November 9, 2009

Notebook: The state's top playmakers come out

Around the state district title battles were waged over the weekend, with several coming down to final moments.

Thursday night in Denton, Texas crosstown rivals Denton Guyer and Denton Ryan went toe-to-toe in a key 5-4A match-up. The intensity level was high with loyalties split and Guyer came out firing on all cylinders early.

Blake Terry made the first tackle of the game and then the Guyer sideline erupted after Taylor Bible's sacked Scotty Young on the second play of the game.

After holding Ryan to a three and out, a punt return set up Guyer the ball at the nine-yard line, J.W. Walsh put the first points on the board on a quarterback keeper.

The Guyer 7-0 lead was short lived as Will Clark's 49-yard punt return put Ryan in great field position, which they capitalized on when Young connected with Bud Sasser to give Ryan a 15-7 lead with 9:49 in the second quarter.

"I think the excitement of the game was just boiling up in us and it went out in a hurry but we'll be alright," Walsh said of the early momentum.

Guyer and Ryan exchanged a couple of touchdowns before the half, but in the second half Ryan scored 21 straight points to run away to the 50-29 win, handing Guyer their first loss of the season.

"We didn't need it, but we can learn from it definitely like we did with Lake Dallas and after that we just hit on all cylinders through the playoffs and the regular season," Bible said. "So we're just going to grow from this. It's a growing experience."

Guyer takes a 9-1 record into the playoffs and after Thursday night they know they have a few things they need to clean up if they're to make a run at state.

"You definitely learn from your mistakes," Walsh said. "The next week in practice you work on the small things you didn't execute out here, you study film harder. You get smarter. You don't commit stupid penalties like we had tonight."

THE HACH TAKES DISTRICT

Friday night in Floyd Casey Stadium Waxahachie and Waco Midway faced off in a winner take all battle. Waxahachie, who came in unbeaten, also had the extra motivation of their 2008 meeting.

The Indians fell to the Panthers last fall and were determined not to meet that fate again. In order to ensure that was the case the Indians used the ground game and defense to post the first two points of the game, as they cruised to a 34-21 win.

"We lost to these boys last year," Waxahachie receiver Ladarius Brown said. "They've got a great team and we came out and fought hard. This is what I'm talking about - revenge."

LaJordan Easley scored the first touchdown on a 44-yard run and was quickly followed by Sam Gagliano, who returned an interception 57 yards for the touchdown.

Midway answered as receiver Levi Norwood hauled in a 24-yard pass, but quarterback Venique Benton found a wide open Ladarius Brown on a 43-yard touchdown reception as Brown slipped across the back of the defense.

As halftime approached, Ronnie Lee brought the Panthers within a score, but Waxahachie put it away behind the leg of Taylor Brown and a punt return for a touchdown of 33 yards by Steven Borden.

Midway would later score their final points with four seconds left on the clock, but it was too little too late as the Indians claimed the win, the district title, and an undefeated season.

"It means a lot there." Brown said. "10-0 means a whole lot."

WHO CAUGHT THE EYE

Taylor Bible - DT - Denton Guyer - Texas commit

Bible saw double teams most of the night but showed exactly why he was so highly sought on the second play from scrimmage. On Ryan's second play Bible exploded through the line and was draped on quarterback Scotty Young before Young could catch a glimpse down field. Over the course of the night Bible was good, and played with a nice pad level and showed some strength with his bull rush. He used a variety of moves and didn't quit. With that said I was hoping to see a little more explosiveness and a quicker first step strike. He has it - there's no question that it's there. Overall, liked what I saw from Bible.

Blake Terry - LB - Denton Guyer - 2011

The man in the middle of Guyer's defense played with a great intensity. There were a few times he was a little out of control but he has a great motor and is a quick strike weapon on the field. He was quick to make his reads and showed speed sideline to sideline. When he blitzed he was coming with a head full of steam, but he also did a good job of staying controlled enough to not overrun his intended target.

Jimmy Bean - DE - Denton Guyer - 2011

It's hard not to like this guy. He is very long and athletic and still has a ton of room for improvement. The thing I really liked about him was how he put pressure on the ball without even getting in the backfield. He made the angles difficult for Young all night and even got his hands on a couple of passes to knock them down at the line of scrimmage. He was able to get some penetration and kept a nice pad level most of the time but he did get knocked off the line a few times. He has a quick first step and is one to watch.

J.W. Walsh - QB - Denton Guyer - 2011

Walsh and Guyer may not have won the game, but Walsh put on an impressive performance. He has the strength to make all the throws and keeps himself in position to throw the ball at all times. The thing that really stood out was his elusiveness. I knew he had the ability to make aggressive defenses pay with his feet but man he was all over the place and made great plays with his feet. He did a great job of keeping his eyes downfield while scrambling and kept his feet in position to throw a strike. Walsh to me was probably the most impressive prospect on the field for me.

Scotty Young - QB - Denton Ryan - Texas Tech

Young is great at making the quick decision and letting the ball fly. He is accurate and usually puts the ball in the best place for his receiver to make a decision. He can fling it downfield as well as hit the timing routes and can move the offense at a pace maddening to any defense. He has good pocket presence and footwork and can make you pay but he is more of a threat passing than he is on the run.

Bud Sasser - WR - Denton Ryan - 2010

Sasser is a big receiver with potential to add more, plus he has the ability to be that coveted big outside receiver who can jump up for that fade in the endzone as well as get passed a defense and run away. He was consistently able to get separation and when DBs were physical, he was physical right back. He ran nice crisp routes and does a good job of getting his hands up and bringing the football in. He did have a few key drops and he wasn't as consistent as I would like to see but he has the chance to really make some noise on the college level.

Ty Hook - LB/DE - Denton Ryan - 2012

When I first saw Hook earlier in the season, he seemed a little undersized for DE (even at this point), but I have to say I may be wrong about that. Regardless, the guy is quick off the ball and did a great job of attacking a very good prospect in Cole Underwood. He was able to consistently get penetration and showed a lot of moves and stayed low and able to get leverage. I could see him rolling back up to linebacker and it not being a problem, he has the speed, and the intelligence.

Ahmad Dixon - S - Waco Midway - Baylor

Dixon is a quick-strike playmaker. He is capable of taking any kickoff return to the house and he is all over the defensive backfield. He is more than capable of coming up and making a big play against the run and on the safety blitz he is a sure tackler.
Levi Norwood - WR - Waco Midway - Penn State

Norwood seems to be healthy and ready to go. He was able to get some nice separation and was Midway's best threat down the field. He does a great job of making in route adjustments and in jump ball situations was able to go up and snag the ball away.

Shakiel Randolph - S - Waco Midway - 2012

Randolph is a long athlete with a lot of potential. He has been learning the intricacies of the safety position from one of the best in the country and after stepping in as a freshman has made long strides. He has the range to cover deep and does a good job of making quick reads and diagnosing where he needs to be.

Beau Blackshear - DL - Waco Midway - 2011

Blackshear played defensive end as a sophomore and showed he is also more than capable of lining up inside. He has a nice frame to add weight and could develop into an athletic defensive tackle. He is quick off the ball and does a good job of getting penetration.

Marc Martinez - LB - Waco Midway - 2011

When it comes to smart players, Martinez is one of the best. He is a little undersized but he has the athleticism to not only play middle linebacker but this fall has been the man behind the Midway running game. He is not going to blow you away with his explosiveness but he is a tough smart runner with vision.

Sam Gagliano - ATH - Waxahachie - 2010

Gagliano is a do it all type guy. He can return your punts. He can lineup inside or out at receiver. He can be a stopper at defensive back. He is the type of player that tends to get over looked due to his height but he has the athleticism and strength to play bigger. He does a great job of catching the ball with his hands and on defense he has the ability to flip his hips and put him in position to make a play on a ball regardless of where it's headed.

Relus Chance - DE - Waxahachie - Tulsa

The Tulsa commit was quick coming off the edge and was able to get some good pressure on the quarterback. Chance also showed well getting off blocks and down the line and was quick to chase down ball carriers to the outside.

LaDarius Brown - ATH - Waxahachie - 2011

Brown has the size to pick his spot, but this week I got the feeling he seemed a bit more natural at safety. At receiver he was great in jump ball situations and does a good job of getting his hands up and bringing the ball in. He did run a few sloppy routes and could have made a few adjustments but overall he had a great night.

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