Guyer senior defensive end Jalen Sutton (17) sacks Wylie senior quarterback Emilio Ames (15) after he fumbles the ball at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex, Friday, October 21, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC
The area was full of winners on Friday night, and even the teams that lost (Sanger and Braswell) had some positives to look at in their own regard.
My loyal sidekick Steve Gamel and I take a look back at the weekend that was in area high school football…
Wylie at Guyer
AB: The Wildcats played flawlessly on defense for a half before a pretty potent offense got to them. Take out the passing game like Guyer did (limiting Emilio Ames’ near 250 yards per game passing to well under 200), and you’re gonna get hit in the run game from time to time. That’s what Wylie did with a couple of well-timed draws to its shifty change-of-pace back, and they worked. Guyer’s offense did enough with Thabo Mwaniki getting the nod at quarterback, and he played well as he led the team in rushing and didn’t make any mistakes. Penalties were an issue again, and that’s something Guyer is simply going to have to clean up in these next two weeks before the money games start.
SG: My buddy Adam Boedeker will tell you this game was not as close as the score indicates, and maybe that’s true. I wasn’t there, after all. But I’m still surprised by the score. Wylie was able to hold Guyer to under 300 rushing yards, which for the Wildcats, is somewhat of an off night. Wylie was also able to pile up nearly 200 yards on the ground against what I believe is an incredibly salty defense. Regardless, it’s another win for Guyer and it comes off the heels of a rough loss to Allen. So kudos to Guyer for getting back in the win column, which is where I think they’ll stay heading into the playoffs.
Ryan at Wichita Falls
AB: It’s to the point now where I’m not really sure what to say about Ryan anymore other than the Raiders dominated another inferior opponent. It’s out of Ryan’s control, once you hit district play, you play who’s on your schedule. But this can’t be helping Ryan, who had one of the best nondistrict schedules in the state and went through it unscathed. But, Ryan opened 5-5A play with Denton, which is clearly the second-best team in the district but is clearly a large step down from Ryan. Since then, it’s been a lot of gross mismatches. That’s going to continue, even into the playoffs as not all 5A playoff teams are legitimate like the 6A run Ryan made last year. The Raiders will get tested, but it’s going to be interesting to see how they respond when that finally happens again.
SG: Man, it sure has been a long time since Ryan was last tested by an opponent, and that happens to coincide with the start of District 5-5A play. With the exception of Denton, which is a good team that the Raiders still were able to beat convincingly in the district opener, the rest of the slate has been incredibly subpar. That includes Wichita Falls, which turned the ball over four times Friday and had zero answers for anything Ryan did. Ryan should finish the regular season unbeaten, and most people still don’t see them getting tested until the third round of the playoffs. That’s a long time between quality opponents, but when you’re as good as Ryan is, everyone tends to look subpar.
Wichita Falls Rider at Denton
AB: Denton put it on Rider, and that’s impressive. Is Rider the dominant force it once was? Not even close, but the Raiders are still a proud program who can beat anyone on any day, and the Broncos ended any doubt pretty quickly. Colt Atkinson had a big night throwing the ball and saw to it that the game was in his team’s favor basically as soon as Denton tied it up at 7-7 in the first quarter. Atkinson used his athletes outside in throwing for better than 350 yards, as Colorado pledge Chris Miller racked up 133 yards on six grabs, including a long 62-yarder for a touchdown. Denton is poised for another nice playoff run, but would eventually run into Ryan.
SG: I actually anticipated this game being a little too close for comfort, so kudos to Denton for putting the kibosh on any sort of wild upset by Rider. Enough about the game, though. Let me say this about Colt Atkinson. In my mind, he doesn’t get a ton of credit for what he’s been able to do at quarterback for this program over the last few years. Being a young guy when he took the reins, he’s seen one graduation after another at wide receiver and running back. But he’s come back and put up solid numbers. The Denton area has great QBs this year in guys like Spencer Sanders at Ryan, Dane Ledford in Argyle and even Brandon Reeves in Krum. Hopefully everyone has Atkinson in that discussion, too.
Braswell at Denison
AB: For a different reason than Ryan, it’s getting hard to write about Braswell each week. The Bengals struggling horribly in not only their first varsity season, but also the first year in the school’s history — a huge disadvantage that many schools don’t face when they open. But, Braswell had some bright spots in its latest setback to a good Denison squad. Granted, the Jackets aren’t known for their defense, but Braswell did have a season-high point total (20) and their the Bengals’ offense is getting more productive with each passing week. We knew it’d be a process, and the process appears to be working for Cody Moore & Co.
SG: Ok, so I’m fixing to talk about another Braswell loss, but let’s be real for a second. Braswell was able to put up 279 total yards and the most points it has scored in any single game this season against a Denison team that is supposed to be the third-best team in District 5-5A. Yes, the result was still a loss – a blowout loss at that. But could Braswell actually getting better? I think so. It’s tough to tell at 0-8, but the stats don’t lie, folks. If the Bengals can show that type of production over their final two games, it will be something to build on – regardless if they don’t win the game.
Sanger at Argyle
AB: Argyle isn’t supposed to be tested in district play, especially not at home. Even though Sanger is a good program, the Indians haven’t had much luck with their arch-nemesis Argyle in recent years. But on Friday, Sanger almost did it and should have gained a lot of confidence from playing down to the wire with a deeper more battle-tested Argyle team at its place where the Eagles are basically unbeatable. Argyle is still the cream of the 4A Division I Region I crop, but Sanger might be looking toward a rematch down the road.
SG: This game was off-the-chain exciting, and it made me wish I could have been in two places at the same time. Sanger hasn’t had much luck against the Eagles in recent years, but this was a true battle between the top two teams in this district and it took a solid defensive performance and a rally by the offense for state-ranked Argyle to pull out the win. It was a tough loss for Sanger, but one the Indians can learn from as they ready for the playoffs. As for Argyle, this is the type of win they can use to light an extra fire as they push for another state title game berth.
Krum at Graham
AB: Graham is down this year, but the Steers are still a proud program and played host to Krum on Friday in a game that literally went down to the bitter end. The Bobcats pulled it out behind, you guessed it, their strong running game and opportune passing game. Their defense has been strong all year and while it struggled at times on Friday night it came up when needed the most and laid the hammer down on Graham at the 1-yard line. Thrilling way to win a game, and Krum marches on.
SG: Krum has been playing some stiff competition all year, and the Bobcats proved once again how difficult an out they are as they held on to beat perennial playoff favorite, Graham, on Friday. The game ended on a defensive stop at the 1-yard line, which is as exciting as it gets in high school football. At the beginning of the year, the sports staff here at the DRC pegged Ryan and Argyle as our two teams that would most likely make a run at a state title. Krum should be in that conversation now, too.