Texas High School football season Week One and it's the clash of two-time defending state champions both schools considered Titians among state football powerhouses.
Denton Guyer, winner of two consecutive Class 4A Division I state championships, will face the winner of the last two Class 5A Division I titles, Allen, tonight at Apogee Stadium as part of the Tom Landry Classic. The game was originally scheduled to be played at Allen's Eagle Stadium, but construction issues at the forced Allen to play its 2014 home games in Plano. Guyer will travel to Allen for the start the 2015 season.
This marquee matchup is more than two highly regarded head coaches, Westerberg and Walsh, one with the state's quarterback of the moment, Kyler Murray, and the other with the possible quarterback of the future, Shawn Robinson.
This battle will be won in the trenches and with the defense that makes the big plays or stops at the right time.
THE OLD COACH BREAKS IT DOWN
BY THE NUMBERS: It's never about the numbers
Head Coach: Tom Westerberg; 118-16 (10 seasons)
2013 Record: 16-0
Returning Starters: 6 offense, 1 defense
Roster: 90 Players; 54 Seniors; 6 Sophomores
Head Coach: John Walsh; 75-35 (8 Seasons)
2013 Record: 14-2
Returning Starters: 4 offense, 8 defense
Roster: 62 Players; 41 Seniors; 6 Sophomores
THE TRIGGER MEN: Youth vs. Experience
What else can you say about the Two-Time State Championship Game MVP, Gatorade's Texas Player of the Year for 2013, All-State, All-You Name It, senior quarterback, Kyler Murray?
Since taking over in the fifth game in 2012, as a 15-year-old sophomore, Murray is 26-0 as the Eagle starter (missing one game with an injury), with two state 5A titles. He's passed for over 5,000 yards. He's thrown 63 touchdowns, rushed for over 2,500 yards and 44 scores.
In last year's title game Murray capped the season with Allen's second straight championship under Westerberg, dominating Pearland 63-28 before a crowd of 54,347, the largest ever to watch a Texas high school football game. Murray ran for 188 yards and a touchdown, passed for 280 yards and four scores, named MVP of the game for the second straight year.
There is no doubting Murry's ability and where he will stand among the greats of Texas High School Football when his career is over but how will he improve this season?
TheOldcoach.com staff believes that Murray can up his game this season through a maturity process. Murray will be challenged to step up his game through leadership, and for him to prepare even harder for games this year by not just understanding the game plan but through improving his recognition of fronts to go along with his ability to read coverages so that he can be a complete package when he leaves Allen.
Guyer's Shawn Robinson, a member of the 2017 class, has been on the recruiting radar for some time. Robinson is a move-in set to take over the quarterback reins for the Guyer program replacing high school all-American and current Longhorn freshman Jerrod Heard. There are big shoes to fill but Coach John Walsh believes Robinson is ready for the challenge. Walsh tells TheOldCoach.com that Robinson is a big time talent that has the opportunity to be the best he has coached, which says a bunch.
Robinson, who recently turned 15, started as a freshman at Saginaw Chisholm Trail where he showed a big arm and athletic feet, throwing for over 1100 yards, rushing for another 600-plus, and accounting for 17 total touchdowns finishing with a 3-7 season. This duel-threat quarterback is being touted as one of the top recruits for 2017 and already holds offers from Texas and Nebraska.
TRENCH WARFARE: Where is the beef?
The strength of each team will battle all night and that's where the game will be decided. Allen returns four starters on the offensive line and they are ahead of the line-game as the season starts. Losing Tejan Koroma at center created a huge hole in the middle but the Eagles moved starting guard Cody Wheeler to center.
Brian Cornell returns again at guard and at tackles it will be hard to imagine if any team has a duo like the Eagles in Bobby Evans (Oklahoma) and Gregory Little. Both are extremely athletic, have great feet and quickness, and are huge. Little is being touted by some as the nation's top recruit for 2016.
Guyer's strength is their defense hinged on their massive defensive line. They are big, physical, and wreak havoc by penetration and keeping bodies off of their linebackers. With the return of Carl Thompson(Kansas)and Derek Watson they have a solid front line. Their line-backing corp is full on down-hill hitters including Michael Carrillo, a junior who makes tackles all over the field.
If fans can train themselves to watch line play while this game is going on, this battle will be exciting to follow.
QUESTION MARKS: The Tell of the Tale
The biggest question in the offseason for Allen was "Defense". According to numbers the Eagles return only one defensive starter. But that is misleading and followers of the Eagles know that defensive coordinator Cory Cain rotated 16 to 17 players last season that played in 16 games. Some of these athletes have been on the varsity since sophomores so the experience level is not as dim as it seems.
If the Eagles can jell early as a unit they will be a force with at least six athletes who could play Division I football one day.
The Guyer offense has to be steady under the sophomore quarterback. Walsh knows how to guide youngsters in this position so Robinson is in good hands. Plus the fact that senior running back Anthony Taylor can lighten the load for Robinson but the Guyer offensive line has to have some success against Allen's front.
Guyer must contain the aerial attack of Murray and Allen's deep threat Jalen Guyton (Notre Dame). The Wildcats will rely on their experienced secondary, with cornerback Trey Woods and hard-hitting safety Jordan Wallace (Iowa).
Another great start to the Texas High School football season.
Follow all the action LIVE on TheOldCoach.com with a global broadcast of the game on the Internet starting at 7:00 PM with additional insight and information in the Pre-Game Show. The game can be found in the Metroplex on radio staion KKLF, 1700 AM.
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