Former Ryan star Ja’Tavion Sanders walked off the field after the Raiders’ victory over Guyer last season shouting, “This is our city.”
Friday night, the Wildcats took the city back.
Guyer overcame a sluggish offensive start and rallied from a seven-point deficit, knocking off rival Ryan 14-7 in overtime to snap the Raiders’ 60-game regular-season winning streak.
The loss is Ryan’s first regular-season defeat since Nov. 7, 2014, which was also against the Wildcats.
“This is ultimately our city now,” said Guyer quarterback Jackson Arnold, who threw the game-winning touchdown pass in overtime. “This victory means everything. It’s like a championship, in a way.”
After being held scoreless for nearly three quarters, Guyer eventually got on the board late in the third quarter when Arnold connected with Peyton Bowen for a 31-yard score.
Bowen got behind the Ryan secondary and made a contested catch in the end zone to tie the game at 7-7.
TOUCHDOWN @DentonGuyer_FB!!!@PeytonBowen10 goes up and gets it from @_JacksonArnold_. The Wildcats have life and have tied this game up.— Reece Waddell (@ReeceWaddell15) September 4, 2021
It’s a 31-yard score. We have a brand new ballgame. #txhsfb
Guyer 7, Ryan 7 with 0:59 left in Q3. #txhsfb pic.twitter.com/g6JcRMcGaR
Both defenses then continued to flex their muscles, holding the opposing offense scoreless as the game crept toward overtime.
And on the Wildcats’ first drive of the extra period, Arnold lobbed a deep ball for receiver Sutton Lee.
TOUCHDOWN @DentonGuyer_FB!!!!!— Reece Waddell (@ReeceWaddell15) September 4, 2021
It’s the Argyle transfer @sutton_lee5!! @_JacksonArnold_ throws up a dime and Lee finds a way to corral it. That’s a 29-yard score.
Guyer has the lead in overtime. Ryan ball next.
Guyer 14, Ryan 7. #txhsfb pic.twitter.com/RFepE5XiVe
Lee adjusted to the ball in midair, coming down with it in the corner of the end zone for a 29-yard score that proved to be the game-winner.
“I was running that route, and I beat that defender,” Lee said. “I’m running toward the end zone, turned and I just saw that ball coming. I had to readjust. It was a great ball in a great spot. As soon as I hit the ground, I looked over and made sure I was in. I saw I was inside that white line, and my heart was just full. It was just crazy.”
Ryan scored its lone touchdown of the night late in the second quarter, when Khalon Davis connected with Texas commit Austin Jordan on a 27-yard score. Jordan went up and grabbed the ball in the back of the end zone, coming down with it between two Guyer defenders to put the Raiders up 7-0.
The Wildcats struggled on offense in the first half against Ryan’s stingy defense, as the Raiders held Guyer to just 41 total yards in the first two quarters.
“There were stressful moments on us all night,” Guyer coach Rodney Webb said. “Everybody really responded well. I’m proud of our coaching staff and proud of our kids. Ryan is a great football team. They have the ability to make you look so bad on both sides of the ball and in all three phases of the game. And they did at times tonight. We really struggled early in the game to block them.”
In the second half, the Wildcats finally found an answer for Ryan’s disruptive defensive line, giving Arnold a cleaner pocket to work with. He ultimately finished the night 17-for-31, throwing for 176 yards and two touchdowns.
Arnold also threw an interception in the third quarter, as Ryan’s Kaden Kelly picked off the pass.
But Guyer’s defense — like they did all night — rose to the occasion, getting the ball back for the Wildcats, which ultimately led to Arnold’s first touchdown.
Guyer held Ryan to 223 yards of offense on the night and just 100 yards in the second half.
“I’m just so proud of Reed Heim, our defensive coordinator and our defensive staff,” Webb said. “I’m so proud of the work they put in.”
Guyer improved to 4-5 all-time against the Raiders with the victory. It is the Wildcats’ first win over Ryan since 2014.
And, at least for now, the city of Denton belongs to Guyer.
“It means a lot,” said Lee, who transferred to Guyer from Argyle in the offseason. “I grew up going to middle school here. These guys are all my brothers. Coming back here and winning this game — this is a big-time game. The title of getting our city back — it’s just a great feeling.”