Plano East coach Joey McCullough spills it about Guyer

Plano East Head Coach Joey McCullough yells during the second half against Allen at Eagle Stadium on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, in Allen, Texas. The Eagles won 58-23. (Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News)

Plano East Head Coach Joey McCullough yells during the second half against Allen at Eagle Stadium on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, in Allen, Texas. The Eagles won 58-23. (Jae S. Lee/The Dallas Morning News)

Little bit of what we call a “notebook dump” here, but here’s some things Plano East head coach Joey McCullough had to say about Guyer heading into tonight’s pivotal District 6-6A showdown.

On facing Guyer Friday:
“It’s going to be a 15-round fight. It’s going to come down to who has the more balanced attack — they’ve got the top-ranked rushing attack in the area, so we know the challenge. For us, it’s about ball security, cutting down on the penalties and staying ahead of the chains on first down.”
On the likelihood of a physical matchup:
“I want my kids to walk a fine line. You want them to play physical on defense and keep gap-integrity. We did that last week [against Wylie] and I thought our defense was outstanding.”
On middle linebacker Anthony Hines’ (90 FBS offers) recent play:
“We didn’t ask him to do too much last week, and he had 23 tackles and two interceptions. He’s a good football player. But our whole defense has been playing great lately. We’ve had three weeks of some of the best practice I’ve seen since I’ve been here. When the bell rings tomorrow, it’s game time.”

What you need to know: Plano East

Plano East quarterback Miklo Smalls (1) makes his way to the goal line for a touchdown during the second quarter of their game against Jesuit on Friday, September 2, 2016 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.   (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)

Plano East quarterback Miklo Smalls (1) makes his way to the goal line for a touchdown during the second quarter of their game against Jesuit on Friday, September 2, 2016 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
(Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)

This has been a pretty eventful week for Guyer football, and not for the best of reasons. But that fallout from Guyer’s district-opening win over Plano is over now, and it’s time for a really, really big game even though it’s just September.

Guyer faces Plano East in what many view as the game for second place in 6-6A behind the state’s No. 1 team Allen, and it also could very well be a game to determine seeding in the Division II playoff bracket from 6-6A as Plano East would be a Division II playoff rep along with Guyer if Plano makes the playoffs, which seems like a pretty solid likelihood at this point.

Remember, top seeds get to host a first-round playoff game, and traveling to either Southlake Carroll or Flower Mound Marcus for a first-round game could be a hornet’s nest.

So, let’s get into the game…

The Game: Plano East (2-2, 1-0) vs. Guyer (3-1, 1-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m., at Denton’s C.H. Collins Athletic Complex

Series Record: This is the first-ever meeting between the schools.

What happened last week: Plano East got up big on the smallest school in the district in Wylie before a ferocious Wylie rally fell short and the Panthers still scored a comfortable win.

Guyer dominated the flow of the game against Plano, but some miscues in the penalty department and on special teams helped keep Plano in the game before Guyer eventually pulled away for a 10-point win behind its vaunted rushing attack and 317 yards between its two starting tailbacks.

What to expect: This is going to be a fun game between two teams with a lot of talent on the field. Guyer coach John Walsh likes to talk about what a team looks like “coming off the bus” and he insists the Panthers will look as good as any team out there, specifically their two stud defenders in 6-3, 230-pound middle linebacker Anthony Hines III and 6-3, 300-pound defensive tackle Deiontae Watts. It has the potential to be a track meet.

Final say: Guyer’s rushing attack won’t be able to win this game by itself, and I think Guyer will have to show some more proficiency in the passing game with Hines roaming the second level of defense and Watts clogging up the middle. But make no mistake, the Guyer running game will still have its big moments and it’s still the best aspect of either one of these teams. In the end, that’ll be enough to help Guyer improve to 2-0 in 6-6A play and almost certainly lock up the top seed in the Division II playoff bracket.

Score prediction: Guyer 41, Plano East 28

Q&A time! Plano East Panthers edition

Plano East linebacker Anthony Hines III (19) celebrates after East recovered a fumble during the second quarter of their game against Jesuit on Friday, September 2, 2016 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.   (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)

Plano East linebacker Anthony Hines III (19) celebrates after East recovered a fumble during the second quarter of their game against Jesuit on Friday, September 2, 2016 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
(Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)

Since most of the teams in the new District 6-6A are new to Guyer, Guyer fans and myself, I’ve decided to try something new this year.

Star Local Media, has covered pretty much all of these teams with the exception of Guyer and Wylie for years, so we’re going to do a Q&A each week about Guyer’s upcoming game.

This week, of course, it’s Guyer and Plano East in the teams’ first meeting in history.

Without further delay, here’s the “conversation” Tim Glaze, who covers East for Star Local Media, and I had over good ol’ electronic mail, along with a score prediction from each of us.

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Update: Plano ISD issues statement, AD apologizes for dirty play

 

Guyer head coach John Walsh, top, and Plano head coach Jaydon McCullough on their respective sidelines. The Dallas Morning News photos

Guyer head coach John Walsh, top, and Plano head coach Jaydon McCullough on their respective sidelines. The Dallas Morning News photos

A play in Guyer’s win over Plano on Friday night that drew attention and concern from both Guyer coaches and fans, as well as the high school football community, has been addressed by the Plano coaching staff and the district’s athletic department.

The play occurred late in the first quarter of Friday’s 34-24 Guyer win over Plano when a Plano defensive end took a cheap shot away from the play on Guyer tight end Brian Polendey, who was already engaged with a linebacker. The defensive end dove directly at Polendey’s knee, which buckled as a result. He was then seen on film doing the same thing on the following play to another Guyer tight end. Polendey, a Miami pledge who will enroll early in January, was not injured on the play.

Guyer head coach John Walsh said the District 6-6A chairperson, Allen athletic director Steve Williams, was notified of the incident. On Monday, Williams said the matter would need to be handled by the Plano ISD and Denton ISD athletic directors.

Plano ISD athletic director and former Plano coach Gerald Brence said he spoke with Denton ISD athletic director Joey Florence on Monday. Brence said the issue is settled.

“It’s unfortunate,” Brence said of the play. “We’re glad no one got hurt. Second, we’ll be sure nothing like this happens again, and I think it’s a learning experience for everyone involved.”

After speaking with Brence, Florence agreed.

“Obviously, I think it’s a Plano ISD situation now,” said Florence, who was the longtime coach at Ryan. “We all coach. We’re all in the kid business, and kids make mistakes. In my opinion, they have done the right thing. They’ve addressed us and assured us they have handled the matter. We’re very fortunate the young man wasn’t injured. I think we’d be having a different conversation had he been.

“I appreciated the Guyer coaches for standing up for their kid. John’s spot-on to be angry and to demand an explanation, and I was the same way. I’m proud of John for calling it out. But I also appreciated the stance [Brence] and the [Plano] staff had. [Brence] called me and assured me they’d take care of it.”

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Weekend recap: One rivalry resumes, another begins (for wrong reason)

Denton Guyer High School running back Myron Mason (2) breaks off a big run during the second half as Plano Senior High School hosted Denton Guyer High School at John Clark Field in Plano on Friday night, September 23, 2016.  (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Denton Guyer High School running back Myron Mason (2) breaks off a big run during the second half as Plano Senior High School hosted Denton Guyer High School at John Clark Field in Plano on Friday night, September 23, 2016. (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Ryan and Denton resumed their rivalry after a four-year hiatus on Friday. This time, Ryan was good (as usual) and Denton was good too (not the case the last time the teams played), but Ryan showed they are still above and beyond what anyone else in District 5-5A is.

Meanwihle, Guyer had a big win over Plano that wasn’t too aesthetically pleasing and was soured by a dirty, dirty play in the game that is sure to create some bad blood when the teams meet next year at C.H. Collins.

My buddy Steve and I take a look back on the area football weekend with our weekly recap, coming now…

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Guyer tight end gets apology from Plano coaches

Area standout Denton Guyer High School tight end Brian Polendey (83) gets a block on Plano Senior High School defensive lineman Daniel Tolliver (40) during the second half as Plano Senior High School hosted Denton Guyer High School at John Clark Field in Plano on Friday night, September 23, 2016.  (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Area standout Denton Guyer High School tight end Brian Polendey (83) gets a block on Plano Senior High School defensive lineman Daniel Tolliver (40) during the second half as Plano Senior High School hosted Denton Guyer High School at John Clark Field in Plano on Friday night, September 23, 2016. (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Plano coaches apologized to Guyer tight end Brian Polendey and head coach John Walsh after seeing film on Saturday of a cheap shot that appeared to be an attempt to hurt the Miami recruit’s right knee late in the first quarter of Friday night’s District 6-6A opener.

Coaches’ film from the game shows Guyer handing the ball off to a running back and running right while Polendey, a senior, is blocking away from the play on the left side.

He is engaged with Plano’s outside linebacker when a defensive end leaves his man, runs away from the play and the ball-carrier and dives at Polendey’s knee, which buckled as a result.

“The play was going away from me, and I was blocking down on their linebacker and felt someone diving to my leg,” Polendey said. “I didn’t know if someone threw him there or what, but it completely took out my knee.”

Longtime Plano coach Jaydon McCullough said the type of play is not one he or his staff supports, and he said his player had been reprimanded. He declined to detail the punishment.

“I’ve already spoke to [Walsh] about it,” McCullough said. “We don’t condone that. We don’t teach it. It’s been addressed. The player has been reprimanded. It wasn’t malicious. The kid started crying when we talked to him about it. I don’t know why he did it. We’ve apologized to [Polendey] and the Denton Guyer football team.”

Polendey said Plano defensive coordinator Brent Graham called him on Saturday afternoon to apologize.

“I’m not angry with Plano or something,” Polendey said. “I thought they played a good game and good luck to them this season. I just want everyone to be safe. I don’t want to see anyone get a career-ending injury or anything like that.”

Plano, which lost the game 34-24 after allowing Guyer to run for 353 yards and five touchdowns, has a history of similar play.

In a 2014 game against Plano, Hebron star offensive lineman Zach Rogers, who is now at Arkansas, suffered a broken ankle on a similar play — one Walsh said he also saw film of on Saturday morning.

“I’ve been coaching for 22 years, and I’ve never seen anything like that,” Walsh said. “When the video hit the media this morning, I was told about the Hebron thing and I called [Hebron coach Brian Brazil] and he told me what had happened with them. I watched that, too. I’m not going to assume anything, but I know it’s a very unethical play.”

On Friday night, no penalty was called on the play in question, and Guyer coaches didn’t realize what had happened until running backs coach Michael Sampson saw the play in film review around 4 a.m. Saturday. It was clear then what had happened.

“We all watched it when we got to school [Saturday] morning at 8 o’clock,” Walsh said. “My initial reaction was just anger. The game we play, the safety of my boys is the utmost importance.”

Polendey said he felt fortunate to not have suffered a serious injury on the play.

“Initially, it really did hurt,” he said. “That part of my knee isn’t covered and the way he hit me, it was his helmet on my knee. If my leg had been locked out and straight, I probably wouldn’t be walking today.

“I didn’t think it was that bad until I saw it on film. On the play after that he tried to do the same thing to another kid on our team. It wasn’t just one play. It was more than just one time.”

Once he saw the play on film, Polendey said he was “pretty mad.”

“I wasn’t aware of how bad it was,” he said. “I was just like ‘Wow.’ There’s a difference between playing physical football and hurting people. When you’re playing physical football, you’re not trying to hurt people. You’re just trying to win games.

“On a couple of plays last night, I think the refs might’ve missed it because the play was going away from us and that stuff was happening. It’s important to pay attention to that stuff if you’re the ref because you can’t just let that stuff go on.”

Guyer (3-1, 1-0) continues district play on Friday when it hosts Plano East, while Plano (2-2, 0-1) travels to McKinney.

 

What you need to know: Plano

Rowlett High defensive back Dylan Bauer (19) forces Plano High running back Kyron Cumby (2) to fumble the ball on a long run during the second half at Homer B Johnson Stadium in Garland, Texas, Friday, September 9, 2016. The fumble eventually led to a Rowlett touchdown.(Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Rowlett High defensive back Dylan Bauer (19) forces Plano High running back Kyron Cumby (2) to fumble the ball on a long run during the second half at Homer B Johnson Stadium in Garland, Texas, Friday, September 9, 2016. The fumble eventually led to a Rowlett touchdown.(Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Well, folks. It all starts tonight. In the most cliche manner possible, high school football coaches will tell you ad nauseam about how there are three seasons in the high school football season (nondistrict, district and playoffs). As cliche as it is, it’s very true, and this week begins Guyer’s schedule in its new District 6-6A, which features the four largest enrollments in the state. It’s truly the district of the big boys as Guyer will meet four teams with 3,000 or more kids on top of Guyer’s enrollment.

Want another cliche? These district games will all be competitive. There don’t appear to be any true slouches.

Guyer begins its 6-6A slate against Plano, one of the two teams in the district Guyer has seen before, and here’s all you need to know about the big matchup.

The Game: Guyer (2-1) at Plano (2-1), Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Plano’s John Clark Stadium

Series Record: Guyer leads the all-time series 1-0, winning a 59-28 game in the bi-district round of the 2014 playoffs. Guyer led that game 56-14 after three quarters.

What happened last week: Well, a bye for both teams. But two weeks ago, Plano had four lost fumbles in a 31-7 loss to Rowlett after starting the year 2-0. Guyer routed an overmatched, undermanned Dallas Kimball team with a 63-7 thrashing in which Guyer’s starters were gone after one half.

What to expect: Two run-heavy teams and hopefully, for my selfish-sportswriter-on-deadline self, a fast game. Seriously, Plano is roughly 80 percent run, 20 percent pass. Guyer has rushed for 1,079 yards and passed for just 272 yards in its three games. That’s essentially an 80-20 split as far as yardage totals go. One difference between the two seems to be explosiveness on offense. Though Guyer runs the ball a lot, it is explosive in doing so. Plano, though it has explosive backs, is more of a plodding, 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offense behind a very impressive offensive line.

Final say: Because of that, I think Guyer wins this game fairly easily. For a half or maybe even three quarters, it’ll be a good, competitive game but ultimately Guyer’s playmakers will take over and make the game a pretty easy Guyer win.

Score prediction: Guyer 55, Plano 28

Q&A time! Plano Wildcats edition

Denton Guyer sophomore running back Noah Cain (7) hurdles senior fullback Trevor Caples (22) as DeSoto senior linebacker Orion Smith (15) moves in for the tackle during the second half of a high school football game at Eagle Stadium in DeSoto, Texas, Friday, September 2, 2016. (Jeffrey McWhorter/Special Contributor)

Denton Guyer sophomore running back Noah Cain (7) hurdles senior fullback Trevor Caples (22) as DeSoto senior linebacker Orion Smith (15) moves in for the tackle during the second half of a high school football game at Eagle Stadium in DeSoto, Texas, Friday, September 2, 2016. (Jeffrey McWhorter/Special Contributor)

Since most of the teams in the new District 6-6A are new to Guyer, Guyer fans and myself, I’ve decided to try something new this year.

Matt Welch, of Star Local Media, has covered pretty much all of these teams with the exception of Guyer and Wylie for years, so we’re going to do a Q&A each week about Guyer’s upcoming game.

This week, of course, it’s the battle of the Wildcats. Guyer and Plano have met once before in a bi-district playoff game in 2014. Guyer won that one easily, but Plano has a new defensive look and appears to be bound for another playoff season.

Without further delay, here’s the “conversation” Matt and I had over good ol’ electronic mail, along with a score prediction from each of us.

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Former Guyer standout inks with Raiders

Oklahoma State's Jimmy Bean speaks to reporters at Cotton Bowl Media Day, Monday, December 30, 2013, in Arlington, TX. David Minton/DRC

Oklahoma State’s Jimmy Bean speaks to reporters at Cotton Bowl Media Day, Monday, December 30, 2013, in Arlington, TX. David Minton/DRC

Jimmy Bean looked like he was a lock to be the first Guyer football player drafted by an NFL team.

The formerly underweight, long and rangy defensive end filled out at Oklahoma State and turned into one of the better defensive ends in the Big 12 before suffering a season-ending knee injury in a game against Texas Tech last season, effectively ending Bean’s collegiate career.

To show what NFL teams thought of Bean, he was still invited to the NFL combine last winter in advance of the draft even though he couldn’t partake in much of the drills, but teams still wanted to get a look at him and most importantly put him through the interview process.

By the time the draft rolled around, it was decided Bean’s knee still wasn’t 100 percent and teams passed on him. On Wednesday, Bean signed a deal to join the practice squad of the Oakland Raiders, putting him on the road to beginning his NFL career.

The 6-5, 264-pound (his measurements at the combine) Bean will now (theoretically) be on the same defensive line as former Ryan standout Mario Edwards Jr., who was drafted in 2015 out of Florida State.

Weekend recap: It’s not how you start…

Denton Ryan senior wide receiver Jimmy Love (13) tries to evade tackles from Wylie East senior defensive back Corey Gentle (4) and junior linebacker Justin Smith (12), Thursday, September 8, 2016, in Wylie, Texas.  Jeff Woo/DRC

Denton Ryan senior wide receiver Jimmy Love (13) tries to evade tackles from Wylie East senior defensive back Corey Gentle (4) and junior linebacker Justin Smith (12), Thursday, September 8, 2016, in Wylie, Texas. Jeff Woo/DRC

In a week that didn’t feature a whole lot in the way of big matchups in the area, there were a few that stood out in the gaggle of duds. Ryan remained unbeaten with a win over yet another quality opponent. Argyle avenged a crushing loss from last season, and Sanger got the best of Krum in a matchup of top-notch area Class 4A squads. Steve Gamel and I take a look back on the weekend in our weekly recap…

Ryan at Wylie East

AB: So the general theme surrounding Ryan so far this season has been the Raiders’ slow offensive starts. While that’s been true, the Raiders’ offense still has some players, most notably under center. When you have that, you’re usually going to end up being OK, and Spencer Sanders saw to it again on Thursday with a phenomenal second half to help Ryan run away with a convincing win over a good Wylie East team. The Raiders arguably have the toughest nondistrict schedule in the state in Class 5A, and they’ve got a 3-0 record with another big clash coming against Frisco Lone Star. Yeah, the offense has had its share of problems, but with a defense like that and the playmakers on offense, Ryan is going to be very tough to beat.

SG: Another great win for Ryan. While sitting in the press box prior to Thursday’s game, I overheard a few Mesquite Poteet coaches talking. Ryan had rallied the previous week in the second half to pick up the win, and those coaches kept saying their kids gave Ryan everything they could. That was a true statement, and it’s true for each of Ryan’s first three opponents. All of them are good teams, but they don’t have what Ryan has. People keep asking me what’s wrong with Ryan? Honestly, the Raiders are playing good teams, so it’s going to be a tough road. But their punishing defense wears teams down, and despite its slow starts, the offense has too many weapons to be held down for four quarters.

Guyer at Dallas Kimball

AB: There really wasn’t much to say about this game. Kimball was vastly overmatched, and while I commend the Knights’ coaches for wanting a matchup with Guyer, you have to wonder if it was even too much of a step up in weight class. Truthfully, it’s hard to imagine what good Kimball gets out of a 63-7 thrashing, and the same goes for Guyer. One thing Guyer did get was some confidence heading into its bye week and the subsequent District 6-6A opener against Plano. Luke Stillwell opened up the passing game that had accounted for 39 yards in two games by throwing for more than 200 yards and four touchdowns in one half of action. The Wildcats had shown they could throw the ball in a scrimmage against Euless Trinity, and they reaffirmed it Friday, albeit in a gross mismatch.

SG: Without having read my buddy Adam’s assessment of the Wildcats’ latest win, I’m sure I am echoing his thoughts when I say kudos should go out to Dallas Kimball for stepping up to ask Guyer for this Week 3 game. Most people may not know that. It was a tall order and a game Kimball was destined to lose, but it shows what type of program Kimball wants to be. As for the game, there’s really not much to say because the Wildcats dominated in every way possible. I hear Adam had his story written by halftime – must be nice.

The Colony at Denton

AB: The Broncos continue to find ways to win tight games behind a solid running game and a defense that won’t crack. The latest victim was The Colony, who couldn’t get a late big play to topple the Broncos. Denton will face another test this weekend against an upstart, unbeaten Keller Timber Creek that might be finding its identity after a few lean years upon the school opening. The Broncos should be favored, but going on the road on a short week won’t be easy for the Broncos.

SG: Denton found itself in another tight game going into the second half, but flexed its muscle in route to another solid win. The Broncos came into this week at No. 8 in The Associated Press’ Class 5A poll, and you have to believe they will stay ranked for the rest of this season. Caleb Osuofa is turning out to be a solid running back, and Colt Atkinson is doing some good things under center. Up next is a matchup against Class 6A Keller Timber Creek. I’ve never really thought too highly of Timber Creek as an opponent, but it’s a chance to build momentum heading into the District 5-5A opener against Ryan.

Braswell at Frisco Reedy

AB: To be perfectly honest, I was starting to wonder what I was going to write each week for Braswell’s games in these recaps after the Bengals were outscored 112-0 in their first two games. But they put on a good showing on Thursday night at the Ford Center at the Star — Frisco’s new monstrosity of a stadium. Cody Moore has still yet to find his high-flying passing attack he led at Mesquite Horn and Rockwall prior to starting the Braswell program, but he did find a 100-yard back in Ki’Andre Jackson. It’s going to be a lean year for Braswell, who saw its best chance at a win escape it, but with each passing week the Bengals seem to be improving.

SG: At 0-3, surely the Bengals’ coaching staff is looking at third-string quarterback Palmer Campbell as a realistic starter for this week’s game against Kaufman. Palmer stepped in against Reedy this past week as the starter due to injuries, and completed 16 of 25 passes for 88 yards. According to our Jimmy Isbell, coach Cody Moore lamented over not giving Palmer more chances to rack up yardage in a game the Bengals only lost, 28-12. There are no moral victories, but that’s a step forward for a team that had been outscored 112-0 coming in. Oh, and another thing – good job to Ki’Andre Jackson, who rushed for 160 yards and scored both touchdowns.

Celina at Argyle

AB: This one had to feel good for Argyle. True, Celina is obviously not the same team that walloped Argyle a year ago and went on to play in the Class 4A Division II state championship game — a game the Bobcats lost after starting quarterback Conner Pingleton broke his arm early in the game. Pingleton is still there, but something isn’t the same because the Bobcats aren’t nearly the team they were a year ago. However, with Argyle’s dynamic senior quarterback Dane Ledford out with a wrist injury, the Eagles are far from full strength either. And the Eagles put it on Celina in a big way to avenge last year’s loss and remain unbeaten on the year heading into a big road game at Abilene Wylie.

SG: Hayden Clearman, everybody. I don’t want to take away from a defense that did a tremendous job completely shutting down Celina’s offense, but the sophomore under center looked tremendous. And I can say that because I was there. Clearman threw just four incomplete passes while rolling up 226 yards and three touchdowns. That type of performance is just what the doctor ordered for an Argyle offense that soon enough will have Tulane commit Dane Ledford (wrist) back at quarterback. Until then, Clearman is no slouch.

Krum at Sanger

AB: This game lived up to the billing as one of the better matchups of the weekend as Sanger ended up pulling out a 14-6 win in what was expected to be a defensive clash. Krum will be just fine after a loss to a big 4A school, and Sanger rebounded nicely from a close loss to a big Class 5A school in Denton last week. Sanger’s offense is proving to be really versatile with CJ Jackson throwing for 300 yards one week and Dameon Moser throwing up 100-plus on the ground in a grind-it-out game the following week. With the Indians’ defense as good as ever, this team has a chance to be special later in the year.

SG: Neither Adam nor I got to see this game, which we pegged as a potential classic coming in. At 2-0, Krum looked red hot. Even Sanger’s wide-open passing attack appeared to be on-point. What ended up happening was a tight game that saw Sanger capitalize on a solid showing from Dameon Moser in a 14-6 win. Opponents really need to take Sanger a bit more seriously. As for Krum, one loss doesn’t break this season. They’ll be fine.