If defense wins championships, then Guyer is well on its way to another long playoff run after a 34-14 win over Flower Mound to open the Class 6A Division II playoffs.

While coach Rodney Webb was looking for that fast start offensively it had lacked the majority of the year, the defense was up to the task all game long.

And it had to be very early.

“We had a lot of yards offensively but not many points,” Webb said. “We were epically bad in the red zone tonight, and we had been all year. So we kind of made up for it.”

On Guyer’s fifth play of the game, quarterback Jackson Arnold unleashed a perfect throw over the top to Brody Noble inside the Flower Mound red zone. However, Noble fumbled and forced the Guyer (10-1) defense into early action.

After one first down, the defense forced the Jaguars (5-6) to punt. Guyer drove but then turned the ball over again.

Once again, the defense forced a punt — it was just the beginning for the Wildcats’ opportunistic defense.

Coming into the game, the Guyer defense had 20 takeaways, including four games of three or more. By halftime, that total jumped to five times on the year.

Late the in first quarter, Marquan Pope got a great read on a Nick Evers’ pass and stepped right in front of the receiver for the interception. Having already shut down the Flower Mound offense, the first takeaway created a snowball effect.

Holding a 10-0 lead with time dwindling in the second quarter, the Guyer secondary started dominating the game as Eli and Peyton Bowen intercepted Evers on back-to-back drives with the brothers returning their respective picks for 39 and 50-yard touchdowns, respectively.

“They were smothering tonight,” Webb said. “We just have a bunch of ballhawks on the back end.”

What was once a one-score game after the first quarter had turned into a route by halftime. Guyer out-gained Flower Mound 317 to 84 in the first half and didn’t let up much in the second half as Eli Bowen picked off Evers twice more in the third quarter.

“I came in thinking I had to do it for the seniors tonight,” Eli Bowen said. “I was ready and locked in.”

On the pick-six, Eli Bowen said getting that touchdown was a great feeling.

“It was like opening a Christmas present that you have been asking for all year long,” he said.

It was the second multi-interception game for Eli Bowen this year.

The win marks the fourth straight year Guyer is into the area round, where it will meet Dallas Jesuit, which defeated Arlington 69-36 in its bi-district game. Webb said after the win he was not sure of the time, date or place for the area round.

For Webb, the overall performance for his team was emblematic of a team hitting its stride and playing like a championship team. But he knows there’s a lot from this game that could be improved.

“We did a lot really well tonight,” he said. “We did a lot that needs to be cleaned up. Out of the 20-yard line we played great [offensively], but any way you can screw it up inside the 20, we did it tonight.”

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