Friday, December 20, 2013
GUYER GAMEDAY Guyer (13-2) vs. San Antonio Northside Brennan (15-0), 8 p.m., AT&T Stadium By Adam Boedecker/Staff Writer
FOUR DOWNS: KEYS TO TODAY’S GAME
ON THE AIR TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus Radio: KNTU-FM 88.1
KEY MATCHUP Guyer OL Jerod Fritsch vs. SA Brennan DL Derick Roberson Derick Roberson, a 6-foot-5, 215pound defensive end, is quite possibly the best defensive player Guyer has ever played against. Offensive tackle Jerod Fritsch will be the best physical matchup the Wildcats have and will be tasked with trying to contain Roberson, a Texas pledge. Fritsch will most likely be Fritsch matched up with Roberson for much of the game, and his tall, rangy frame (6-5, 250) will give him an even matchup with Roberson based on length and reach alone. Guyer won’t be able to take Roberson out of the game — no one has, and no one can — but they will have to prevent him
from taking over the game like he has so many times this year. The Under Armour All-American Game selection is the eighth-ranked defensive end in the nation, according to Rivals.com and his stats show why. He’s already racked up 103 tackles, with 39 behind the line of scrimmage and 20 sacks. Roberson Fritsch will have his hands full, but he likely won’t be on an island by himself, as Guyer will utilize its multiple formations and blocking schemes to try to neutralize Roberson with double teams or by running away from him from time to time.
MATCHING UP Guyer’s offense vs. Brennan’s defense Brennan’s defensive stats are eye-popping: In 15 games, the Bears have allowed six offensive touchdowns, and the first-team unit has allowed just two. Derick Roberson has 20 sacks and is one of the best defensive ends in the country. Guyer head coach John Walsh said Roberson is the best defensive player he’s “ever coached against.” But there is a question surrounding the quality of opponents Brennan has played this
season, and Guyer will be far and away the best team the Bears have seen, possibly in its entire four-year existence. Roberson is great, and will not be consistently contained, but the Wildcats have a battle-tested star of their own in quarterback Jerrod Heard, who accounted for all seven of Guyer’s touchdowns in last year’s state title win over Georgetown, giving the Wildcats the best player on the field in this matchup. Edge: Guyer
Guyer’s defense vs. Brennan’s offense All year long, Walsh has called his defense a “championship defense.” Now, the Wildcats have a chance to prove it against Brennan. The Bears’ offense is centered around quarterback De’Shawn Key, a true dual threat much like Heard. Key has thrown for 1,809 yards, 22 touchdowns and two interceptions while adding 1,877 yards and 33 scores on the ground. The thing working in Guyer’s favor is that Brennan is a true run-first team,
and not many teams in the state stop the run more effectively than Guyer, led by its dominant defensive line and active, undersized linebackers. This season, the Wildcats have allowed just two 100-yard rushers and only one of those (Birdville’s Xavier Turner) came against Guyer’s first-team defense. In order for the Bears to have a big night on the ground they’ll have to be on top of their game. Edge: Guyer
Guyer senior running back DJ Breedlove (3) runs over the pile on his way to a touchdown against Birdville during a playoff game Dec. 9 at Apogee Stadium. The Wildcats’ offense will likely need to score early in tonight’s Class 5A Division I state title game to put pressure on San Antonio Brennan.
DON’T HURT YOURSELF
Last week, Guyer almost found out the hard way the result of costly penalties (eight) and turnovers (three) late in the playoffs. Against a Brennan team that will give them a four-quarter game, those mistakes will prove too costly to overcome against Brennan’s headline-making defense that rarely gives up points.
DON’T LET THEM GET COMFORTABLE
Brennan has not trailed this season and has outscored opponents 816-51. The Bears have not seen an offense anything close to Guyer’s, and some early points for the Wildcats could get in Brennan’s head a bit. An early lead? That would put the Bears in uncharted waters, and would force them to keep their composure in a foreign situation.
CONTAIN THEIR ‘HEARD’
The teams are mirror images of each other, right down to their quarterbackbased offenses with dynamic playmakers under center. Brennan’s version of Jerrod Heard is De’Shawn Key. The dual-threat quarterback has rushed for 1,877 yards and 33 touchdowns while throwing for 1,809 yards, 22 scores and just two interceptions.
DON’T PUNT TO THAT GUY
One of the places Guyer has been hurt at times this season is in its kick coverage, and the Bears have a top-notch punt returner in Jaelan Collier. Guyer’s defense will be able to hold its own and bail the Wildcats out at times, but they can’t afford to be trying to stop Key and the Bears’ offense with a short field.
ARGYLE GAMEDAY Argyle (15-0) vs. Fairfield (15-0) 4 p.m., AT&T Stadium By Ben Baby/Staff Writer
FOUR DOWNS: KEYS TO TODAY’S GAME
ON THE AIR TV: Fox Sports Southwest
KEY MATCHUP Argyle LB Colton Hinnrichs vs. Fairfield RB Larry Rose Argyle has faced good running backs all season, but Fairfield’s Larry Rose could be the best one Argyle has faced yet. It’ll be up to senior linebacker Colton Hinnrichs and the rest of the team’s defense to corral one of Class 3A’s most explosive running backs. Rose was named the Class 3A Offensive Player of the Year after Hinnrichs compiling staggering numbers. Rose has rushed for 2,716 yards and 48 touchdowns this season, averaging 12.9 yards per carry. Last week in the state semifinals against Sinton, he had 111 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries.
Argyle’s defense has allowed 117.1 rushing yards per game this season. Hinnrichs has stepped up for Argyle since senior linebacker Sam Sizelove’s season-ending knee injury against Aubrey. Hinnrichs is second on the team in tackles and tackles for loss. Last week against Graham, Hinnrichs racked Rose up eight tackles and had one of Argyle’s five interceptions in a 38-14 win against the Steers. If Argyle can find a way to slow down one of the state’s best running backs, Argyle could bring home its first state championship.
MATCHING UP Argyle’s offense vs. Fairfield’s defense Nobody has been able to slow down Argyle’s offense this season. Its success is a reason why Argyle head coach Todd Rodgers has rested his starters during most fourth quarters this season. Argyle has scored 90.7 percent of its points in the first three quarters this season, a testament to how much the team has dominated this season. Fairfield’s defense has held four opponents scoreless this season and has only allowed 9.2 points per game this season, albeit against a fairly weak
schedule. The defense is led by junior linebacker Devin Eggins, who has a team-high 197 tackles and 32 tackles for loss. Eggins and linebacker Jeremiah Simpson will have the task of slowing down Argyle senior wide receiver Ian Sadler and junior running back Nick Ralston. Sadler scored five total touchdowns against Gilmer, while Ralston has rushed for 806 yards and 12 touchdowns in five playoff games. Edge: Argyle
Argyle’s defense vs. Fairfield’s offense touchdowns. Argyle’s defense slowed Fairfield’s offense has run through one of the state’s best offenses in Central Texas teams all season. Fairfield Gilmer and is only allowing 3.2 points in has scored 70 points twice and is the first half of games. averaging 57.3 points per game. The star of the offense is senior running back Micah Capra has continued to be Larry Rose, who has rushed for 2,716 stellar for Argyle since senior linebacker yards and 48 touchdowns this season. Sam Sizelove suffered a season-ending knee-injury against Aubrey. The senior Fairfield senior quarterback Jacob defensive tackle has a team-high 137 Gallegos has thrown for 2,347 yards, 25 tackles and 24 tackles for loss. Argyle TDs and seven interceptions, but he’s came up with five interceptions in last only completed 59.9 percent of his week’s win against Graham. passes. Edge: Argyle He’s also rushed for 518 yards and 11
Argyle senior Ian Sadler, middle, is wrapped up by Gilmer senior John McPherson, left, and junior Nick Smith during their playoff game Nov. 29 at Kincaide Stadium in Dallas. Sadler will likely play a key role for the Eagles in today’s Class 3A Division II state title game against Fairfield.
SCORE ON EXTENDED DRIVES
Fairfield has multiple players that play on both sides of the ball, and Argyle head coach Todd Rodgers said scoring at the end of long drives will do a lot to wear down Fairfield’s two-way players, including linebacker Jeremiah Simpson and defensive backs Chris Lide and Bryson Gates.
FIGHT THROUGH WEARINESS
Argyle will be playing its third game in 12 days, something that is incredibly taxing, especially in the final round of the playoffs. Fairfield has only played on Fridays for at least the last three weeks. However, Argyle cruised past Gladewater and Graham, so the team could rest most of its key players
WIN BATTLE OF SPECIAL TEAMS
Rodgers stressed the importance of playing well on special teams, and his team has the players needed to make explosive plays. Argyle has the most prolific high school football kicker ever, Cole Hedlund. Ian Sadler has two return touchdowns, as well, and is capable of changing the game instantly.
NEED TO USE SADLER EFFECTIVELY
Sadler, who has committed to Texas Tech, is arguably one of the best players in 3A. Sadler rushed the ball for 182 yards and four touchdowns against Gilmer, and he added a receiving touchdown against the Buckeyes. He’s used as a Wildcat quarterback, a running back and a wide receiver.