Written by Jon Machota
Denton Guyer downs Birdville, returns to a state semifinal for 4th time in 5 years
SOUTHLAKE – Scoring hasn’t been a problem for Denton Guyer or Birdville all season, and it wasn’t Saturday during the Class 4A Division I Region I final at Dragon Stadium.
Despite the 13 touchdowns scored, a pair of back-to-back defensive stops early in the second half were the difference as Guyer held on for a 52-42 victory, earning a fourth trip to the state semifinals in the last five years.
Leading 31-21 at halftime, Guyer coach John Walsh asked his team for one defensive stop to start the third quarter. The Guyer defense did its coach one better, getting two stops, holding Birdville scoreless in the third quarter and allowing the offense to extend its lead.
“The defense came through right after half and that was huge in momentum,” Walsh said. “I think, defensively, we did a great job at halftime and in the third quarter of making some adjustments.”
Guyer (12-2) advances to face John Tyler (13-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Midlothian.
Guyer scored on all five of its first-half possessions, as junior quarterback Jerrod Heard rushed for two touchdowns and found Ellis Jefferson for a 43-yard score. Heard, who rushed for 167 of his team’s 426 yards, threw for 172 yards and three scores.
Jefferson, a 6-4 senior receiver who is orally committed to Arizona State, was clearly Heard’s favorite target throughout, catching six passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
“Ellis is going to have to be big for us to win a state title,” Walsh said. “I’m finally getting smart and cutting him loose.”
Birdville (13-1) never led but managed to close to within 45-35 with 7:36 remaining. Birdville appeared to have successfully recovered the ensuing onside kick, but the referees never blew the whistle to signal the start of play.
Xavier Turner was elusive in both the running and passing game. The junior running back led Birdville with 19 rushes for 146 yards and three touchdowns, giving him 35 scores on the season.