Season Wrap: Wildcats Ready To Reload After Playoff Loss

Season Wrap: Wildcats Ready To Reload After Playoff Loss

Season Wrap: Ready To Reload After Playoff Loss

by Steve Gamel

This time last year, the Guyer football team found itself picking up the pieces of an uncharacteristically up and down season that ended with a rough first-round playoff loss. It was the first time in program history that the Wildcats lost in the first round and, at the time, head coach John Walsh said his team would be back with a vengeance in 2018. For all intents and purposes, that’s exactly what happened as the team made it to the second round before losing in triple overtime last month to Mansfield Lake Ridge.

With 17 starters returning for 2019, Walsh is as fired up as he’s ever been for next year. “We played our tails off,” Walsh said. “That was a really good football team we lost to, and we had our chances to win it. We were young, and I can’t ask for more from my boys. In fact, this is the first year that we’ve lost a game that we could have won against a really good football team where I am already fired up for the next season.” He added, “If we aren’t coming out of the gate on fire next year, then something is wrong.”

Walsh has every reason to believe his team could be one of the top programs in Class 6A next year because of those 17 returning starters. That includes running back Kaedric Cobbs, who was nearly impossible to bring down while rushing for 1,487 yards and 19 touchdowns. On top of that, sophomore quarterback Eli Stowers had a breakout season as he passed for 1,571 yards and 13 touchdowns and rushed for 1,119 more and nine scores.

Defensively, the Wildcats will return most of their starters, including defensive tackle Grant Mahon. Mahon, an Oklahoma State commit, missed this entire season with a back injury. “We didn’t have a ton of seniors. The guys coming back know we will be very good,” Walsh said. Guyer finished 5-5 during the regular season but seemed to be hitting its stride late and proved that with a dominant 52-21 first-round playoff win over a Flower Mound team that won a district title and was in the middle of one of its best seasons in program history.

After that, the playoff bracket appeared to be shaping up in Guyer’s favor. But the Wildcats had to get past Lake Ridge first. The two teams put together an absolute slugfest while combining for 92 points and nearly 1,000 yards of total offense. In the third overtime, Lake Ridge scored on a 15-yard touchdown pass then added a two-point conversion before its defense finally held Guyer out of the end zone to secure the win. “I figured we were good enough to have a chance to sneak into the later rounds this year, but I’ve always known that we’d be set up for an even bigger year in 2019,” said Walsh, who has led Guyer to three state title games, winning two of them. “We have a shot.”

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