Written by Corbett Smith
Highland Park, on 13-game streak, to meet 4A juggernaut Denton Guyer
Each day leading up to Saturday's semiffinals we will publish a capsule previewing the local teams in UIL football's final four.
HIGHLAND PARK VS. DENTON GUYER
CLASS 4A DIVISION I STATE SEMIFINAL
Denton Guyer (12-2) vs. Highland Park (13-1)
1 p.m. Saturday at Allen Eagle Stadium
Best win: Guyer’s best win was also its second loss. Behind two touchdown passes from quarterback Jerrod Heard and two rushing scores from D.J. Breedlove, Guyer dispatched 6-5A runner-up Colleyville Heritage, 35-14. The win was forfeited 11 days later, when Guyer self-reported that it used an ineligible player – a second-year foreign exchange student – for the first two games of the season.
Last loss: 38-28, at Cedar Hill in Week Zero
Playoff road: d. Saginaw, 69-7; d. Waco, 42-13; d. Amarillo, 63-21; d. Birdville, 53-28.
Last semifinal appearance: 2012 (won 4A Division I state title)
Players to watch: Senior QB Jerrod Heard, a Texas pledge and the 2012 4A Division I final offensive MVP, has passed for 1,891 yards and 21 scores and rushed for 1,859 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. Senior RB D.J. Breedlove has a team-high 26 touchdowns: 20 rushing, four receiving, and a punt- and kickoff-return score. Senior DT Thomas Ferguson has leads the team in sacks (9) and tackles behind the line of scrimmage (42).
Notable: It’s not a surprise that Guyer has reached this point. In fact, under coach John Walsh, the school has made it a habit. Guyer has reached the state semifinals in 4A Division I or 5A Division II in four of the past five seasons. Apart from the season-opening loss to Cedar Hill (who’s still alive in the 5A Division II playoffs), Guyer hasn’t really been challenged. Over its last 13 games, Guyer has not trailed in the second half, with only Wichita Falls Rider getting within a single score in the fourth quarter.
Best win: With a 77-game home winning streak on the line, Brooks Burgin passed for 345 yards and accounted for five scores in a 41-26 win over 10-4A foe Mesquite Poteet, an eventual Division II Region II finalist.
Last loss: 44-3 to Aledo (in Allen) in Week Zero
Playoff road: d. The Colony, 38-17; d. Kimball, 58-21; d. Mansfield Legacy, 48-0; d. Wylie, 27-14.
Last semifinal appearance: 2007 (runner-up to Lake Travis in 4A-D2)
Players to watch: Junior QB Brooks Burgin revitalized HP’s offense, passing for 3,307 yards and 31 scores while rushing for 19 touchdowns. Seven WRs have 20 or more catches, including junior Andrew Frost (team highs in yards  and touchdown catches ). Will Sanders hasn’t missed a kick all season, going 10 for 10 on field goals and 77 for 80 on extra points (with three PATs blocked).
Notable: Highland Park found its stride after getting rocked by Aledo in the season opener, winning its last 13 games by an average of 31.6 points. HP’s defense has been stout among its front seven, but will see a significant challenge in Guyer’s powerful offensive line. Senior DL Andrew Clyde had eight sacks and 40 solo tackles during the regular season. Junior LB Mitchell Kaufman had 82 tackles, two defensive touchdowns, three interceptions and seven sacks in the first 10 games.