Former Sanger QB can absolutely sling it

Sanger junior quarterback Dane Evans (17) hurls a pass to junior wide receiver Jay Cain (18) as Argyle junior linebacker Carston Bossow (43) tries to intercept, Friday, November 5, 2010 in Sanger.

Sanger junior quarterback Dane Evans (17) hurls a pass to junior wide receiver Jay Cain (18) as Argyle junior linebacker Carston Bossow (43) tries to intercept, Friday, November 5, 2010 in Sanger.

If you’ve been around this area for more than a few years, you remember the name Dane Evans.

The former Sanger quarterback finished his high school career among the all-time leading passers in Texas high school history and helped turn Sanger into a perennial contender with an instant shot of offense he gave the Indians after bursting onto the scene in 2010 and leading all Dallas-Fort Worth area 4A players in passing.

Evans went on to have a standout career for Tulsa — staking a real claim as the most successful collegiate quarterback to ever come out of this area.

The numbers speak for themselves, regardless of system at Tulsa. Evans finished his career with the Golden Hurricane with a bowl win in December and ended up with 11,680 career passing yards with 84 touchdown passes and 47 interceptions.

That leads us to the other day, when Evans was filmed training for the upcoming NFL Draft. One of his passes was clocked at a remarkable 61 mph — better than the Combine record of 60 mph from Logan Thomas in 2014, which broke the previous record of 59 mph held by Colin Kaepernick.

Evans has an outside chance of being drafted, but he’ll definitely end up in someone’s camp, and he’s landed on several “sleeper lists,” including this one published back in September. There’s some truth to him being a product of Tulsa’s high-octane offensive system, but there’s also obvious truth to him being a guy with a cannon where his right arm should be.

It’ll be interesting to follow Evans throughout this process leading up to the draft in April and see what happens.

Weekend recap: Winners all around

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

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.

Weekend recap: Little bit of everything

Guyer senior linebacker Gio Williams (8) tackles McKinney junior running back Matthew Gadek (9) for no gain on fourth-and-1, Friday, October 7, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

Guyer senior linebacker Gio Williams (8) tackles McKinney junior running back Matthew Gadek (9) for no gain on fourth-and-1, Friday, October 7, 2016, in Denton, Texas, Jeff Woo/DRC

This week’s game in the area featured blowouts, games interrupted by Mother Nature and overtime thrillers between top-notch teams. It gave us a true sample of everything that is great about high school football, and my compadre Steve and I are here to recap the weekend that was Denton-area high school football.

McKinney at Guyer

AB: For the second straight week, Guyer allowed points in the first minutes of a game. For the second straight week, that was all she wrote for the opposing offense. Are Plano East and McKinney world beaters? No, but they both had offenses averaging better than 30 points per game entering their game against Guyer, and the Wildcats dominated. At this point, it’s basically a lock the Wildcats will dominate with their rushing attack, and if their defense keeps doing this, look out. This week will be a stiff test and good barometer as Guyer travels to No. 1 Allen. Check my Twitter (@aboedeker) if you want to see John Walsh’s thoughts on playing the state’s No. 1 team. This is going to be a good one.

SG: Guyer has put up some impressive offensive numbers courtesy of some amazing players on that side of the ball over the years, but the program has always had a suffocating defense. For the second straight week, the Wildcats dominated a District 6-6A opponent thanks to that unit. I’m not shocked, but color me impressed. Head coach John Walsh feels incredibly confident in this group, which could be the catalyst to lead Guyer deep into the playoffs. Not to be outdone, that running game continues to churn out yards. Teams know what’s coming. They can’t stop it.

Denton at Wichita Falls

AB: If we’re being real, it’s going to be really hard to get a good gauge on Denton until the postseason starts, which can be both a blessing and a hindrance, depending on how a team approaches things. This isn’t your father’s District 5-5A, which was a really competitive district the past two years and prepared the Broncos for the playoffs. Wichita Falls is nothing like what Denton will see in November, and frankly, no team they see from here on out will be. Denton has to just focus on making itself better every week, and I fully believe Kevin Atkinson will drill that into his team.

SG: I saw this one coming. I mean, the District 5-5A schedule is not strong beyond Ryan and Denton. Since losing big to Ryan, the Broncos have reestablished themselves as the next-best team in this district. Did I mention the Denton defense forced five turnovers against Old High? Colt Atkinson again turned in solid numbers, and he’s being made to look even better with guys like Chris Houston and running back Caleb Osuofa.

Braswell at Sherman

AB: Things aren’t getting any easier or better for Braswell. The Bengals struggled to move the ball once again — this time against an average Sherman team. The Bengals have suffered tons of bad breaks on the injury front, with every quarterback they roll out there going down to injury, it seems. You have to feel for the Bengals’ players, but the good thing is they’re all underclassmen and can work their tails off for a year after this inaugural season is over.

SG:  A loooooong inaugural season for Braswell continues. Head coach Cody Moore said last week that he wanted to establish the running game against Braswell, mainly for two reasons: 1. Sherman has not done a great job stopping the run so far this season, and 2. The Bengals don’t have a quarterback thanks to a slew of injuries. The plan didn’t work. Braswell not only couldn’t run the ball, but it was held to 75 total yards – all on the ground – in a 42-7 loss.

Argyle at Decatur

AB: Checking on this game from time to time on Twitter, it looked like Argyle was getting its money’s worth from Decatur in both teams’ district opener. With Dane Ledford back in the fold, you have to figure Argyle will hit its stride and begin its journey to another deep playoff run. He had a big game in his return from a fractured wrist, throwing for four touchdowns. Now, we just count down the days until Argyle hoists its most recent district championship trophy…

SG:  I had the privilege of covering this game. I say privilege because it’s always fun watching this Eagles team work. Offensively, Dane Ledford returned from a wrist injury and rolled up nearly 300 yards through the air and four touchdowns. Don Williams rushed for nearly 200 yards and added three total touchdowns (2 rush, 1 pass). Defensively, the Eagles shut down a Decatur offense that definitely has some stars. Overall, solid win for Argyle to start off district play.

Krum at Iowa Park

AB: Since losing to Sanger in Week 2, Krum has made everyone in its way pay dearly for what was a hard-fought, close loss. The Bobcats did it again on Friday night in an epic clash with previously unbeaten Iowa Park, and they did it on the road in a tough environment. Once again, Krum did most of its damage with its pounding rushing attack led by quarterback Brandon Reeves and running back Haeden Knight, as well as its suffocating defense. Krum has established itself as a favorite to make it out of Region I in Class 4A Division II — not bad for a fledgling program.

SG:  Can Brandon Reeves be any more amazing than he already has this season? I mean, seriously … seven touchdowns? With that type of performance against a previously-unbeaten team, it’s shocking this game went three overtimes. Had Reeves not been in Krum’s corner, things would not have turned out the same for the Bobcats. Krum is rolling y’all. It doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon.

Sanger at Wichita Falls Hirschi

AB: This game was played over two days thanks to Mother Nature, and after the delay, Sanger got the better of a game Hirschi squad. Surprise, surprise: The Indians relied heavily upon their ground game behind running backs Dameon Moser and Gavin Brown — so much so they didn’t even need quarterback CJ Jackson to do too much.

SG: This game was interesting in the sense that it was delayed due to weather, and before the delay, Sanger was trailing 28-14. The Indians regrouped in a big way to win 49-41 and did so by leaning on the running back combo of Dameon Moser and Gavin Brown. The duo combined for 342 yards and six scores.

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.



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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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: A win is a win

Guyer senior linebacker Michael Carillo (6) loses his helmet after a tackle against Ennis, Friday, September 4, 2015, in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer senior linebacker Michael Carillo (6) loses his helmet after a tackle against Ennis, Friday, September 4, 2015, in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer rebounded with a win on Friday night after being whipped by the best team in the state, but it wasn’t a pretty win. The Guyer offense sputtered for the second straight game, mainly because of penalty issues (more than 100 yards) and a few protection problems. But a win is a win, and Guyer avoided an 0-2 start against a really good team and a defending state champion in Ennis.

Ennis at Guyer

AB: This was honestly one of the most ugly, frustrating games I’ve ever covered in my 10 years of doing this. It was sloppy, but the referees also got a little trigger-happy with their flags, which resulted in game that didn’t end until almost 11 p.m. despite being two running teams because of almost 30 penalties. Enough about me, though. The real star of this game was the Guyer defense, which backed up what Guyer coach John Walsh was saying about them after they allowed 48 points to Allen: They really are pretty dang good. They showed it against Ennis, holding the Lions scoreless for nearly three entire quarters behind yet another outstanding effort from the front seven and a much better outing from the secondary, including an interception from running back Christian Moore, who replaced Dio Williams at cornerback after an injury. Things will get much easier for the Wildcats this weekend against Wichita Falls Rider before a needed bye week and District 5-6A play starting.

SG: Told ya Guyer would rebound. The Wildcat offense apparently has a long way to go, still, but the defense deserves a ton – and practically all – the credit for knocking off Ennis on Friday. The Wildcats’ defense held Class 5A No. 2 Ennis off the scoreboard until the third quarter and only allowed 19 points against a usually-potent offense. It also helped when Ennis quarterback Tre Elliott made an inadvertent spike on fourth down in the closing seconds, but who cares? A win is a win is a win. The win helped the Wildcats avoid a 0-2 hole and gives them an added boost after falling to Allen in the opener. Clearly, though, the offense needs a boost after gaining just 250 total yards. Combined with the lack of offense against Allen, that is extremely un-Wildcat like. For now, just focus on the win.

Hebron at Ryan

AB: I went up to C.H. Collins on Thursday night to check out about a quarter of this game. Unfortunately, it was the third and a little bit of the fourth quarter, so I missed what seemed to be the most exciting moment with the Hail Mary, but I saw enough to come to the conclusion that Ryan is a pretty salty team. I saw Ken McLaurin throwing around Hebron folks like rag dolls and looking to be every bit the next great Ryan defensive lineman. The Raiders are most definitely playing with swagger right now after last year’s disappointing season and barring disaster they’ll end that streak of missing the playoffs at one year. I didn’t see a lot of Spencer Sanders, but by that point, the game was readily in hand. It sounds like the sophomore is moving right along and improved from the eight games of varsity experience he got last year as a freshman quarterback in 6A — a rarity, in itself.

SG: For those of you who missed this game, and didn’t read my game story, allow me to set the scene. With two seconds left in the first half Friday, Ryan’s coaching staff called a timeout to give its offense a chance to regroup. What happened next proved exactly how bad the Raiders want to win this year, when Spencer Sanders heaved a Hail Mary pass 48 yards to the back of the endzone. Gabriel Douglas came up with the catch and touchdown, and that one play spurred the Raiders to another lopsided win. Sure the offense has started slow in consecutive weeks, but they’ve responded each time. Combine that with a stout defense and opportunistic special teams play – Hebron had four turnovers – and Ryan is suddenly hard to beat. Tyreke Davis racked up 11 tackles and a sack and still had enough left in the tank to rush for two touchdowns. A great win, which now has Ryan at 2-0.

Granbury at Denton

AB: Once again, the Broncos worked an overmatched nondistrict opponent behind a huge offensive night from the bell cow of their team, running back Xavier Scott. The senior rushed for 275 yards and four touchdowns and looks to be every bit as dangerous as he was a year ago despite losing a few of his big friends up front. Denton has one more team to steamroll in nondistrict before things get real in District 5-5A play in what should be a pretty solid district against after Saginaw Boswell was left out of the playoffs despite a 7-3 record a year ago. Denton’s receivers look to be plenty talented this year, despite losing stud Key’andre Hearvey to graduation, and they’re giving new quarterback Colt Atkinson a vast arsenal of weaponry on Friday nights. As he gets more experience under his belt, that’s going to grow more dangerous by the week.

SG: We see you Denton. Denton has outscored its first two opponents 98-19. Let that sink in for a second. Now check this out: On Friday, the Broncos rolled up 442 yards of offense against Granbury thanks largely to the solid running of all-world back Xavier Scott. Scott rushed for 275 yards and four touchdowns … Granbury amassed 256 yards. So at this point, I’m convinced he’s not from this planet. Even against what I believe was an inferior Granbury team, you don’t do what Scott did without having a ton of talent. Scott has that, and then some. I am curious to see how Denton does as the season progresses, but if the first two games are any indication, it appears the Broncos haven’t lost any firepower from last season, and have the defense to flat-out shut opponents down.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading