What you need to know: Cedar Hill

Cedar Hill quarterback Avery Davis (12) is pictured in action during the DeSoto High School Eagles vs. the Cedar Hill High School Longhorns high school football game in Cedar Hill, Texas on Friday, September 23, 2016. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

Cedar Hill quarterback Avery Davis (12) is pictured in action during the DeSoto High School Eagles vs. the Cedar Hill High School Longhorns high school football game in Cedar Hill, Texas on Friday, September 23, 2016. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

This has been a game circled on the calendar since DeSoto knocked off Cedar Hill and pretty much ensured the Longhorns would end up in Guyer’s part of the Class 6A Division II bracket.

It’s two storied programs, two state-championship winning coaches and two very different programs that are awfully familiar with each other. The teams have met five times before, and all but one of them was a great game.

So, here we go on getting you covered on everything you need to know about Guyer’s area-round playoff game on Saturday.

The Game: Guyer (9-2) vs. Cedar Hill (9-2), Saturday, 2 p.m., Mansfield’s Newsom Stadium

Series Record: Cedar Hill leads the all-time series 4-1 with Guyer’s lone win coming in the teams’ only playoff meeting in the 2010 5A Division II area round.

What happened last week: Cedar Hill rolled over a pretty good Waco Midway squad, and the Longhorns did it in Midway’s home stadium. Avery Davis, the Longhorns’ Notre Dame-bound QB was nearly perfect, completing 17 of 18 pass attempts for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns.

Guyer used a well-rounded effort to dominate Trophy Club Nelson in a game that was turned on a 91-yard pick-six from Guyer cornerback Dio Williams. Guyer once again showed its improving passing game in the first half as Luke Stillwell threw for 99 first-half yards and hit a long touchdown over the top to Donovan Greenhoward.

What to expect: A clash of styles, plain and simple. Cedar Hill will want a track meet type game with its seven big-time college level players spread around the offensive lineup, highlighted by Davis and Oklahoma commit wide receiver Charleston Rambo. Guyer will look to slow the pace and rely on its dominant ground game and suffocating defense. It’s going to be a great matchup and I’m guessing it’s going to be a pretty high-scoring affair.

Final say: This is truly going to be a great chess match between two of the best coaches in the state with two vastly different, equally successful programs. Cedar Hill hasn’t seen many good rushing attacks this year, and it’ll be interesting to see if Guyer, even without second-leading rusher Myron Mason, can exploit that with one of the best rushing attacks in the state. Look for a new wrinkle to be thrown in with an emphasis on the quarterback-read game, something Luke Stillwell hasn’t done a lot of this year especially since injuring his shoulder in Guyer’s Week 7 loss to Allen. He’s 100 percent now, and I think the reins will be taken off Stillwell to complement sophomore Noah Cain in the running game. I think that’s enough to help Guyer pick up its second all-time playoff win over Cedar Hill.

Prediction: Guyer 45, Cedar Hill 42

Joey McGuire dishes on Guyer-Cedar Hill

Cedar Hill head coach Joey McGuire and safety Kolbi McGary (31) celebrate after stopping South Oak Cliff in the first half of their high school football game in Cedar Hill. Mike Stone/Special Contributor

Cedar Hill head coach Joey McGuire and safety Kolbi McGary (31) celebrate after stopping South Oak Cliff in the first half of their high school football game in Cedar Hill. Mike Stone/Special Contributor

When it comes to Texas high school football coaches, there aren’t many higher on my personal list of favorites than Cedar Hill head honcho Joey McGuire.

McGuire has a few state championship rings in his jewelry box at home and is clearly one of the most knowledgeable, respected coaches in the state. This week, he gets to face his ol’ buddy John Walsh, who is also right up on that personal list of mine.

McGuire talked about Guyer and the programs’ history together which is comprised of four regular-season meetings from 2010-2013 and a postseason matchup in 2010, which is the only game of the series Guyer won.

Without further delay, here’s my conversation with McGuire. Drumroll, please…

On thought that Cedar Hill is hitting its stride now after some “struggles” in the regular season:

“We played a really tough schedule early in the year. Our first five games were brutal against very physical football teams. We grew as a team and we’ve been healthy and gotten better. But we’re playing a really, really tough football team on Saturday. I think it’s one of the best matchups in the state for a football fan.”

On Guyer’s physical brand of football:

“I think they do a phenomenal job in the offseason. Whenever you think of Denton Guyer, you think of a very physical, strong football team that is well-coached. They hang their hat on that. It gives them a chance every single year to be really good. When you look at it this year, we really better go in trying to slow down the run game. They do a great job of formationing you and getting numbers to run the ball. You better line up and have a simple game plan and play really fast.”

On how Guyer is a tough matchup and how its physicality can neutralize Cedar Hill’s speed:

“They’re a really tough matchup for a couple of reasons. One, they’re gonna be really physical and sound in what they do. Them being able to run the ball, they can grind stuff out. When you look at that DeSoto game [a 51-17 loss for Guyer in Week 2] it’s a little deceptive when they had some bad snaps in the punt game and that’s 16 points real quick. It was early in the year. If you’re playing now, I think Guyer is a lot like us. I think they’re playing their best football right now. That’s always scary.”

On how Luke Stillwell compares to former Guyer star quarterbacks J.W. Walsh and Jerrod Heard (McGuire faced Walsh twice and went 1-1 and went 3-0 against Heard): 

“I think he does a great job. He does a really good job in all their play-action stuff as far as making those linebackers come up. He does a great job in the QB-read game. He looks like he’s faster on film than what you might think. With so many people keying on their running backs, he does a great job taking some pressure of those guys with the QB-read game.”

On Cedar Hill QB Avery Davis, a Notre Dame commit, playing perhaps his best game of the year in the Longhorns’ first-round rout of Waco Midway, in which he went 17 for 18 with 4 TD passes:

“He feels really good right now. He’s really efficient with the football right now. He’s very accurate. He could’ve been 18 for 18 if not for a little drop. He’s doing a good job of taking care of the football.”

On Guyer’s defense, specifically its standout secondary led by safeties Bryce Jackson (Northwestern) and Thabo Mwaniki (Oklahoma State):

“They tackle extremely well. That’s one thing when you watch them on film, the first thing you see is they tackle really well as a unit. They limit yards after catch and contact. You have to do a good job taking care of the football. They do a good job up front. Their two defensive tackles are eally tough to move and No. 17 [defensive end Jalen Sutton] is really long and can give some tackles a whole lot of trouble.”

What does Cedar Hill have to do to win this game?:

“We have to make sure we’re taking care of the ball on offense. Whoever wins the turnover battle in this game wil probably win it. We have to do a good job of slowing them. I don’t think anyone stops a team like Guyer — as far as running — but we have to slow it down. We have to also take a couple of shots in the vertical pasing game and hit a few of those to put some stress on the defense.”

Update on Cedar Hill player injured against Ryan

Yesterday during Ryan’s game against Cedar Hill, there was a scary moment in the third quarter when Cedar Hill senior offensive tackle Jarod Branch was motionless and face-down on the field for a span of about 10 minutes.

Today, we’ve got some good news.

Cedar Hill head coach Joey McGuire said Branch ended up being OK and he actually met the team back at the school after Cedar Hill’s 52-29 victory against Ryan, and McGuire said he was excited to see him.

Branch didn’t appear to move for about 10 minutes before he was taken off the field on a stretcher.

“You just don’t want to move a kid like that when it’s a possible head or neck injury,” McGuire said.

McGuire said Branch was taken to the hospital and “everything checked out,” but the head coach was not sure what tests Branch went under. McGuire said Branch will not play in this week’s 5A Division II semifinal against Lake Travis.

What you need to know: Cedar Hill

Aca'cedric Ware and the Cedar Hill Longhorns play Ryan on Monday with a berth in the Class 5A Division II state semifinals on the line.

When Ryan steps back onto the field at Apogee Stadium on Monday, the Raiders will be nine days removed from the biggest comeback in school history. Ryan hopes there is still some magic left at Apogee for the Class 5A Division II Region I final against Cedar Hill.

No more ice problems. No more waiting around. Finally, we have football.

Here’s what you need to know about Cedar Hill.

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Barring inclement weather, Ryan and Guyer games still set for Saturday

A chance of bad weather this weekend has forced some teams around the area to change some playoff games.

But as for now, Ryan and Guyer will still play on Saturday.

Fellow DRC writer Adam Boedeker first tweeted out Tuesday morning that Guyer and Birdville’s Class 4A Division I regional final may be moved to Monday, Dec. 9, if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

According to Denton ISD athletic director Ken Purcell, both Ryan and Guyer will play on Monday if the teams can’t play on Saturday. That determination will be based on Saturday’s road conditions.

“If the roads are clear and the teams can safely make it to Apogee Stadium and [Justin] Northwest, then we’ll play,” Purcell said.

Ryan is currently scheduled to play Cedar Hill on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Apogee Stadium in the Class 5A Division II Region I final. Guyer is slotted to play Birdville on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Justin Northwest.

Boedeker said Guyer and Birdville also had Thursday night locked down, but Birdville opted against it because it had a few injuries.

Purcell said if the games can’t be played on Saturday, they will be moved to Monday at 2 p.m. at the same locations. It’ll depend on if the buses of each can safely make it to the respective stadiums.

If both teams play on Monday, it’ll could make for a stretch of three games played in 12 days, something that’s far from ideal before the state finals.

Boedeker will keep you posted on Saturday about Guyer, and I’ll do the same for Ryan. You can follow us on Twitter at @aboedeker or @Ben_Baby.