my 10 years of doing this. It was sloppy, but the referees also got a little trigger-happy with their flags, which resulted in game that didn’t end until almost 11 p.m. despite being two running teams because of almost 30 penalties. Enough about me, though. The real star of this game was the Guyer defense, which backed up what Guyer coach John Walsh was saying about them after they allowed 48 points to Allen: They really are pretty dang good. They showed it against Ennis, holding the Lions scoreless for nearly three entire quarters behind yet another outstanding effort from the front seven and a much better outing from the secondary, including an interception from running back Christian Moore, who replaced Dio Williams at cornerback after an injury. Things will get much easier for the Wildcats this weekend against Wichita Falls Rider before a needed bye week and District 5-6A play starting.

SG: Told ya Guyer would rebound. The Wildcat offense apparently has a long way to go, still, but the defense deserves a ton – and practically all – the credit for knocking off Ennis on Friday. The Wildcats’ defense held Class 5A No. 2 Ennis off the scoreboard until the third quarter and only allowed 19 points against a usually-potent offense. It also helped when Ennis quarterback Tre Elliott made an inadvertent spike on fourth down in the closing seconds, but who cares? A win is a win is a win. The win helped the Wildcats avoid a 0-2 hole and gives them an added boost after falling to Allen in the opener. Clearly, though, the offense needs a boost after gaining just 250 total yards. Combined with the lack of offense against Allen, that is extremely un-Wildcat like. For now, just focus on the win.

Hebron at Ryan

AB: I went up to C.H. Collins on Thursday night to check out about a quarter of this game. Unfortunately, it was the third and a little bit of the fourth quarter, so I missed what seemed to be the most exciting moment with the Hail Mary, but I saw enough to come to the conclusion that Ryan is a pretty salty team. I saw Ken McLaurin throwing around Hebron folks like rag dolls and looking to be every bit the next great Ryan defensive lineman. The Raiders are most definitely playing with swagger right now after last year’s disappointing season and barring disaster they’ll end that streak of missing the playoffs at one year. I didn’t see a lot of Spencer Sanders, but by that point, the game was readily in hand. It sounds like the sophomore is moving right along and improved from the eight games of varsity experience he got last year as a freshman quarterback in 6A — a rarity, in itself.

SG: For those of you who missed this game, and didn’t read my game story, allow me to set the scene. With two seconds left in the first half Friday, Ryan’s coaching staff called a timeout to give its offense a chance to regroup. What happened next proved exactly how bad the Raiders want to win this year, when Spencer Sanders heaved a Hail Mary pass 48 yards to the back of the endzone. Gabriel Douglas came up with the catch and touchdown, and that one play spurred the Raiders to another lopsided win. Sure the offense has started slow in consecutive weeks, but they’ve responded each time. Combine that with a stout defense and opportunistic special teams play – Hebron had four turnovers – and Ryan is suddenly hard to beat. Tyreke Davis racked up 11 tackles and a sack and still had enough left in the tank to rush for two touchdowns. A great win, which now has Ryan at 2-0.

Granbury at Denton

AB: Once again, the Broncos worked an overmatched nondistrict opponent behind a huge offensive night from the bell cow of their team, running back Xavier Scott. The senior rushed for 275 yards and four touchdowns and looks to be every bit as dangerous as he was a year ago despite losing a few of his big friends up front. Denton has one more team to steamroll in nondistrict before things get real in District 5-5A play in what should be a pretty solid district against after Saginaw Boswell was left out of the playoffs despite a 7-3 record a year ago. Denton’s receivers look to be plenty talented this year, despite losing stud Key’andre Hearvey to graduation, and they’re giving new quarterback Colt Atkinson a vast arsenal of weaponry on Friday nights. As he gets more experience under his belt, that’s going to grow more dangerous by the week.

SG: We see you Denton. Denton has outscored its first two opponents 98-19. Let that sink in for a second. Now check this out: On Friday, the Broncos rolled up 442 yards of offense against Granbury thanks largely to the solid running of all-world back Xavier Scott. Scott rushed for 275 yards and four touchdowns … Granbury amassed 256 yards. So at this point, I’m convinced he’s not from this planet. Even against what I believe was an inferior Granbury team, you don’t do what Scott did without having a ton of talent. Scott has that, and then some. I am curious to see how Denton does as the season progresses, but if the first two games are any indication, it appears the Broncos haven’t lost any firepower from last season, and have the defense to flat-out shut opponents down.

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Weekend recap: Denton ISD has perfect weekend

Guyer senior running back Anthony Taylor (10) and sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson (3) celebrate in the end zone after one of Guyer's many touchdowns against Plano on Saturday at AT&T Stadium.

It’s been a pretty usual thing for us to see two high schools from Denton ISD in the Texas high school football playoffs, and that’s the case this year, too. It’s a different duo this year, but the results were the same as both Guyer and Denton won their playoff openers.

Steve Gamel and I recap the area playoff action from the weekend and look ahead a bit to Round 2 with this week’s recap.

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Weekend recap: Playoff spots and district titles galore!

Guyer senior wide receiver Adam Scott (1) and senior tight end Xavier Brown (80) celebrate after a touchdown against Keller Timber Creek on Thursday at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex.

Guyer clinched its district championship after Keller lost. Argyle clinched no worse than a share of district championship with a big rival game coming on Friday. Denton clinched its first playoff berth in the Kevin Atkinson era, and Ryan is fighting to keep a historic playoff streak alive. It was a busy week in area high school football, and my cohort Steve Gamel and I relive it here.

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Weekend recap: Statement wins for all!

 

Guyer defensive lineman Isiah Correa (46) sacks Fossil Ridge quarterback Bryce Baccarini (4) during a high school football game in C. H. Collins Stadium in Denton, Texas on October 10, 2014.

Several area teams scored big victories this week, as Guyer, Denton and Liberty Christian had what you might call “statement wins.”

Guyer put a thorough whuppin’ on what many believe is the second-best team in District 5-6A. Denton kept its foot on the pedal toward a 6-0 start, and Liberty Christian made a long road trip to face a formidable opponent and came home with a win.

Want Steve Gamel’s and my thoughts on these and some other area games? Well, you came to the right place.

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Weekend Recap: Denton ISD, where winners live

Denton junior running back Xavier Scott breaks free against Saginaw Boswell on Friday en route to a huge night in a huge Denton win.

All three Denton ISD teams came home Friday night with wins under their belts, and all three wins were meaningful district victories.

Take a look at the weekend recap with yours truly, and our new full-time Ryan beat writer, the legendary Steve Gamel.

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Weekend Recap: A win for you, and you, and…

David Haynes and the Wildcats bowled over the Wichita Falls Rider in a Week Two matchup between old District 5-4A rivals.

For the second straight week, defeat is a word that hasn’t been associated with many of our local teams. The area’s heavy hitters came up with solid performances for a second straight week, including another undefeated weekend for Denton ISD’s teams.

In the area, Argyle and Lake Dallas came up with huge victories against some good ball clubs.

My usual Monday-morning accomplice, Adam Boedeker, is still getting back from vacation with his family so I’ll be riding solo today in this installment of the weekend recap.

Let’s take a look back at a very good weekend for the area.

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