A lot has changed since the last time Guyer took the field against Austin Westlake in the Class 6A Division II title game last December.
Longtime head coach John Walsh resigned in March, and former Rockwall head coach Rodney Webb was hired as his replacement. During that process, the Wildcats also switched offensive and defensive coordinators, and in turn, schemes on both sides of the ball.
And if that weren’t enough, Guyer graduated leading rusher Kaedric Cobbs, leading receiver Seth Meador and defensive lineman Grant Mahon, who is now at Oklahoma State.
As the Wildcats gear up for their season opener on Friday against Hebron, Webb conceded there are plenty of question marks.
“There’s going to be a lot of unknowns both ways, especially with us being new here at Guyer,” Webb said. “[Hebron] knows what I did at Rockwall, but they aren’t positive we’re doing it exactly the same way. They don’t really know what we’re doing defensively. There are going to be a lot of unknowns on Friday.”
A majority of those unknowns stem from the installation of Guyer’s new offense and defense.
The Wildcats, which were a run-oriented team under Walsh, have switched to an up-tempo attack similar to that of North Texas. The scheme is predicated on RPOs (run-pass options), making it difficult for teams to defend.
At Rockwall last year, Webb’s team threw for 4,488 yards and 55 touchdowns. But Webb said despite this, his team is still very much committed to the run game.
“At Rockwall, we were always No. 1 or No. 2 in the metroplex in passing,” Webb said. “And people thought we were just slinging it all over the field. But at heart, we are two-back, downhill, bloody-your-nose run game.
“[When] defenses have to start putting additional hats in the box is when it opens up additional RPO opportunities. It opens up vertical shots. We try to do it at a fast tempo so teams don’t have an opportunity to give us multiple looks.”
As a result, senior quarterback Eli Stowers’ arm will be on display quite a bit in Webb’s new system. The Texas A&M commit was the Denton Record-Chronicle’s Quarterback of the Year in 2019, throwing for 2,989 yards and 36 touchdowns.
“[This offense] is a lot different than Walsh’s,” Stowers said. “Everyone knows Walsh’s offense was very run-heavy, especially with that offensive line we had last year. We were just bullying people in the trenches. This year, there is going to be a lot relying on my arm and our receivers.
“They put up crazy numbers at Rockwall last year. All we have to do is execute.”
Defensively, Guyer has converted from a 4-3 defense to a three-man front. The new scheme will allow the Wildcats to be more multiple and give offenses a variety of looks.
When Guyer and Hebron met in the bi-district round of the playoffs last November, the Wildcats knocked off the Hawks 50-30. Plenty has changed since that game 10 months ago.
Webb knows as much, and also knows there will be elements to Friday’s game that neither side could realistically anticipate.
“Being the first game of the year, there are going to be a lot of things that happen we weren’t prepared for, or they weren’t prepared for,” Webb said. “It’s a part of Game 1.”