FLOWER MOUND, Texas -- Denton Guyer head coach John Walsh believes teams win championships by stopping the run.
If Walsh’s belief holds true, Guyer could be on its way to a title after shutting down Dallas-Fort Worth’s best running game in Flower Mound Marcus on Thursday.
Guyer held Marcus to just 176 rushing yards and used a goal-line stop in the final minute to escape with a 35-28 win over Marcus in the Class 5A Division II bi-district playoffs, Guyer’s first playoff win as a 5A program.
Guyer will play the winner between Hurst L.D. Bell and Cedar Hill at 11 a.m. Nov. 20 at Cowboys Stadium.
“We didn’t do anything special,” Walsh said of his defense’s performance. “We played base defense. Our 4-3 scheme is realy centered around stopping the run. I really believe you win championships by stopping the run.”
Guyer (9-2) shut down a Marcus run game that averaged almost 400 yards per game in the regular season. Marcus had just 41 rushing yards at halftime and didn’t have a 100-yard rusher for the first time this season.
Despite its struggles on the ground, Marcus (8-3) had a chance to tie the score in the final minute with a first-and-goal on the Guyer 3-yard line. But Guyer stuffed Marcus on three straight runs, and Marcus QB Deion Sanders’ throw on fourth down was caught out of bounds to give Guyer the win.
“I was relieved,” Walsh said about seeing the officials rule Marcus’ final play incomplete. “We shut them down for four downs down there. I’m so proud of that defense for denying them.”
Marcus hung in the game behind a passing game that rarely threw the ball in the regular season. Freshman quarterback Cole Erwin excelled in his first varsity game, injecting life into a dormant passing game by going 8-for-10 for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
“We actually did not practice against the pass like we have the last couple of weeks,” Guyer defensive back Josh Stewart said. “We didn’t even know about No. 16 [Erwin]. We thought Deion was going to be playing. We were preparing for Deion.”
After trailing 21-14 at halftime, Erwin hit Cody Apfel from 9 yards out to tie the score, and Sanders scored on a 9-yard run to give Marcus a 28-21 lead late in the third quarter.
Guyer answered quickly. Running back Treavon Walton, who carried the ball 12 times for 134 yards, popped off a 53-yard touchdown run on the first play following Marcus’ score, the last of three scores in the game for Walton.
Guyer QB J.W. Walsh, who had a modest game by his standards, put Guyer ahead for good when he hit Cameron Hunter on a 33-yard slant route with 7:33 left in the game. Guyer’s goalline stand iced the game for the Wildcats.
Marcus started the game strong behind the unexpected flurry of passing plays. Sanders scored from a yard out to take the opening lead.
Guyer answered immediately when Josh Stewart took a 10-yard pass by Walsh into the end zone.
The passing game gave Marcus the lead again when Erwin hit Cale Shriver in the end zone from 20 yards out to put Marcus up 14-7.
The lead didn’t last. Walsh hit Walton from 14 yards out to tie it, and Walton scored on a 25-yard touchdown run after Marcus threw an interception. Guyer took a 21-14 lead into the half.