Written by Corbett Smith
Senior QB scores with 55 seconds left as Guyer edges Highland Park, 22-16, in 4A Div. I semifinal
ALLEN – It was a simple – yet demanding – task that Denton Guyer coach John Walsh charged to his senior quarterback, Jerrod Heard, at halftime. The defending state champs were sputtering against Highland Park in the Class 4A Division I semifinal, and Walsh wanted his best player to take charge.
“I just tried to get a spark going,” Heard said. “I think in the second half, like Coach said, it’s time to put it on my back. And I took that role.”
Heard rushed for 153 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns – including a game-winning, 1-yard score with 55 seconds remaining – as Guyer rallied for a 22-16 win at Allen’s Eagle Stadium.
Guyer (13-2) will face San Antonio Brennan (15-0) for the 4A Division I title at 8 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium, the third time in four seasons that Guyer will play in a championship game.
Using multiple defensive fronts and a variety of blitzes, Highland Park (13-2) confused Guyer’s offensive front in the first two quarters, taking a 10-0 lead into half. Guyer, which averaged 342 yards rushing, only had 25 first-half rushing yards. To compound the problem, Guyer’s offense kept self-destructing, committing a rash of penalties and costly turnovers that gave Highland Park a spark.
But that switched in the third quarter, as Guyer’s defense stiffened to force three straight three-and-outs –opening a door that Heard and his teammates marched through.
Anthony Taylor scored on a 24-yard run to get Guyer within a score, and Heard drove down on the field on the next possession, capping the drive with a 25-yard quarterback trap to take the lead with 4:13 remaining in the game.
Staring at its first deficit of the game, Highland Park put together its best drive of the game. A 45-yard pass from Brooks Burgin to William Stowe moved the ball to the Guyer 33. Stephen Dieb scored on a one-yard run four plays later, putting Highland Park up, 16-14, with 2:18 remaining.
Highland Park coach Randy Allen said after the game that he contemplated burning a few plays near the goal line, in order to run time off the clock.
“But, you don’t coach them not to score,” Allen said. “You don’t coach them not to lose yardage – and just go down on the line of scrimmage. If you down it, you’re going to take a loss. I just didn’t want to take that chance.”
Heard, a Texas pledge, stormed down the field in short order on the following drive, with a 16-yard scramble down to the 1-yard line, setting up his game-winning score.“It’s what he’s supposed to do,” Walsh said. “He’s one of the best players in the state of Texas.”
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