Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Football: Guyer beats Ryan for regional title
It was always going to end this way.
One sideline at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex would erupt in jubilation and the other would fall silent, with the realization that the 2009 season is over.
The Guyer offense leaned on the running game and put together 80-yard drives to open each half with touchdowns as the Wildcats outlasted Ryan, 28-25, in the Class 4A Division I Region I final on Saturday. The win sends Guyer to the state semifinals for the second straight year.
Guyer (13-1) ended up with the ball to open both halves because of the first in a unusual sequence of events that made special teams perhaps the most important phase of the game. With the wind whipping through the stadium at or around 20 mph throughout the entire game, Guyer won the coin toss and deferred until the second half.
The Raiders elected to go north with the ball and with the wind at their backs in the first and third quarters instead of taking the ball to open the game. The possession game shifted to Guyer's favor when quarterback J.W. Walsh took the 10th play of the game into the end zone on a keeper from 9 yards out and put the Wildcats up 7-0 with just under eight minutes to play in the opening quarter.
"It was a gamble," Florence said of the pregame decision. "We were putting our trust in our defense. We're not going to second-guess anything. The gamble just didn't work out for us."
Guyer's drive to open the second half took just seven plays and ended on Jaimaine Wilhite's 23-yard touchdown run with just under nine minutes to play in the third. That score put the Wildcats up 21-6.
Wilhite finished the game with 240 yards and two scores on 29 carries. Walsh added 115 yards on 26 carries. The 355 yards the duo combined for on the ground was 84 percent of Guyer's total offense.
"It helped so much to have those guys in front of us the way they played," J.W. Walsh said of his offensive line. "Our coaches do a great job of getting them in the right mindset of what we want to do. When Jaimaine gets a little crease, he gets through. It doesn't have to be a big crease."
But the biggest plays of the game came on special teams. Guyer cornerback Josh Stewart blocked his first kick of the day on Ryan's opening drive, a 47-yard attempted field goal from Christihan Guifarro. He also blocked an extra point attempt and took a 72-yard interception return to the end zone in the second quarter as well.
"It's all about film, film, film," Stewart said of his interception. "I knew what the play was once [Ryan quarterback] Scotty [Young] checked to his center, so I jumped the route and ran to the end zone."
Young gave chase on the return but couldn't force the speedster out of bounds before he reached the end zone for the score that put Wildcats up, 14-0. Young threw a season-high five interceptions in the loss, four of which came in Guyer territory. The Wildcats scored two of their four touchdowns as a direct result of Ryan turnovers.
"I just didn't execute when my team needed me to," Young said.
But his receivers dropped eight catchable balls in the loss as well. Young's fifth and final interception came with 1:55 to play, and with the Raiders down 28-25, battling the wind and a Guyer secondary with a chip on its shoulder after being torched for five passing touchdowns in Ryan's 50-29 over Guyer to end the regular season. Safety Ravion Ingram grabbed his second interception as Young threw to Antonio Anderson into double coverage over the middle of the field.
"All throughout the week, our DBs have been getting criticized," Ingram said. "We took it personally and we knew we had to come out and make the plays to give us the win."
Young did throw four touchdowns to keep his team in the game, but opportunistic play by the Guyer defense put the finishing touches on the win.
But perhaps the biggest play of the game came, again, on special teams. Ryan's third touchdown, a 4-yard pass to Antonio Anderson, was followed by the Wildcats' third blocked kick of the game. Jimmy Bean stretched to get a hand on Guifarro's point-after attempt and keep the score at 28-19 with nine minutes to play in the fourth. For Ryan, it was still a two-possession deficit.
"[Guyer defensive tackle Taylor] Bible just pushed the dudes [Ryan linemen] way back," Bean said. "And I just got back there. He allowed me to get back there. I didn't realize what a big play it was until I got back to the sideline. Then everyone told me it was huge."
Wilhite's second rushing score of the game made the score 28-13 earlier in the fourth, and Young's eight-yard touchdown strike to Bud Sasser gave the game its final score, 28-25, with just over four minutes to play.
J.W. Walsh also threw two interceptions in the game, and Guyer coughed up six fumbles on offense, but didn't lose possession on any of them.
"I was mad and upset with myself, but I also knew my [defense] -- the way they'd been playing and stepping up was huge," J.W.Walsh said. "I knew they had my back. They had my back a bunch tonight. It's not a lot of times when you hold a Ryan offense to 25 points."
MATT MARTINEZ can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Guyer 28, Ryan 25
Guyer 7 7 7 7 -- 28
Ryan 0 6 7 12 -- 25
G - J.W. Walsh 9 run (Zac Brewer kick), 7:51
G - Josh Stewart 72 interception return (Brewer kick), 8:10
R - Michael Cudd 12 pass from Scotty Young (kick blocked), 6:58
G - Jaimaine Wilhite 23 run (Brewer kick), 8:54
R - Trey Mohair 17 pass from Young (Guifarro kick), 6:55
G - Wilhite 22 run (Max Alspatch kick), 9:06
R - Antonio Anderson 4 pass from Young (kick blocked), 7:36
R - Bud Sasser 8 pass from Young (pass failed), 4:05
First downs 25 17
Rushing yards 348 20
Passing yards 72 304
Comp-att-int 7-12-2 24-52-5
Total yards 373 324
Punts-avg 3-29.7 2-28
Penalties-yards 15-130 5-40
Fumbles-lost 6-0 0-0
Rushing - G: Jaimaine Wilhite 29-240, J.W. Walsh 26-115, Cameron Nora 1-3, Team 1-(-10). R: Kaylon Alexander 3-3, Will Clark 4-5, Scotty Young 3-12.
Passing - G: J.W. Walsh 7-12-2-72. R: Scotty Young 24-52-5-304.
Receiving - G: Connor Crane 2-41, Quentin Gardener 1-13, Daniel Mercer 1-(-1), Jaimaine Wilhite 3-19. R: Bus Sasser 5-75, Antonio Anderson 9-81, Michael Cudd 4-85, Trey Mohair 4-46, Will Clark 2-17.