What you need to know: Allen

 

Allen head coach Tom Westerberg, left, high-fives quarterback Kyler Murray after a second-half touchdown against Pearland in the Class 5A Division I state championship game at AT&T Stadium in December. Allen won its second straight 5A Division I state title. (The Dallas Morning News file photo)

Since Guyer’s quick rise to Texas high school football elite, the Wildcats and head coach John Walsh have never shied away from playing top competition in nondistrict play. But this one takes the cake.

The Wildcats open the 2014 season in a rare battle of defending state champions. To make it more rare, it’s a battle of two-time defending state champs, as Guyer will play Allen in the Tom Landry Classic at North Texas’ Apogee Stadium.

In case you have a short memory, Allen is the two-time defending Class 5A Division I state champion. Guyer is the two-time defending Class 4A Division I state champion. Now, both are Class 6A teams. Allen has more boys in its school than Guyer has students, as the Eagles have the biggest pool in the state to choose from and despite losing 10 defensive starters, it’s hard to ever called an Allen team a rebuilding one.

No. 7 Guyer vs. No. 1 Allen, Apogee Stadium, 7:30 p.m. (Rankings are from preseason Class 6A Associated Press poll)

 

Series record: This is the first meeting between the teams.

What happened last year: Allen went undefeated, never really being tested by anyone outside of DeSoto. As a junior, standout quarterback Kyler Murray threw for 3,669 yards and 46 touchdowns to go with just nine interceptions. He rushed for 1,274 yards and 19 touchdowns while leading Allen to a second straight title. The Eagles also had a loaded defense, and they still might, but it’s yet to be determined with the 10 new starters.

Guyer dropped its season opener to eventual 5A Division II state champion Cedar Hill before reeling off 15 straight wins. They finished with an official record of 14-2 after a forfeit to Colleyville Heritage in nondistrict play for using an ineligible player. The Wildcats steamrolled opponents up until the state semifinal, when they needed a thrilling comeback from 10-0 down in the fourth quarter to get past Highland Park before thumping a previously unscathed San Antonio Brennan team for their second straight title.

What to expect: It’s hard to pick against Allen until someone beats them. But that’s the thing, eventually someone will beat the Eagles again. And this seems like a pretty prime position for Guyer. The Wildcats aren’t officially playing a home game, but they might as well be. They return eight defensive starters, several skill players on offense and get to see the debut of sophomore phenom Shawn Robinson, who is replacing Texas freshman Jerrod Heard under center. There is no talk about “playing with Allen” around Guyer or using the game as a measuring stick, so yes, that Guyer swagger is still alive and well, to no one’s surprise. Expect a high-scoring affair between two very strong offenses, and in the most cliche statement ever, look for a big play on special teams and the turnover ratio to decide this thing.

Allen player to watch: QB Kyler Murray (shocker, I know)

Guyer player to watch: DT Carl Thompson

Guyer WR set to explode on to scene

Guyer wide receiver Alex Honey runs with the ball against Cedar Hill in his first varsity start last season at Longhorn Stadium in Cedar Hill. He will be a key figure in the Wildcats' passing game in 2014. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)

In recent years, Guyer has made a habit of spitting out tall, lanky and at times just awkward wide receivers and overnight watching them blossom into standouts with big-time college potential.

Two that come to mind immediately are Conner Crane, who was a three-year starter and progressed from strictly a deep-threat wide receiver into a do-it-all, well-rounded receiver who earned a scholarship to Stanford. After Crane, there was Ellis Jefferson, who began to emerge as a junior but really stood out as a senior and is set to play for Arizona State as a redshirt freshman this season.

In a couple of years, could we be talking about Alex Honey in the same breath?

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Texas offers Guyer quarterback Shawn Robinson

Guyer sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson, seen here at Guyer's spring game, was offered by Texas this afternoon. (David Minton/Denotn Record-Chronicle)

Guyer quarterback Shawn Robinson didn’t need to start a game at his new school to earn an offer from one of the biggest programs in the country.

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Top 5 games of 2013: No. 3 — Guyer vs. Highland Park, football

Guyer head coach John Walsh holds up the Class 4A Division I state semifinal trophy after Guyer' mounted a comeback against Highland Park in one of the top games of 2013. (Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News)

For a while, it didn’t look like the Class 4A Division I state semifinal between Guyer and Highland Park was going to be very exciting. In fact, Guyer’s chances of repeating as state champions looked pretty bleak as the two teams entered the fourth quarter at Allen’s Eagle Stadium.

But Guyer has a knack for playing in thrilling state semifinal games. The Wildcats’ came up with a huge fourth-quarter comeback win over the Scots, and that contest checks in as the No. 3 game of 2013.

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State champions and state finalists, illustrated

The end of the high school football season has opened a Texas-sized hole into the hearts of many across the state.

There was a lot of discussion on Twitter regarding what region was dominant in this weekend’s University Interscholastic League state championship games. Dallas-Forth Worth went 5-for-5 this weekend (Argyle, Guyer, Cedar Hill, Allen, Aledo).

So, I decided to map it all out. Below is a map of the winners and the second-place finishers for Class A to Class 5A. The stars are the teams that won. The other markers indicate the teams the losing teams.

 

Weekday Recap: Argyle, Guyer advance

Jerrod Heard and the Guyer Wildcats waltzed into the 4A DI semifinals with a 53-28 win against Birdville. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)

It took a while for the roads to thaw out and the weekend’s slate of football games to wrap up.

But when the ice somewhat melted, Guyer and Argyle moved closer to an appearance in the state championship game. Ryan’s valiant season ended after what looked like another improbable comeback was going to occur.

Adam Boedeker and I look back at Monday’s action and look forward to this weekend’s state semifinal games.

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DISD AD Ken Purcell praised UNT’s efforts to play Monday’s games

We finally got past that pesky regional final round of the state high school football playoffs. You know, that round that’s been delayed because of all this pesky ice on the roads.

Ryan and Guyer played their respective regional final games yesterday in a “doubleheader” at North Texas’ Apogee Stadium (the Ryan game started at 3 p.m., Guyer at 7:30 p.m.)

Denton ISD Ken Purcell had great things to say about the folks at UNT and Derek Grice, the head of facilities at UNT.

 

As of Monday morning, this is what the field looked like:

And when I showed up to the stadium, the field looked like this:


Purcell flagged me down in the press box at Apogee and emphatically praised UNT and Grice.

“We started working Thursday on sites, when the storm blew in,” Purcell said. “And the University of North Texas has been super. Some people are a little bit bothered by the parking lots and the stands and all that. But yesterday, there was four inches of snow and ice on there. In fact, at 7 o’clock [Monday] morning, there were four inches of snow and ice on there.

“And I was out here and I watched them. They rented tractors and everything to make sure this field is playable, and I’m just amazed at how good this field looks.”

Guyer originally was going to play at Justin Northwest, but that game was moved to Apogee and was scheduled after the Ryan game. It was highly important to get the games in on Monday, because the UIL says five days must be between football games.

The UNT athletic department staff also scraped off a section of the bleachers on the student side of the stadium so fans could enjoy a couple of pretty good games.

 

Game Changers: Dec. 3

Game Changers: Dec. 3. from Ben Baby on Vimeo.

We’re halfway through the high school football playoffs, and three area teams still have a shot of winning a state title. Adam Boedeker and I break down last week’s game and this week’s matchups in this week’s episode of Game Changers. Game Changers is a joint production between the Mayborn School of Journalism and the Denton Record-Chronicle.

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.

 

Three things to take away from the UIL’s new realignment numbers

Krum and Argyle, seen here playing in this year's Class 3A Division II bi-district round, will not play each other in the playoffs next year after the two schools ended up in different Class 4A divisions. (David Minton/DRC)

Every two years, people across the state frantically stare at maps and numbers and try to predict what classifications high schools fall in.

If you think about it for too long, there’s a strong chance aspirin will be needed.

Well the University Interscholastic League eliminated some of the drama this year when it announced the enrollment numbers for each classification, 6A to A (Class 5A was renamed 6A, 4A renamed 5A, and so on down to six-man).

While we still have to wait until February to see what districts schools will fall in, we do know what classifications our 10 area public schools will fall in.

With that being said, here are three things to look out for in the 2014-16 realignment.

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