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

What you need to know: Trophy Club Nelson

Byron Nelson Bobcats Tyler Milliken (11) carries the ball with a stiff-arm out during a varsity football game between Hurst L.D. Bell High School and Trophy Club Byron Nelson High School at Northwest ISD Stadium on Nov. 3, 2016 in Justin, Texas. (Ting Shen/The Dallas Morning News)

Byron Nelson Bobcats Tyler Milliken (11) carries the ball with a stiff-arm out during a varsity football game between Hurst L.D. Bell High School and Trophy Club Byron Nelson High School at Northwest ISD Stadium on Nov. 3, 2016 in Justin, Texas. (Ting Shen/The Dallas Morning News)

The postseason is here, and it’s officially the most wonderful time of the Texas high school football season. Guyer enters on a three-game win streak and is riding high on the heels of its defense, which has been a lockdown unit this year with the exception of blowout losses to arguably the two best teams in Texas — Allen and DeSoto.

And everyone knows what Guyer’s offense is capable of, even without the services of senior running back and second-leading rusher Myron Mason, who suffered one of the most freak injuries imaginable last week while running through the cheerleaders’ pregame sign. Now, let’s get to the game…

The Game: Guyer (8-2) vs. Trophy Club Nelson (4-6), Friday, 7:30 p.m., at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex

Series Record: Guyer leads the all-time series 4-0 with the four matchups coming in the last four seasons as former district foes.

What happened last week: Nelson beat Hurst L.D. Bell soundly to lock up its postseason berth after starting the year 0-5. Guyer beat Plano West 30-10 behind another dominant defensive effort.

What to expect: Points. Nelson is riding high with confidence, having won four of its last five games after starting the year 0-5. And the Bobcats are doing it with a dangerous spread attack led by two stud receivers in Tyler Milliken and Isaac Groves. Guyer’s defense has been tremendous this year, and will likely do its job again, but Nelson will get its points. Guyer, of course, will score behind its top-notch rushing attack and a quarterback in Luke Stillwell who is throwing the ball better than he has all year.

Final say: Nelson’s defense is an opportunistic, aggressive one, but that brand of defense can also get your burned, and Guyer will stick with what it does without trying to get cute or outsmart the Bobcats en route to a fairly decisive win.

Score prediction: Guyer 38, Trophy Club Nelson 21

Playoff primer: Let’s try to map out Guyer’s road

Guyer head coach John Walsh argues with referees after the final play of the second quarter against Hebron, Friday, November 13, 2015, at Apogee Stadium in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer head coach John Walsh argues with referees after the final play of the second quarter against Hebron, Friday, November 13, 2015, at Apogee Stadium in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

There are still three games left in the regular season, but barring a complete surprise, we already know Guyer will be the No. 1 seed in the Class 6A Division II bracket out of District 6-6A, meaning the Wildcats would face the 2-seed in the Division II bracket from District 5-6A.

There’s just one problem. While 6-6A is pretty clear-cut, 5-6A is still a complete jumbled mess.

Here are the current standings in District 5-6A, along with enrollment figures for each school. Of course, the top two enrollments from each district’s playoff qualifiers go Division I, while the smaller two go Division II. I’ll also include the remaining schedules for each team.

Southlake Carroll (2,691) — 4-0: TC Nelson, L.D. Bell, Hebron

Hebron (3,454) — 3-1: Trinity, Lewisville, Carroll

Euless Trinity (3,378) — 2-2: Hebron, Flower Mound, FM Marcus

Flower Mound Marcus (3,317) — 2-2: Flower Mound, TC Nelson, Trinity

Flower Mound (3,541) — 2-2: FM Marcus, Trinity, Lewisville

Trophy Club Nelson (2,632) — 2-2: Carroll, FM Marcus, L.D. Bell

Lewisville (4,379) — 1-3: L.D. Bell, Hebron, Flower Mound

Hurst L.D. Bell (2,951) — 0-4: Lewisville, Carroll, TC Nelson

Hebron and Trinity are bolded because if the season ended today, those would be the two Division I representatives, and Guyer would host Flower Mound Marcus in the first round of the playoffs. But as you can tell, there’s still a lot that has to play out in this district.

Now, just for grins, let’s try to play out the rest of the season for all of these teams and project final district records. Since I am in a tight race for top spot in The Dallas Morning News high school pick ‘em this year (Humble brag!), I think you can trust these prognostications.

Southlake Carroll, 7-0

Trinity, 5-2

Hebron, 4-3

FM Marcus, 4-3

Flower Mound, 3-4

TC Nelson, 3-4

Lewisville, 2-5

L.D. Bell, 0-7

So, after all that, it looks like if I’m correct, it will, indeed be Hebron and Trinity that go Division I and leave Guyer to host Marcus in the first round of the playoffs. The one wild card here is if Flower Mound beats Marcus in the Mound Showdown this week, which isn’t only a rivalry game but now is a huge game for playoff implications.

If Flower Mound does beat Marcus and ends up bumping the Marauders out of the playoffs, Flower Mound goes Division I and bumps Trinity down to Division II. If that happens, Trinity would come to C.H. Collins for a first-round playoff game between two of the most physical programs in DFW.

Is it the most likely scenario? No. But is it definitely possible? Yeah, it is.

Basically, I can say with great confidence, Guyer will either be hosting Marcus or Trinity in the first round, and either way it’s going to be a 2-hour game because all three of those teams like to run the ball, and run it often. For a sports writer who deals with deadlines, that is awesome news.

If Guyer moves on past that first-round game, the Wildcats would likely draw Cedar Hill, which is a team that has been on really high highs this year and also hit some really low lows. One thing we do know about Cedar Hill? They have a lot of trouble stopping the run, and we all know that would play heavily into Guyer’s hands. The Longhorns would score points, but they’d have a tough time stopping Noah Cain and Myron Mason.

Third round? You’re most likely looking at a rematch with San Angelo Central, which is a vastly improved team this year from the one that pushed Guyer to the brink last year and could finally put a West Texas team deep into the 6A playoffs for the first time in a good while.

However, there is still a pretty decent chance Central goes Division I out of 2-6A. The last two spots in that district are still very much up for grabs between three teams: Wolfforth Frenship, Amarillo Tascosa and Midland Lee. If Lee gets in, Central goes Division II. If Lee is left on the outside looking in, Central goes Division I.

Get past the Bobcats, and you’re looking at a rematch with DeSoto, which of course, beat Guyer 51-17 in Week 2 behind Guyer’s former quarterback, Shawn Robinson.

We’re getting way ahead of ourselves now, but I hope this helps a little bit. Guyer is a program built for deep playoff runs, which is proven by its playoff history of eight straight years of making the playoffs with two second-round exits and the other six going at least four rounds deep. Pay close attention to that Mound Showdown at Flower Mound on Friday night, it will be huge for Guyer’s playoff scenario.

 

Guyer freshmen ice game down stretch

Guyer freshman De'Vion Harmon (11) steals the ball against Keller, Tuesday, January 19, 2016, at Guyer High School in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

Guyer freshman De’Vion Harmon (11) steals the ball against Keller, Tuesday, January 19, 2016, at Guyer High School in Denton, TX. David Minton/DRC

In case you missed Tuesday night’s win for Guyer over Flower Mound to open the Class 6A playoffs, here’s a quick recap:

Guyer looked dead, came back, looked dead again, came back again and pulled away late for a 75-65 win with some veteran free-throw shooting. Except one thing, that near-perfect foul shooting down the stretch wasn’t by veterans at all.

Nevermind senior Zach Garza’s game-high 25 points, the importance of that goes without saying. Let’s focus for a moment on that foul shooting with the Jags trying to get back in the game in the ol’ foul-and-cross-your-fingers game.

After Garza hit sixth and final 3-pointer of the night for Guyer with 2:39 remaining to give the Wildcats a 60-58 lead, it became a free-throw game for Guyer. And the Wildcats couldn’t have been better, thanks to their two freshmen standouts.

Jalen Wilson was 5-for-6 from the line in the final two minutes on his way to an 18-point, 9-rebound performance. Classmate De’Vion Harmon went 6-for-6 over the final 45 seconds, with four of those being in a one-and-one situation. Harmon finished the night with 15 points, six rebounds and six assists. So if you’re keeping track, two freshmen went 11-for-12 from the foul line in the final two minutes to give Guyer the win.

That’s impressive. I don’t care who you are.

“They’re young and hungry and have no fear,” Guyer coach Grant Long said. “Those freshmen in the fourth quarter from the free throw line, they had to have been 90-something percent.”

I confirmed, using math, and it was 92 percent. As a team, Guyer shot 91 percent from the line.

“They have no fear and know they’re gonna make it,” Long added. “They want to play the best in the state, and they aren’t scared of anyone.”

 

 

 

 

Guyer girls lose flip(s) for postseason

Guyer senior forward Bre Wickware (30) puts one up against Ryan, Tuesday, February 9, 2016, in Denton, Texas. David Minton/DRC

Guyer senior forward Bre Wickware (30) puts one up against Ryan, Tuesday, February 9, 2016, in Denton, Texas. David Minton/DRC

Not much has gone wrong for the Guyer girls basketball team lately.

Since dropping a game to Keller back on Jan. 19, the Lady Wildcats haven’t lost a game, including Tuesday’s demolition of crosstown foe Ryan to clinch a share of the District 5-6A title with that aforementioned Keller team.

After the game, head coach Andrea Robinson cited that Keller loss as the turning point in her team’s season as the Lady Wildcats have been an offensive juggernaut ever since. On Tuesday, they had two 20-point quarters including a 27-point first quarter that ended the game shortly after it began.

But on Wednesday, Keller got the best of Guyer one more time.

The teams split the regular-season meetings, which resulted in the co-championship. In these instances, coaches can decide to flip a coin for seeding in the playoffs or they can play a game for seeding while they’d still share the district title.

Robinson wanted to play, feeling her team has a hot hand at the moment. Keller wanted nothing to do with playing another game before the postseason begins next week, and Keller won the flip to flip for seeding, then won the flip for the top seed.

That means Guyer will be the second seed from 5-6A and that gets the Lady Wildcats a matchup with Flower Mound on Tuesday at Lake Dallas with a 7 p.m. tipoff against the nation’s top player in 6-4 post Lauren Cox, who’s signed with Baylor.

It’s a big test, for sure, but the way the Lady Wildcats are scoring the basketball right now with their trio of point guard Lauren Heard, Indiana-bound forward Bre Wickware and sharpshooting guard Sydney Meador will have them in just about any game for the long haul.

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.

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Guyer clinches a playoff spot out of 5-4A

Guyer first baseman James Farris (left) is congratulated by teammate Daulton Horton after a home run in Friday's win over Trophy Club Nelson.

With the Guyer baseball team’s 7-2 win over rival Lake Dallas on Tuesday night, and a little bit of help from Azle, the Wildcats clinched a playoff spot with three games remaining in the regular season. For Guyer, now it’s all about seeding and pecking order, and well, trying to avoid finishing third or fourth and facing Saginaw Boswell or Birdville in the first round of the playoffs.

Guyer is now in second place by itself, and if the Wildcats can take care of the eliminated Wichita Falls Rider Raiders on Friday, will have a matchup for first place in 5-4A next Tuesday at home against first-place Wichita Falls Coyotes. Rider is out of the playoffs for the first time since 2001, according to our friend Zach Duncan at the Times Record News. Guyer already beat the Coyotes once this season, and with a win would have the season sweep.

Here’s a look at the current 5-4A standings with three games to play:

1. Wichita Falls (9-2); 2. Guyer (8-3); 3. Trophy Club Nelson (7-4); 4. Lake Dallas (7-4); 5. Azle (4-7); 6. Wichita Falls Rider (4-7); 7. Fort Worth Brewer (3-8); 8. Denton (2-9).

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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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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.