ARLINGTON — Guyer was searching for a spark.
The Wildcats didn’t care how they got one, but their season depended on it.
For the first two-and-a-half quarters on Saturday afternoon, Cedar Hill dominated every facet of the game, shutting down Guyer’s prolific offense and torching its defense. With 4:54 left in the third quarter, the Longhorns took their largest lead at 41-14 — a 27-point advantage that was the largest deficit Guyer had faced all season.
On the ensuing possession, the Wildcats answered with a touchdown, and then turned to an unlikely hero.
Senior lineman Colby Strange came out to attempt an onside kick, which Guyer recovered. The Wildcats had the spark to fuel their comeback.
Guyer (11-1) recovered two more onside kicks and scored 36 unanswered points to end the game, completing an improbable rally to stun Cedar Hill 50-41 in the Class 6A Division II Region I area round at AT&T Stadium.
“After [Cedar Hill] scored [to make it 41-14], the coaches came up to me and said that we were just doing onside kicks the rest of the game,” Strange said. “It feels absolutely amazing. I was nervous, to be honest. But in the end, I cooled my head. I wanted to go win this for my team any way possible.”
Cedar Hill (9-3) only had two possessions in the final 16 minutes, including its last gasp with 1:39 left trailing by nine.
The Wildcats attempted four consecutive onside kicks after pulling to within 41-21, recovering three. With his team’s season on the line, Guyer coach John Walsh knew he had to make a drastic change.
“That was easy,” Walsh said of his decision to exclusively onside kick for the final 16 minutes. “If they were going to score, we needed them to score quick. We wanted to take the clock out of it.
“In the tunnel when we came out [after halftime], [momentum] was the only word I kept saying. We have to grab momentum, or this thing is over. The onside kicks got it for us.”
Guyer’s offense did the rest, settling into a rhythm it was unable to find in the first half.
Kaedric Cobbs ran for 194 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries, while quarterback Eli Stowers threw for 254 yards and three scores. Stowers also added 110 yards and a go-ahead touchdown on the ground which gave Guyer its first lead at 42-41.
The Wildcats then recovered their final onside kick, and it was Cobbs who put the win on ice, plunging into the end zone on third-and-goal from the 2-yard line. He added the 2-point conversion to give Guyer its insurmountable nine-point lead.
“I just didn’t want to go home today,” Cobbs said. “I didn’t want to hang up my cleats. This team means too much to us. I really didn’t want to let them down. I was just so happy that we could come back and move on to the next round.
“This is definitely something that builds a legacy. It’s something the coaches will be talking about. It’s something I’ll be telling my kids, that I got to play at Jerry world and came back from a deficit where people were probably counting us out.”
With the win, Guyer advances to the 6A Division II Region I semifinal. The Wildcats will play Arlington at 2:30 p.m. next Saturday, Nov. 30 at The Star in Frisco.
“We aren’t going home,” Strange said. “That’s all I wanted. I wanted to stay with my brothers for as long as possible and keep this ride going.”
Guyer 50, Cedar Hill 41
CH — Kaidon Salter 24 run (Jadon Cardell kick)
CH — Cameron Hutchings 27 pass from Kaidon Salter (Jadon Cardell kick)
DG — Cooper Lanz 14 pass from Eli Stowers (Erik Arellano kick)
CH — Corie Allen 19 run (kick failed)
CH — Brian Rainey 14 pass from Kaidon Salter (Jadon Cardell kick)
CH — Kaidon Salter 8 run (run failed)
DG — Brandon Deleon 27 pass from Eli Stowers (Erik Arellano kick)
CH — Cameron Hutchings 15 pass from Kaidon Salter (Kaidon Salter run)
DG — Brandon Deleon 33 pass from Eli Stowers (Erik Arellano kick)
DG — Kaedric Cobbs 2 run (Erik Arellano kick)
DG — Kaedric Cobbs 11 run (Erik Arellano kick)
DG — Eli Stowers 14 run (Erik Arellano kick)
DG — Kaedric Cobbs 2 run (Kaedric Cobbs run)
Rushing — CH: Kaidon Salter 13-157, Corie Allen 9-32, Kevin Young 7-24, Ian Bradley 1-3, DG: Kaedric Cobbs 28-194, Eli Stowers 18-110, Tiyon Aldridge 3-10, team stat 1--1.
Passing — CH: Kaidon Salter 14-27-0-259, DG: Eli Stowers 15-25-0-254.
Receiving — CH: Cameron Hutchings 5-96, Quin Bright 4-84, Jalen Hollins 1-49, Anthony Thomas 1-19, Brian Rainey 2-15, Kevin Young 1--4, DG: Brandon Deleon 5-99, Travis Romar 3-61, Kaedric Cobbs 3-43, Seth Meador 3-37, Cooper Lanz 1-14.