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. (David Minton/Denton Record-Chronicle)

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. (Garett Ray Fisbeck/The Dallas Morning News)

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.

 

Weekend Recap: Three’s Company

Argyle's Ian Sadler and Brandon Boyzuick celebrate during the Eagles' 45-38 win against Gilmer in the 3A Division II regional semifinals. (David Minton/DRC)

There’s only three weeks left in the high school football season, and after last weekend’s round of games, we still have three teams left in the playoffs.

Guyer cruised to an expected victory, while Argyle announced itself as the frontrunner for the 3A Division II state title and Ryan pulled off one of the most incredible comebacks you will ever see.

Adam Boedeker and I take a look back at those games and Liberty Christian’s loss to Fort Worth Nolan in today’s Weekend Recap.

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What you need to know: Fossil Ridge

Quarterback Jacob Gnacinski lead Keller Fossil Ridge against Ryan in Saturday's Class 5A Division II regional semifinal. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)

It’s not Thanksgiving in Texas without a great slate of high school football games. We’re not done with the regional semifinals yet. Ryan and Keller Fossil Ridge square off today with a trip to the state quarterfinals on the line, and we’ve got you covered before you head out to Apogee Stadium today.

Here’s what you need to know about today’s regional semifinal matchup.

Class 5A Division II Region II semifinal

Ryan (9-2) vs. Keller Fossil Ridge (9-3), Apogee Stadium, 1 p.m.

Series record: Fossil Ridge leads 3-1

How we got here: Ryan is coming off a huge win against Waco Midway last week. The Raiders erased a 13-point halftime deficit to pick up a 34-33 victory against Midway. In the locker room after the game, it was apparent that the win transcended regular playoff wins. It gives Ryan a lot of momentum going into today’s game.

“It’ll be one of my fondest memories because it was such a big stage and you’re down 13 points. I didn’t think we played bad,” Ryan head coach Joey Florence said.

Fossil Ridge, on the other hand, is coming off a convincing 39-7 win against San Angelo Central. Ryan Parker had seven catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Jacob Gnacinski completed 16 of 32 passes for 220 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

What’s happened in the past: Ryan has lost three straight contests to Fossil Ridge. In 2006 and 2007, the Panthers knocked Ryan out of the playoffs in the bi-district round of the 5A Division II playoffs. It was one of the few times Ryan has failed to win a playoff game. I’m sure Florence and the Raiders are less concerned about the three-game losing streak and are more worried about advancing to next week’s contest.

What to expect this year: Don’t look at Fossil Ridge’s record and sleep on the Panthers. Fossil Ridge has key talent at key positions that could give Ryan fits this afternoon.

Defensively, Ryan will need to shutdown Parker (1,102 receiving yards, 15 TDs) and Gnacinski. Those two account for most of Fossil Ridge’s offense, and Gnacinski (58.5 completion percentage, 2,557 passing yards, 25 TDs, 14 INTs) will be the best dual-threat quarterback Ryan has seen all season. The Ryan secondary will be asked to have another big performance this week.

Offensively, the Raiders will have to contend with Fossil Ridge’s strong defensive line and a secondary that features defensive back Nick Foster, who orally committed to TCU.

This game could be decided by which team is better at the line of scrimmage.

Ryan’s defensive line will need to pressure Gnacinski and hasten his decision-making process. Ryan’s d-line is one of the reasons the Raiders have forced 15 turnovers in their last three games.

Ryan’s offensive line will need to open up holes for running backs Tyrone Williams and Maurice Gordon. Fossil Ridge limited SA Central to 50 yards on 25 carries last week.

Ryan player to watch: DB Paul Hunter

Fossil Ridge player to watch: WR Ryan Parker

Weekend Recap: Sweet 16

The area’s four remaining playoff teams remained unscathed and a couple of those teams defeated old rivals to keep their state championship hopes alive. It was a great week of football, and it sets up a great way to unwind after Thanksgiving this Thursday.

If you missed any of last weekend’s action, fear not. Stay warm and grab some hot chocolate as Adam Boedeker and I look back at the most recent slate of playoff games.

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Halftime thoughts: Waco Midway 23, Ryan 10

ARLINGTON – Earlier this week, Ryan head coach Joey Florence said the one thing coaches say when they know chances of winning are fairly slim.

“We’re going to have to play nearly perfect to beat these guys,” Florence said.

Well, things have been far from perfect for the Raiders in today’s Class 5A Division II Region I area game. Waco Midway leads Ryan 23-10 here at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium.

Ryan’s offense looks much better than it did last week, but it’s still having problems scoring in the red zone.

Senior quarterback Mitchell Bridges threw an interception into the end zone, and another Ryan drive stalled inside the Midway 10-yard line.

Ryan’s lone touchdown of the game came on the opening kickoff. Ronnie Coleman received the ball in the end zone. He ran and gave the ball to Xavier Gray, who had his back to the Midway defenders. Gray handed the ball off to Trent Willis, who ran it in for a 91-yard touchdown.

Midway quarterback Ben Hicks has been superb in the first half. He’s completed 15 of 19 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown. He threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Devontre Stricklin with 5:30 left in the half.

Bridges is 7-of-11 passing for 69 yards, an interception and a lost fumble. Bridges was bailed out after his interception when Midway attempted a halfback pass and it was picked off in the Ryan end zone by Cameron Williams.

Still, Ryan’s offense hasn’t looked bad. If Ryan’s secondary can figure out a way to stop Hicks, the Raiders might have a chance of advancing to the next round.

But, the way it looks now, if Florence doesn’t see perfection from his team in the second half, this might be Ryan’s final game of the season.

Follow me on Twitter at @Ben_Baby for updates throughout the game. Click here for live stats and play-by-play throughout the contest.

What you need to know: Ryan-Midway III

Three years after playing at AT&T Stadium, Ryan and Midway square off again in Arlington in Saturday's 5A Division II area round playoff game. (Brendan Sullivan/The Dallas Morning News)

Saturday’s Class 5A Division II area game between Ryan and Waco Midway has all the intangibles for a great matchup.

Great History? Check. Great venue? Yep. Oh, and it’s the playoffs? You better believe it.

We should be in for a pretty good contest tomorrow morning in what’s shaping up to be a pretty nice rivalry. Here’s what you need to know about Ryan-Midway III.

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Ryan’s potential playoff sites set for next round

If Ryan can find a way past Waco Midway in tomorrow’s Class 5A Division II area playoff game, the Raiders could be rewarded with a game at Denton’s biggest stadium.

With a Ryan victory tomorrow, the Raiders will face either San Angelo Central or Keller Fossil Ridge.

The potential sites for those games, according to Denton ISD athletic director Ken Purcell, are:

Ryan at San Angelo Central, Saturday, Nov. 30, 1 p.m. 

OR

Ryan vs. Keller Fossil Ridge at Apogee Stadium, Saturday, Nov. 30, 1 p.m. 

The original plan earlier in the week was for Ryan to squeeze its way into AT&T Stadium next Friday in one of the three available slots. But Ryan wasn’t able to find its way into the tripleheader at Jerry World.

There were also discussions of playing SA Central in Abilene, but since Abilene is only 90 miles northeast of San Angelo, it made sense to go ahead and flip for home-and-home. Ryan lost the flip.

Now, both of those circumstances are thrown out the window if the Raiders can’t win tomorrow against Midway. I’m sure Ryan will be happy to be playing anywhere next weekend. But Thanksgiving weekend matchup at Apogee does sound pretty nice.