Item No. 1 for Guyer to check off its to-do list this season was secure the No. 1 seed in District 5-6A Division II.
The Wildcats accomplished that goal last week in a 33-21 win over McKinney Boyd, although it took a massive second-half comeback to do it. Guyer trailed 21-0 late in the second quarter before rattling off 33 unanswered points to seal the win.
“It was an important win for our program to solidify the No. 1 seed [in 5-6A Division II] going into the playoffs,” Guyer coach Rodney Webb said. “That has been our No. 1 goal from the get-go. It was an important win from that standpoint. But I’ll say this. I think this game this week is important in terms of our momentum.”
With their playoff seeding hashed out, the Wildcats will now turn their attention to Little Elm in the regular season finale. The two teams will square off at 2 p.m. Friday at Lobo Stadium.
While the game is inconsequential and virtually meaningless for Guyer (6-2, 4-1) in terms of standings, Webb said there is still plenty at stake in this week’s game in terms of improvements his team needs to make.
“As I’ve told our kids, this week on Friday has nothing to do with Little Elm and everything to do with Guyer,” Webb said. “It has everything to do with us and playing our best, whatever that means the outcome is. We have to play our best, and we have to play better than we did the week before. We’re in ramp-up mode now. It ought to be takeoff time for us going into the playoffs. We can’t afford any kind of backslide.”
Part of avoiding a backslide will be preventing slow and sluggish starts that have plagued Guyer nearly the entire year.
In last week’s win against Boyd, the Wildcats managed just three points in the first half — punting on three of their five first-half drives.
Guyer also started slow against Prosper last month before rallying to win on an Eli Stowers touchdown run on the final play of the game.
Webb acknowledged that the start of games has been an issue for the Wildcats, and he was also adamant they are focused on correcting it.
“It’s priority No. 1 for us, for a lot of different reasons,” Webb said. “The biggest reason for us is we have to learn how to start better. And the other thing is, it’s an afternoon game. There’s going to be a little bit of a playoff air. So, learning how to play in the day and the preparation that goes into a 2 o’clock kickoff. My hope is it’s going feel like a playoff game.”
Little Elm (2-6, 0-4) is winless in district and has not won a game since Oct. 9 against Plano West.
But in the midst of the Lobos’ struggles, Little Elm has found a way to play well and keep games competitive at home. The Lobos’ two home district games this season have been against Prosper and Allen, and both contests were close until the fourth quarter.
Prosper went on to win 30-20, while Allen eventually pulled away for a 68-44 victory.
“Little Elm is a team that has caused people problems this year,” Webb said. “They have not consistently been a good team, but you go back and look at the Allen game. If you go in there unprepared, you could find yourself in trouble pretty fast. They’ve been good at home this year. They haven’t been quite as good on the road, but they’ve played well at home. They are certainly a team that has our respect.”
After closing out the season on Friday, Guyer will get a week of rest prior to the playoffs starting on Dec. 10-11.
The Wildcats’ bye week couldn’t have come at a better time, as Guyer is dealing with injuries to several key players. Leading receiver Grayson O’Bara, Florida State commit Jordan Eubanks and Charlotte commit Knox Boyd have all missed the last three games.
All-American cornerback Deuce Harmon also exited last week’s game against Boyd. Webb said it is his hope that the extra rest will allow all of those players to return at full strength when the Wildcats begin their playoff run.
“We’ve had three kids that have been out since the Prosper game,” Webb said. “They all got hurt in the Prosper game. Had we decided to rush any of those kids back, we might have been able to get something out of them this week, but we’ve learned to play without them. And we’re OK playing without them, clearly. It just gives them a little more [of an] opportunity to step back into the arena at 100%.”