Associated Press state poll: Week 1

Denton senior wide receiver Chris Miller (14) stiff arms Lake Dallas senior line backer Jacob Schuster (35), Friday, August 26, 2016, in Corinth. Jeff Woo/DRC

Denton senior wide receiver Chris Miller (14) stiff arms Lake Dallas senior line backer Jacob Schuster (35), Friday, August 26, 2016, in Corinth. Jeff Woo/DRC

The newest edition of the Associated Press state poll is out after one week of games, and there was a little movement for the area teams in the poll after several big matchups and some upsets.

The biggest movement came from the Denton Broncos, who jumped from nowhere to be found in the Class 5A poll all the way up to the first team receiving votes (No. 11) after a sound beating of Lake Dallas, which opened the year at No. 14. Ryan remained at No. 3 in 5A while Cedar Park and Aledo traded places above the Raiders. Argyle stayed at No. 1 in Class 4A, and Guyer moved up one spot in the “ORV” to No. 13 and now have No. 3 DeSoto waiting for them this week.

Here is The Associated Press high school poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, points based on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, and the team’s ranking in last week’s poll:

Class 6A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Austin Westlake (7) (1-0) 215 5
2. Allen (14) (1-0) 212 4
3. DeSoto (1) (1-0) 161 6
4. Converse Judson (2) (1-0) 134 10
5. Katy (0-1) 132 1
6. Galena Park North Shore (1-0) 103 8
7. Cibolo Steele (1-0) 101 7
8. Lake Travis (0-1) 70 2
9. Cedar Hill (0-1) 69 3
10. Euless Trinity (1-0) 67 9

Others receiving votes: 11, Richmond George Ranch 26. 12, Arlington Martin 14. 13, Denton Guyer 6. 14, Lufkin 3. 15, The Woodlands 2. 16, Tyler 1. 16, Mansfield 1. 16, Pearland 1. 16, San Angelo Central 1. 16, Cedar Park Vista Ridge 1.

Class 5A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Cedar Park (9) (1-0) 218 2
2. Aledo (10) (1-0) 215 1
3. Denton Ryan (5) (1-0) 195 3
4. Manvel (1-0) 151 4
5. Temple (1-0) 134 5
6. Frisco Lone Star (1-0) 120 6
7. Dallas Highland Park (1-0) 112 7
8. CC Calallen (1-0) 71 8
9. Richmond Foster (1-0) 50 9
10. Angleton (1-0) 11 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Denton 8. 11, Lancaster 8. 13, Texarkana Texas 7. 14, College Station 6. 15, Ennis 5. 16, Crosby 4. 17, Mansfield Timberview 2. 18, Georgetown 1. 18, Canyon 1. 18, Abilene Cooper 1.

Class 4A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Argyle (13) (1-0) 226 1
2. West Orange-Stark (10) (1-0) 221 2
3. Waco La Vega (1) (1-0) 187 3
4. Gilmer (1-0) 151 6
5. Carthage (0-0) 145 5
6. Abilene Wylie (1-0) 108 8
7. Kennedale (0-0) 70 10
8. Cuero (1-0) 42 NR
9. Navasota (0-1) 32 4
10. China Spring (1-0) 24 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Texarkana Liberty-Eylau 21. 12, Liberty Hill 20. 12, Celina 20. 14, La Grange 18. 15, Henderson 12. 16, Princeton 9. 17, Terrell 5. 18, Sweetwater 4. 19, Van 2. 20, Sinton 1. 20, El Campo 1. 20, Center 1.

Class 3A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Brock (19) (1-0) 231 1
2. Cameron Yoe (2) (1-0) 210 3
3. Newton (2) (1-0) 160 6
4. Franklin (1) (1-0) 154 8
5. Waskom (1-0) 152 5
6. Malakoff (1-0) 128 7
7. East Bernard (1-0) 72 10
8. Mineola (0-1) 56 2
9. Canadian (0-1) 32 4
10. Crockett (1-0) 27 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Sunnyvale 26. 12, Cisco 16. 13, Teague 14. 13, La Marque 14. 15, White Oak 8. 16, Wall 6. 16, East Chambers 6. 18, Rockdale 3. 19, Grandview 2. 19, Pottsboro 2. 21, Mathis 1.

Class 2A
School Record Total Points Prv
1. Refugio (20) (1-0) 235 1
2. Bremond (4) (1-0) 207 2
3. Shiner (1-0) 192 3
4. Iraan (1-0) 160 4
5. Stratford (1-0) 124 5
6. Albany (1-0) 119 6
7. Mart (1-0) 83 9
8. Tenaha (1-0) 64 10
9. Muenster (1-0) 45 NR
10. Lovelady (0-0) 23 NR

Others receiving votes: 11, Alto 16. 12, Wellington 15. 13, Post 8. 14, Goldthwaite 7. 15, Stinnett West Texas 6. 16, Crawford 5. 16, Mason 5. 18, Seagraves 2. 18, Thorndale 2. 18, Weimar 2.

Weekend recap: Let’s get it on

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.

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.














Weekend recap: End of the road

Allen quarterback Mitchell Jonke (2) dives for a touchdown as Ryan linebacker Nick Watts tries for the stop in the first quarter during the Allen High School Eagles vs. the Denton Ryan High School Raiders playoff football game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, December 5, 2015. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

Allen quarterback Mitchell Jonke (2) dives for a touchdown as Ryan linebacker Nick Watts tries for the stop in the first quarter during the Allen High School Eagles vs. the Denton Ryan High School Raiders playoff football game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, December 5, 2015. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

While Argyle and Lake Dallas lived to see another week and a state semifinal football game, this past weekend marked the end of the road for three other DRC-area teams, as Guyer, Ryan and Krum all lost in the regional final round.

Buckle up, as Steve and I look back on the week that was and look ahead to next week’s games while putting a bow on the season of the departed teams.

Ryan vs Allen

AB: When I was on Dave Campbell’s Texas Football podcast on Friday, I was asked what Ryan would have to do to win this game and what kind of chance I thought the Raiders had at pulling the gigantic upset. I proceeded to tell them my line about how I told myself after the Ryan-Guyer game that I was finished picking against Ryan. Then, came this game. Sorry, but I just don’t see anyone beating Allen this year. The fact Ryan made the game somewhat interesting is a testament to the year the Raiders had, and to do that without super-special two-way star Tyreke Davis was really impressive. Another thing from that podcast: It was brought up that we might as well start calling Ryan the 2016 Class 5A Division I state champion, because, y’all, it’s gonna happen. Great season for the Raiders, and I think it’s safe to say their 13-0 start was totally unexpected, and I’ll call Steve a liar if he says otherwise.

SG: I wrote in my game story that Ryan had practically every card in the deck stacked against it heading into this game, but in no way was that to suggest the Raiders didn’t belong there. Many experts refused to give Ryan its due credit this season, and maybe that’s because as reporters we get comfortable seeing certain teams in the mix every year. The thing is, Ryan is one of those teams. Yes, the Raiders were coming off a 5-5 season, but going 13-1 this year is about the standard since 2000. There was every reason to believe Ryan could beat Allen, at least in my opinion. That didn’t happen, but that’s OK. This program is back in the mix, and with a drop to Class 5A next year, will go from being the team no one wanted to pick each week this season to being the odds on favorite. This season only proved that point.

Guyer vs Mansfield

AB: This game got out of hand, but not before Guyer blew a chance to possibly get the ball rolling the other way when they shot themselves in the foot repeatedly in the first quarter. Truthfully, Guyer had a great chance to have a three-score lead in the first quarter, as its defense was bottling up Mansfield’s offense and getting turnovers of its own. Only problem was, Guyer had three first-quarter fumbles and five turnovers in the game, and oh, another thing, Mansfield was really, really good. Like John Walsh said after the game, those fumbles made the game out of hand, but I’m not exactly positive Guyer would’ve won that game even without the fumbles. It definitely would’ve been a lot closer though. A lot happened to Guyer this year — injuries, identity shift, and other stuff — and for the Wildcats to find themselves in Round 4 with a chance at the state semis speaks volumes about what they were able to do this season.

SG: I was a little surprised by this outcome. This round of playoffs is always tough to predict because every team that has made it this far is extremely talented. Mansfield is a perfect example, but a Guyer win was not out of the question. Had Guyer lost by one or two touchdowns, I wouldn’t have batted an eye, but to lose 44-7? I remember reading my buddy Adam on Twitter that Guyer’s opening touchdown drive looked incredibly easy. But they didn’t score again and were held to a paltry 190 yards. Guyer hasn’t lost by that wide a margin, or been beaten that soundly, since it was a fledgling program 9-10 years ago. It’s far from a death sentence, and the Wildcats have plenty to be proud of in a season where – like Ryan – many experts weren’t giving them enough credit.

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Weekend recap: Winner-winner, chicken dinner

Denton Guyer High School cornerback Dio Williams (38) celebrates an interception in the end zone to help secure the win in front of San Angelo Central High School wide receiver Cal Vincent (7) during the fourth quarter as Denton Guyer High School hosted San Angelo Central High School at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Friday, November 27, 2015.  (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Denton Guyer High School cornerback Dio Williams (38) celebrates an interception in the end zone to help secure the win in front of San Angelo Central High School wide receiver Cal Vincent (7) during the fourth quarter as Denton Guyer High School hosted San Angelo Central High School at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Friday, November 27, 2015. (Stewart F. House/Special Contributor)

Can you believe it? Every team in our coverage area playing in the third round won this week (with one still to play). Can’t say I saw that one coming (looking at you, Krum!). I think it’s safe to say this is the most teams we’ve ever had playing in the fourth round of the playoffs, and it’s come in a year we expected to be a down year for the area as a whole when the season began.

Without further delay, let Steve and I take you on a trip down memory lane to just a couple of days ago with our weekly recap.

Guyer vs San Angelo Central

AB: For a quarter, it looked like Guyer would once again literally run away with another playoff victory. Myron Mason had two touchdown runs early, including a long one, to give the Wildcats a pretty quick 14-0 lead over the seemingly overmatched Bobcats from West Texas. Then, Guyer allowed a kickoff return TD, and it was game on. Shawn Robinson wasn’t himself, and even got benched for a series in the third quarter, but to his credit he came back in and busted his one big run of the day — an 80-yarder —to set up a remarkable Hail Mary from 3 yards out (if that’s possible) to freshman wide receiver De’Vion Harmon to take the lead for good. Guyer pushed its lead to two scores in the closing minutes with a 75-yard score from Mason but Central rallied and had the ball throwing to the end zone to tie it as time expired. It was a gutty win for Guyer, whose offense wasn’t at full tilt, but the Wildcats got a great performance from its defense, led by PJ Broussard, Michael Carrillo and Dio Williams, against a really potent Central passing attack. Now, it’s on to the fourth round, a round in which Guyer is 5-0 all-time.

SG: Guyer found itself in a dogfight against San Angelo, saw its starting quarterback benched for a short period in the second half, and still found a way to come out with some late-game heroics in a 35-27 win. I wasn’t at this game so I’m not going to speculate on the reasons why Shawn Robinson was pulled in favor of Luke Stillwell. But whatever the reason may be, I expect Walsh and Robinson to figure it out by the time this Saturday’s game against Mansfield comes around. The Wildcats are still alive to fight another day, but Robinson and his ability to do the near impossible are a key factor in whether or not Guyer moves on to the state semifinals. This isn’t the time to let inner strife get in the way.

Ryan vs Amarillo Tascosa, Today

AB: My buddy Steve had to play the waiting game, and what seemed like a logical conclusion the whole time was finally reached officially on Saturday morning. Now, the Raiders finally get to hit the field in Amarillo on Monday afternoon against a 10-2 Amarillo Tascosa team with its throwback offense, similar to the one run by Amarillo against Guyer in 2013. Those old-school West Texas squads aren’t as athletic as Guyer or Ryan, so they try to play keep-away and keep their team in games, and that’s what Tascosa will do today. Ultimately, I think Ryan will be too much for Tascosa, they’ll improve to 13-0 on the season and have a battle of undefeated teams on Saturday against Allen. That’ll be fun.

SG: I’m here in Amarillo and in a few short hours I’ll be covering the third-round Class 6A Division I slugfest between Ryan and Tascosa. It’s hard to tell just how good Tascosa (10-2) really is. The Rebels run a triple option attack, which if you didn’t know, isn’t used often. That will be a challenge for the Raiders’ defense, plus the fact there are no common opponents to compare against. I have to believe Ryan is ready for this showdown, and for the first time in quite some time, I think many of my fellow experts agree. Offensively, Ryan has proved itself time and time again and picked up big wins over Plano East and South Grand Prairie to set up this showdown. Should Ryan win this game, too, it will set up a quick turnaround to face Allen on Saturday. It will be the toughest challenge the Raiders face, but first, you got to knock off Tascosa. Follow me for updates on Twitter (@NewspaperSteve) starting at 3 p.m.

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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: Bi-district dandies

Guyer freshman running back Noah Cain (22) cruises into the end zone for a touchdown against Hebron, Friday, November 13, 2015, at Apogee Stadium in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer freshman running back Noah Cain (22) cruises into the end zone for a touchdown against Hebron, Friday, November 13, 2015, at Apogee Stadium in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

The Denton Record-Chronicle lost just one area team over the weekend, meaning we’re all still really busy, so thanks, schools. Keep reading as Steve Gamel and I take a look at the weekend’s action.

Hebron at Guyer

AB: I said before this game that if Guyer could get everything together on offense, they could beat anyone in the 6A Division II bracket. And I still believe that. They’re an incredibly inconsistent team offensively this year, and that was on full display on Friday. Guyer trailed 13-6 at half (even though it easily could’ve been 13-13 if not for a questionable out-of-bounds call on Shawn Robinson’s tremendous run) and trailed 26-13 with 1:40 left in the third quarter. Then, the Wildcats showed up and were that “good” version of themselves. That’s when Guyer began to impose its will on the ground and just ran wild on the Hawks behind Shawn Robinson’s 247 rushing yards and freshman, yes FRESHMAN, Noah Cain’s 177 yards. From that 1:40 mark on, Guyer rushed for 262 of their 532 rushing yards and averaged 13.1 yards per carry. It was almost comical how easy it was for them. Now, Guyer gets a rematch with Southlake Carroll, who ended the Wildcats’ year in the area round last year in a high-scoring affair plagued by Guyer mistakes. If the Wildcats have mistakes like that, or like they did Friday, this game won’t end well for Guyer. If the Wildcats play clean football, like I said, they can beat anyone in front of them because of their defense and their insane rushing attack.

SG: I love reading quotes from Guyer coach John Walsh, don’t you? I mean, this guy laughs in the face of the whole “coach-speak” philosophy and simply tells it like it is – win or lose. I respect that, especially when he went on record with my buddy Adam by saying, “…We collectively screwed it up.” Hebron is obviously a better team than what I saw when Ryan sliced and diced the Hawks in Week 2, but Guyer honestly should have done the same early on in Friday’s first-round playoff game. Walsh clearly agreed. Two takeaways and the Wildcats still trailed 13-6. But, like all championship-caliber teams do – Guyer has won two titles, remember? – the Wildcats didn’t fold. Shawn Robinson and freshman Noah Cain obliterated the Hawk defense with 247 and 177 rushing yards, respectively. Cain, in particular, has been absolutely insane this season and is practically a lock for our DRC all-area newcomer of the year.

Plano East at Ryan

AB: Just sitting here at the office talking to my co-worker Steve, and I told him about my revelation that came full circle over the weekend. As it turns out, Ryan is a really, really good football team. I had pretty much come to that conclusion after the Raiders beat Guyer to close the regular season, but I’m all-in now. They didn’t use their usual defensive dominance to beat Plano East in their bi-district playoff win. Instead, they used a high-flying offensive attack led once again by the great Spencer Sanders. All the stars showed up for the Raiders — Sanders, Gabriel Douglas, Rodney Gladney, and of course, Tyreke Davis, who had a pick-six. Anyway, you don’t go 11-0 without being good, regardless of a lack of competition throughout the season, and the Raiders are a darn good football team. Word of caution for Raiders fans, though: Don’t think you got a break by not having to face previously unbeaten Euless Trinity. SGP can play.

SG: I’ve been saying all year long that Ryan is a more complete team than it is being given credit for, even at 11-0. Not only have the Raiders remained unbeaten, but they’ve won those games in a variety of ways (offense, defense, special teams, low-scoring and high-scoring). On Friday, they went toe-to-toe with a pretty good offensive team in Plano East and flat-out outscored them while rolling up 514 total yards. This could have been a tighter game but Plano East was, in my opinion, too fancy for its own good going for 2-point conversion attempts early in the first half. They missed two in a row, then had an extra point kick blocked and turned the ball over twice. Meanwhile, Ryan didn’t commit a single turnover and at one point lead by 17 early in the second half. Not a bad start at all to the playoffs for Ryan. Next up is South Grand Prairie at AT&T Stadium.

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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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Ryan-Guyer will feature two special linebackers, and then some

Guyer's Michael Carrillo (6) tackles Southlake Carroll's Ryan Aqnew (7) Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Matt Garnett/Special Contributor

Guyer’s Michael Carrillo (6) tackles Southlake Carroll’s Ryan Aqnew (7) Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Matt Garnett/Special Contributor

Dharius Timmons might be the best middle linebacker Guyer has ever had, and Guyer’s coaches have said he’s almost surely the most intelligent one with the best football IQ and understanding of the position. Ryan linebacker Nick Watts drew all kinds of praise from Guyer head coach John Walsh this week.

But Friday’s matchup between Guyer and Ryan — the rubber match of the all-time series that sits at at 3-3 tie with no certainty of when the teams will ever meet again — will feature two extraordinary linebackers in Guyer senior Michael Carrillo and Ryan junior Tyreke Davis.

Both are versatile — Carrillo was a standout tailback in middle school and could be for Guyer if not for a stable of quality runners. He still returns punts for the Wildcats and has housed a couple of punt returns in his career as a three-year starter. But he excels on defense and is known as one of the area’s, if not the state’s, most fearsome hitters.

This season, Carrillo has been in on 69 tackles, including 17 behind the line of scrimmage in eight games. He’s broken up six passes with two sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, an interception and a defensive touchdown.

“He’s a great player,” Ryan coach Dave Henigan said. “He means a lot to that defense, and I think it was very noticeable when he didn’t play that one game when he had his wisdom teeth out [in Guyer's stunning loss to Keller Central]. He’s unbelievably physical, and he’s around the ball a lot. He makes tackles, but they aren’t just tackles, he tackles violently. I really enjoy watching him play.”

Ryan junior linebacker Tyreke Davis (21) slams into Keller Central junior quarterback Reese Robertson (10), Friday, September 25, 2015, at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Ryan junior linebacker Tyreke Davis (21) slams into Keller Central junior quarterback Reese Robertson (10), Friday, September 25, 2015, at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

As for Davis, the mutual respect from the coaches carries over on the other side of the spectrum. Davis took the area by storm last year and was voted as our All-Area Newcomer of the Year after a standout sophomore year as a running back and linebacker.

This year, Davis has had his hands in on 85 tackles, including 15 behind the line of scrimmage, two sacks and an interception returned for a score. He’s rushed for 574 yards and 12 touchdowns in nine games.

While Walsh said, obviously, he’s partial to Carrillo, Davis would be his next choice if he was putting together a defense.

“I think I have the best linebacker in the state of Texas, but if I was looking for another one, it’d be Tyreke,” Walsh said. “He’s fun to watch on film. To watch him run the ball and then go play defense at a high level is impressive. He doesn’t get blocked, he has great instincts and he does some punishing when he gets there. I have a lot of respect for him. When I turn on film for Ryan, I find myself not watching the scheme, I find myself watching No. 21.”

So if you want something to watch within the game on Friday night, keep an eye on those two because they’re both incredibly special players.

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.