Guyer isn’t a top-10 team anymore, but for the third straight week, the Wildcats lingered around in the “others receiving votes” category and actually climbed a spot this week to what is theoretically 15th in the state after coming in 16th last week. At the same time, Argyle’s somewhat shocking loss to Celina dropped the Eagles five spots from No. 2 to No. 7 in the Class 4A state poll.
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.
After running the gauntlet of defending state champions with games against Allen and Ennis, things cool off a bit this week against Wichita Falls Rider. But make no mistake, the Raiders are no slouch and traveling to Wichita Falls is always tough on teams as the teams there always seem to have a good homefield advantage in just about every sport.
The Game: Guyer (1-1) at Wichita Falls Rider (1-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
Series record: The all-time series record is 4-3 in Guyer’s favor as Rider won the first three meetings before Guyer rebounded to win the previous four, including a 66-0 defeat at this time a year ago.
What happened last week: Another week, another offensive struggle for the normally dynamic offensive attack of Guyer. Again, it was largely due to being behind the chains early and often thanks to penalties, as Guyer was flagged 14 times for 119 yards against Ennis. The Guyer passing game was once again seemingly out of sorts, but after further review, it was chalked up to a few small miscues from the Wildcats’ young, inexperienced receivers, most of whom are freshmen and sophomores. The Guyer defense was lights out, holding a potent Ennis team scoreless for nearly three quarters and coming up with a couple of huge stops to preserve the Wildcats’ first win of the season. Rider saw a tough Amarillo hang tight with them for the majority of the game before eventually pulling away and netting the Raiders’ first win of the year after a season-opening loss to Abilene Cooper.
What to expect: You can expect the Raiders to try to get the most out of their dangerous wide receiver, TJ Vasher, who is 6-6, 190 pounds with speed and is committed to Texas Tech. They’ll move him all over the field and try to exploit Guyer’s young, inexperienced and injury-riddled secondary you can read about in Friday’s Denton Record-Chronicle. You can also expect to see a big offensive day for the Wildcats, despite losing another starting receiver in Brandon Daniel last week bringing the total to two starters (Daniel and JT Ashcraft) out due to injury. Shawn Robinson is too good and those young receivers too talented, not to mention a scary good running game, for the Wildcats to be held down offensively for a third straight week, especially with a step down in competition.
Final say: Guyer will finally look like Guyer on offense, and the Wildcats’ defense will continue proving to be a winning unit in the most complete effort of the year for Guyer.
Prediction: Guyer 41, Wichita Falls Rider 21
Ryan has got to be feeling pretty good about itself after back-to-back dominating wins to open the season. The offense isn’t by any means perfect, but it is putting plenty of points on the scoreboard, and the defense is flat-out shutting people down. Through two games, Ryan has outscored its opponents 72-33 — and has done it against a schedule that is certainly no cake walk.
Up next is Wylie East, which destroyed Red Oak in Week One, then found itself in a shootout with Mesquite Poteet. This team can run the football, but is more balanced than you might think and is 2-0, so coach Dave Henigan isn’t overlooking them.
With a dominant win over 5A Denison on Friday night to improve to 2-0, Argyle remained steady at No. 2 in the Associated Press’ Class 4A state poll, receiving one first-place vote (along with No. 3 Gilmer) while defending champ Navasota got all the rest. Guyer won its first game of the year over Class 5A No. 5 Ennis, but dropped a few spots in the “others receiving votes” category.
Here is your newest edition of the AP state poll, which was released Monday afternoon.
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.
Guyer was bruised a bit in last week’s season-opening loss to the state’s top-ranked 6A team in Allen’s grand reopening of its opulent stadium, but Guyer coach John Walsh insists they aren’t licking any wounds. They’re ready to get back to business, and that comes Friday night in Guyer’s home opener against defending Class 5A Division II state champ Ennis — Guyer’s second straight opponent that hoisted the big trophy a year ago.
The team’s played a nail-biting barnstormer last year with Guyer kicking a game-winning field goal as time expired to complete a comeback victory and avoid an 0-2 start, and they’ll look to avoid that same 0-2 start with a win on Friday.
The Game: Ennis (1-0, No. 2 in Class 5A state poll) at Guyer (0-1, receiving votes in 6A state poll), Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Series record: Guyer won last year’s inaugural matchup with a game-winning field goal as time expired after Shawn Robinson put Guyer in field goal position by putting his offense on his shoulders on the winning drive.
What happened last week: Ennis fell victim to some blunders and quickly fell down 14-0 to state-ranked Mansfield Timberview just minutes into the game. At the end of the first quarter, Timberview took a 21-0 lead on Ennis, and the Lions appeared to be buried. Instead, they went on to outscore Timberview 33-7 over the final three quarters while physically dominating the game. Guyer briefly led Allen 10-7 in the second quarter before an Allen touchdown gave the Eagles the lead right back. Guyer’s ensuing drive ended with a three-and-out and a botched punt attempt to give Allen the ball at Guyer’s 9-yard line before the Eagles quickly scored to go up two scores. From that point, the Allen machine rolled on, and Guyer was overwhelmed in a 48-16 loss. The Guyer offense never got in sync, but the Wildcats’ defense looked really stout until they were simply on the field too much and got worn down.
What they’re saying: Ennis head coach Jack Alvarez told The Dallas Morning News’ Matt Wixon this week that Guyer quarterback Shawn Robinson reminds him of Robert Griffin III, actually referring to him as “RG4.” Of course, that compliment has lost some of its luster recently, but you get where he’s going there. Guyer head coach John Walsh called Ennis running back Trevon Smith “Jerome Bettis,” and by looking at the above photo, you can see why.
What to expect: Two physical teams going at it, it’s plain and simple. I heard some Plano scouts last week in the press box saying they felt sorry for whoever had Guyer in Week 2, and I kind of have to agree. The Wildcats will be itching to come out and put it on someone, and while they won’t blow out Ennis — a very good team in its own right — you have to think the Lions will be facing an uphill climb from the opening kick. Guyer will run the ball just fine, like it did last week, but will also get the passing game going and show folks what the Wildcats’ offense is capable of.
Final say: For all the aforementioned reasons, plus the fact Guyer’s defense is far better than the score last week showed, I think the Wildcats even their season record at 1-1 and sit there just like they did at this time a year ago. It won’t be such a nailbiter this time around, though.
Prediction: Guyer 45, Ennis 31
It’s Wednesday and we’re already only a few short hours from game time. After making the long drive to Rockwall last week, Ryan is back in the friendly confines of C.H. Collins Athletic Complex to host Hebron in a Thursday night showdown.
For Ryan, it’s a chance to build some serious momentum after dismantling the Yellowjackets, 31-14. I talked about that win, and the need to build on momentum, a lot in my game advance for Thursday’s Denton Record-Chronicle. I also tried to breakdown Hebron, which is vastly improved from a year ago and should not be taken lightly.
Thanks to a lopsided season-opening loss to Allen on Friday, Guyer found itself falling out of favor in this week’s Associated Press high school state poll. The Wildcats, which opened the season at No. 9 in Class 6A, fell out of the Top 10. This is really not a shocker at all, though in all likelihood, Guyer will be back in the Top 10 as early as next week if it can knock off Ennis.
As for Argyle, the Eagles held strong as the No. 2 team in Class 4A after beating Abilene Wylie on Friday, 20-10. Argyle, which has played in a state title game in three of the last four seasons, is second only to Navasota.
After a struggle in 2014, Ryan showed out and put on for its city by shocking a Rockwall team that started the 2014 season 12-0 before bowing out in the third round of the playoff. Granted, it was a different Rockwall team, but this is a different Ryan team. In a weekly staple, Steve and I will look at some of the previous week’s top games and it all starts with Ryan’s bounce-back victory to get the season started on the right foot.
Ryan at Rockwall
AB: This game was a tough one to pick because you had to figure Ryan was going to be better with Spencer Sanders back healthy under center and with eight games of varsity experience under his belt, not to mention an older, stronger, better Tyreke Davis and what looked to be a pretty stout defense. Rockwall, meanwhile, lost a ton of production from last year’s stellar team in running back Chris Warren and wide receiver Xavier Castille. Sanders put up some really nice numbers, rushing for nearly 200 yards and passing for 129 yards and a score, and the Ryan defense shut down a Rockwall offense trying to find its way. It’s always hard to judge too much from season openers — good or bad — but from a confidence standpoint, if nothing else, Friday’s win for Ryan was a biggie.
SG: An upset win for some football know-it-all writers, but not me. Check out my blog from last week and I predicted a 24-21 win. That’s a lot tighter than what happened – the Raiders won 31-14 – but it’s a win nonetheless. And what a great win it was for a program that had its 14-year playoff streak snapped last fall. Spencer Sanders was grinning from ear to ear on the field after the game, on a night where he rushed for 178 yards, passed for 129 and accounted for four touchdowns (three rushing) against a Rockwall team that went 12-1 last year. His 81-yard TD run in the fourth quarter was a thing of beauty, and proved this is a guy teams need to look out for. Defensively, Ryan was just as dominant – the unit allowed one TD early in the third and didn’t allow another until the game was out of reach.
Guyer at Allen
AB: Even when Guyer took a 10-7 lead midway through the second quarter over Allen, there was never a real strong feeling things were going to end well for the Wildcats. Guyer was out of rhythm offensively, and you got the feeling the defense would eventually get worn down from being on the field so much. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened and when the Wildcats botched a punt and gave Allen the ball at their 9-yard line to go up 21-10, that was pretty much all she wrote. At that point, the momentum and excitement surrounding the re-opening of Allen’s $60 million stadium proved to be way too much to overcome. Allen’s defense was by far the best Guyer will see this year, so fear not, Guyer nation, things will get better, and it’ll start this weekend against Ennis.
SG: So what? Yes, it would have been nice to see the Wildcats come away with a win, but losing to the greatness that is Allen is nothing to get too concerned about – especially for a season opener. Speaking of season openers, need I remind everyone that Guyer hasn’t won a season opener since 2011? It’s true, and year after year the Wildcats end up being one of the top teams in the state. If there is anything that surprised me, it was the score. I had Guyer winning by a touchdown and if memory serves my compadre, Mr. Boedeker, had them by four. No one expected a 48-16 thrashing. Guyer took the lead once, and after that, it was all Eagles. Next, it’s on to another defending state champ, Ennis. Guyer did beat them last year, and I expect nothing short of a solid rebound game for the Wildcats.
Wilmer-Hutchins at Denton
AB: Give Denton credit for whupping up on a team they were supposed to whup up on. That hasn’t always happened, but in this new age of Bronco football, it does. The Broncos had a couple of questions going into the game, most notably how quarterback Colt Atkinson would perform in his first game as the starter. He didn’t disappoint, throwing for 271 yards and three scores while running back Xavier Scott cruised to 165 yards and four scores in a very Scott-like effort. Denton won’t be tested in non-district play. We’ll have to wait until what is a pretty good district slate to see what they’re really made of, but they appear to be on the verge of another successful season over on Fulton Street.
SG: There’s a ton of hype surrounding Denton this year after the team started off 6-0 in 2014 en route to a winning season and long-awaited playoff victory. With that being said, and I’m not trying to take anything away from Denton, but this score is not surprising at all given who they played. I’ve seen Wilmer-Hutchins play basketball, and they are one of the toughest outs in the postseason. In football … well … again, Denton was supposed to win this game. Xavier Scott did what Xavier Scott does in rushing for 165 yards and four touchdowns, and new Broncos quarterback Colt Atkinson tossed three touchdowns while passing for 271 yards. Overall, Wilmer-Hutchins was outgained 507-171 and trailed 39-6 by halftime. The competition will surely get tougher for Denton as the season rolls along, but this was a nice beat down to start the 2015 season.