Sean Steffen / Amarillo Globe-News Denton Ryan quarterback Spencer Sanders throws a pass against Tascosa Monday, November 30, 2015 during a Class 6A Regional game at Dick Bivins Stadium in Amarillo.
After all those lame practices and scrimmages, things got real on Friday (Thursday, actually) and we had our opening week of Texas high school football season. There were some upsets, some blowouts, some injuries, and more, and my esteemed colleague, Steve Gamel, and I take a look back in our weekend recap.
Ryan at Lancaster
AB: I figured Ryan would win this game, but I was interested to see how it’d play out knowing the athleticism Lancaster possesses as a big test for what is a loaded Ryan team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. True to form in games like that, Lancaster made it interesting for a while before Ryan eventually pulled away and proved to be the better team. The Raiders’ offense is going to be really tough to stop this year with Spencer Sanders and his stable of receivers, and everyone knows what that defense is capable of. For Ryan, it’s state title or bust, as far as I’m concerned. The Raiders are that good.
SG: Ryan did not look sharp early on against Lancaster, but let’s not forget this was a top 10 matchup between two of Class 5A’s elite teams. And it was a season opener, so crazy stuff is bound to happen. Ryan turned the ball over three times, but in the end proved it was the better team by forcing four turnovers and scoring 28-straight points to pull away. Couple of quick thoughts: That defense is amazing and the pressure they can inflict up front is unreal. Also, Gabriel Douglas (11 catches, 190 yards and two touchdowns) is an absolute monster at wide receiver.
Mansfield Lake Ridge at Guyer
AB: Yes, Lake Ridge lost 47 seniors from last year’s team that was a couple of key injuries away from being 16-0. Yes, the Eagles lost quarterback Jett Duffey and running back Duke Carter — more than 80 percent of their offense from a year ago. But they simply reloaded. There is some serious skill on that team out wide and in the secondary on defense. It was enough to lead Guyer, 15-3, midway through the second quarter before the Wildcats reeled off 21 unanswered points and never looked back in a 55-35 win. I said on many occasions Guyer might have the best 1-2 running back punch in Texas, and I’m standing by it after Week 1 as Myron Mason and Noah Cain rushed for nearly 400 yards combined. Guyer is going to be fine. Yes, even without Shawn Robinson. Speaking of… You know what’s next.
SG: This was a matchup against a really really really good Class 5A team that could be playing well past Thanksgiving. We all knew Guyer had a loaded running game, though, and that talk was backed up when the Wildcats – namely Myron Mason and Noah Cain – rolled up a staggering 494 rushing yards. That rushing attack was working so well that Guyer barely had to throw the ball. Luke Stillwell passed for 19 yards but added 92 rushing yards and a touchdown run of his own. Must be rough for opposing defenses when you know what a team is going to do, but still can’t stop them.
Denton at Lake Dallas
AB: I was shocked by this result. Sounds like the Broncos pretty much had their way with Lake Dallas. The Falcons lost a ton of really good players to graduation from last year’s state semifinalist squad, but they had enough back to where it seemed there wouldn’t be a huge drop-off. There’s still plenty of time to prove that theory after just one game, but Denton sure had its way with the Falcons and seemed to have found another stud running back in Caleb Osuofa. Big win for Kevin Atkinson & Co.
SG: I love when our Denton-area teams face off, though I was surprised by the outcome. That’s not a knock against Denton. I just felt like, despite the losses to graduation, the Falcons would turn in a better performance – though I’m sure they will rebound just fine from this. Denton’s ground game rolled up 303 rushing yards despite losing star back Xavier Scott to graduation. We see you, Caleb Osuofa. Lake Dallas turned the ball over four times – including three interceptions from a quarterback that managed to start five games last year and is no slouch.
Braswell at Haslet Eaton
AB: I didn’t see this game, and unfortunately for Braswell, it doesn’t sound like I missed much. But take it from someone who saw Guyer’s 1-9 season in Year 2 of its program and actually saw the Wildcats play a game in its opening year (0-10), a program’s first game, or even first year are hardly indicative of where said program is going. I’ve heard from some good football people that Cody Moore is without question a great football mind and coach, so I have no doubt they’ll get things squared away. Just don’t expect it real soon.
SG: This was one of three games I attended this weekend, and even with the lopsided loss, I do truly believe that Braswell will be just fine. People forget that Guyer and many other quality programs went through a similar shellacking early on before becoming some of the top programs in the area. The same will happen at Braswell. By the way, the Bengals have some quality athletes whose performances were clearly overshadowed by the 55-0 loss. Ki’Andre Jackson rushed for 70 yards and caught two passes for 11 yards in the losing effort.
Argyle at Lovejoy
AB: I was following along in passing on Saturday night and kept seeing a close game and thought, “Wow, that’s a pretty good result for Argyle to beat a solid 5A team.” Then, I heard later on in the night that Tulane pledged quarterback Dane Ledford didn’t play the entire second half after suffering a wrist injury, which is thought to be a sprain. I thought Dillon Carter was going to be the Eagles’ featured running back, but it seems like they found their guy in Don Williams, who had a whale of a game in helping to carry a Ledford-less offense while also displaying what we already knew about the Eagles — their offensive line is off-the-charts good.
SG: Everyone is going to be talking about quarterback Dane Ledford’s wrist injury after this one, and rightfully so. He’s extremely talented and, as of right now, is slated to have an MRI. That’s all we know about the Tulane commit, but we wish him well. As for the game, it shouldn’t be brushed under the rug that Argyle poured it on Lovejoy in the second half – without its quarterback. Don Williams is going to be a dynamic running back.
Pilot Point at Krum
AB: I knew coming into this year Krum had a chance to be a really good team. That will tend to happen in small-school 4A football when you have more than 30 seniors on your roster. It looks like that leadership is paying dividends for the Bobcats early on after their shutout whuppin’ of Pilot Point. Krum had a Cinderella run to the 4A Division II regional final last year, but I’m starting to think they’ll return this year and there will be no “Cinderella” about it.
SG: Another battle of Denton-area teams, and Krum dominated it, 29-0. I read that was the first shutout Pilot Point has suffered since 2011? That’s big, if true. Meanwhile, Krum forced three turnovers, rolled behind a steady run game, and proved it can be a major playoff power this season. Krum ran the ball 50 times compared to just 12 pass attempts. With that being said, quarterback Trent McMillin appears to be a solid addition.