Weekend recap: Upset city

Denton Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) shows the ball under pressure in the fourth quarter during a high school football class 6A division I Region I area playoff round game between Denton Ryan and South Grand Prairie at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday November 20, 2015. Denton Ryan beat South Grand Prairie 43-35. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

Denton Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) shows the ball under pressure in the fourth quarter during a high school football class 6A division I Region I area playoff round game between Denton Ryan and South Grand Prairie at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday November 20, 2015. Denton Ryan beat South Grand Prairie 43-35. (Andy Jacobsohn/The Dallas Morning News)

I tweeted something that I have to brag about a bit on Friday night, because I think it was a telling tweet. It went something like this: “Remember when Ryan wasn’t very good until they beat Guyer, but it didn’t matter because Guyer wasn’t very good?” Welp, here we are in the regional semifinal and both teams are still alive and coming off perhaps the two most impressive wins in the state over the weekend, particularly Guyer’s curb-stomping of Carroll. Both teams proved a lot in games that were seen as upsets, while Denton ran into the Aledo buzzsaw. Steve and I look back on a great weekend of area playoff games. Enjoy…

Ryan vs South Grand Prairie

AB: The Raiders just keep on winning, and just when I thought their run of success might be coming to an end (I was following along as best I could on the Dallas Morning News’ live stat website), they kicked it into another gear and shocked a South Grand Prairie team that was coming off a defeat of state powerhouse and previously unbeaten Euless Trinity. I picked Ryan to win this game, and I’ll do it again this week against Amarillo Tascosa, because I’ve finally come to the conclusion this is a really good football team. There are a couple of reasons for that — first off, the defense is as advertised, and despite giving up some points the last two weeks has come through when needed, and second, Spencer Sanders, y’all. The sophomore quarterback has been so impressive really since Ryan’s win over Guyer, when he was superb.

SG: Pack your bags for Amarillo, folks. Ryan beat South Grand Prairie last week by forcing four turnovers in a game that, prior to those momentum changers, looked like it could get away from the Raiders. But it didn’t, and that’s something Ryan has done time and time again. At 12-0, I believe Ryan will win over some “experts” who may have previously viewed them as an underdog going into this Saturday’s showdown against Tascosa. Then it’s a date with Allen or Arlington Martin. Let me give credit to linebacker Nick Watts. Not only did he have a fumble recovery in the third quarter against SGP and a clutch interception late in the fourth, but I hear he also forced two fumbles. Rodney Gladney’s 82-yard kickoff return before halftime kept Ryan in it, and Spencer Sanders was as cool as the other side of the pillow with his team needing to overcome a 5-point hole in the final 8:50 of the game.

Guyer vs Southlake Carroll

AB: If Guyer’s playoff win over Hebron last week was one of the most odd, weird games I’ve ever covered. Friday night’s win over the heavily favored Southlake Carroll Dragons was one of the most impressive ones. John Walsh told me before the game they were going to milk the clock and play ball-control offense with their three-headed rushing attack because it was their best chance of pulling off the upset, and I wasn’t sure what to think. Not that I didn’t believe him, but that’s not in Walsh’s quick-strike, score, score, score DNA. But the Wildcats did it to perfection, and it was thing a beauty. Big, big kudos to Shawn Robinson, who has taken some deserved criticism at times this year, but man, he’s hit his playoff switch really over the last four games — Keller Timber Creek, Ryan, Hebron and Carroll. I’ve said all along, Guyer is a dangerous team in the playoffs because IF they figure things out and get right, they can beat anyone, largely because of Robinson and their running game with Myron Mason and Noah Cain, who neared 200 rushing yards himself as a FRESHMAN in Class 6A football. Now, Guyer gets to play my hometown, boyhood team, San Angelo Central. That’s right, I grew up as a kid dreaming of being a Bobcat before moving to DFW in middle school. I don’t know a lot about Central now, other than they can score lots of points and their defense is better against the run than the pass, so Guyer might have to change up its strategy a bit this week and put more on Robinson’s arm. Don’t worry, though, the way he’s playing now, he’s plenty capable of that.

SG: Dragon slayers. I loved the headline from Adam’s game story except that they hadn’t “become” anything. Guyer has longstanding success against Carroll, and it wasn’t long ago that the Wildcats beat the Dragons twice in one season. Many “experts” picked against the Wildcats. I have to admit I figured it would be a tighter game than what happened, but Southlake has shown it is susceptible to giving up huge chunks of yards in the run game. Guyer took advantage to the tune of 544 rushing yards. That was the game plan going in, and they worked it to perfection. Shawn Robinson, Noah Cain and Myron Mason all rushed for at least 104 yards. Robinson tallied 263 yards on the ground on a night where he only needed to throw for 65 yards. Heck of a performance, and now it’s on to the third round – Guyer’s deepest run in the state’s largest classification since making it to the 2010 state final.

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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: 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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Krum, Sanger celebrate start of season with Midnight Madness (VIDEO)

While some schools opted to start the first day of football practice at a conventional hour, Krum and Sanger didn’t waste any time to get the season underway.

Krum and Sanger started practice at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, and I talked to Krum head coach Gary Robinson and Sanger head coach Chuck Galbreath about the early-morning drills. Here’s what they had to say.


Krum, Sanger begin football seasons at midnight from Ben Baby on Vimeo.

Weekend Recap: Denton ISD, Sanger roll

Ryan senior running back Tyrone Williams scored two touchdowns in Ryan's 33-0 win over Lewisville on Friday night. Ryan, Denton and Guyer all won their respective games last week.


It’s no longer an anomaly when the three Denton ISD schools win on the same weekend.
Ryan, Denton and Guyer each came up with big victories in last week’s action, with Guyer’s win over Rider the game that was mostly in question for much of the night.

In area play, Sanger is making everybody forget about last season’s winless campaign and continued to roll with a win over Krum, while Lake Dallas’ 11-year playoff streak was snapped.

If you missed any or all of it, don’t fret. Adam Boedeker and I look back at last week’s area action.

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Ty Damron — 17 Ks, 0 hits, 1 amazing game

Damron strikes out 17

Krum's Ty Damron fanned 17 batters and pitched a no-hitter against Celina last night . Krum won 11-0 and advanced to the area round of the playoffs.

Can we just talk about what happened last night?

No, I’m not referencing what happened on American Idol  or Grey’s Anatomy (if people still watch those shows).

Last night in the opening round of the Class 3A playoffs, Krum lefty pitcher Ty Damron struck out 17 batters and pitched an abbreviated no-hitter in a 11-0 victory over Celina.

Since Krum scored four runs in the top of the sixth inning and the Bobcats were leading by more than 10 runs, the game was called after the sixth, so Damron didn’t  get to pitch all seven innings.

But let’s dwell on this for a little bit.

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Friday’s Playoff Preview

Denton and Guyer play in a doubleheader Friday night, and if both teams win, they will square off next week at UNT's Super Pit. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)

The amount of area teams left in the basketball postseason has trickled down to six, with five teams on the boys side and two on the girls side.

In Class 2A boys action, Ponder and Sunnyvale tipped off at 7 p.m., with the winner going on to face either Whitesboro or Peaster. But with the exception of that contest, there’s four very interesting contests going on tomorrow: a Denton-Guyer doubleheader, a rematch between Argyle and Dallas Wilmer-Hutchins,  Krum girls in the 3A regional tournament and both Liberty teams in action.

Here’s a closer look at tomorrow night’s games.


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Thursday’s Playoff Preview

Graysen Schantz and the Lake Dallas Falcons face Saginaw Boswell tonight, while Krum plays Celina to kick-off the playoffs.

Tonight marks the first batch of playoff games, the first sign that fall is truly here and winter’s soon approaching.

Krum (9-1) plays Celina (8-2) tonight at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex at 7:30 p.m., while Lake Dallas plays Saginaw Boswell at Justin Northwest ISD’s Stadium.

For starters, we’ll be blogging tonight’s Krum-Celina game and keeping tabs on the Lake Dallas contest, so if you can’t find a jacket and don’t feel like bracing the cold, we’ll be on the blog to keep you company.

OK. Let’s dive into the two games we have going on tonight.

Lake Dallas vs. Saginaw Boswell, Class 4A Division II bi-district round

Boswell comes out of an atrocious District 6-4A, where the Pioneers finished second behind Birdville, the only team to beat Boswell in district play.

Boswell’s lead by their quarterback Zach Files, who has thrown for 26 TDs and 7 INTs this season. Files also leads the team in rushing with 453 yards.

Files’ two most used weapons are Jerrell Fisher (42 catches, 713 yrards, 9 TDS) and Scott Moody (34 catches, 696 yards, 10 TDs). Boswell’s offense is averaging 48 points per game and has scored at least 50 points on six different occasions.

Now, things may not be as easy against a Lake Dallas defense that’s allowed 24.9 points per game. That defense is without defensive lineman Luke Medlicott, who tore his ACL midway through the season.

Still, DE Graysen Schantz has piled up 12 sacks and 28 quarterback hurries this season. If Lake Dallas is going to win, Schantz and the rest of the defense has to contain Boswell’s offense in order for the Falcons to have a chance at advancing to face either Waco or Fort Worth Wyatt.

Krum vs. Celina, Class 3A Division II bi-district round 

Now if you’re in the immediate Denton area and have no plans for tonight, you should be at C.H. Collins tonight. It should be a fun, not just because it has the potential to be a really good game, but because I fully expect both towns to show up in their respective colors for this one.

If you didn’t read the story in today’s paper about the game, go check it out.

In Krum’s loss to Gainesville two weeks ago, Krum’s rushing attack wasn’t near as potent as it was all season. Senior running back Reed Flores was “stifled” for 116 yards and Krum (9-1) scored two defensive touchdowns and no rushing touchdowns. Krum DB Travis White has had a stellar year with eight interceptions through 10 games, so we’ll see if Celina decides to throw the ball in his general vicinity.

Celina (8-2) hasn’t been overly impressive and got pummelled by Argyle 45-7 for the District 10-3A title.

Let the playoffs begin.