Abilene Cooper and Denton Guyer likely thought they’d seen the last of each other when the two schools moved up from Class 4A to 5A in the biennial reclassification earlier this year.
But no. Guyer (10-2) and Cooper (11-1) will face off in a third-round playoff game for the third straight year. Only the classification has changed.
The Class 5A Division II regional playoff is the first of a triple-header Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Kickoff is 1 p.m.
The winner will advance to the Region I final to play the winner of the Southlake Carroll-Abilene regional playoff that will be Game 2 Saturday at Cowboys Stadium.
Cooper will be hoping the third time around is a charm because the first two didn’t turn out too well for the Cougars -- a 57-34 loss to Guyer last year preceded by a 28-7 defeat in 2008.
Led by the passing and running of Oklahoma State commit J.W. Walsh, Guyer is riding a seven-game win streak. The 6-2, 185-pound senior has thrown for 2,540 yards and 28 touchdowns. He’s rushed for 989 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Running back Treavon Walton went over 1,000 yards last week and has scored 15 touchdowns for the Wildcats. Josh Stewart, a Texas A&M pledge, and Connor Crane are the top receiving threats.
Guyer avenged one of its losses with last week’s 48-35 area playoff victory over Cedar Hill. Undefeated Coppell dealt Guyer its only other defeat in what turned out to be the District 7-5A championship game.
Cooper, picked fourth in District 3-5A, surprised the experts by finishing in a three-way tie with Abilene and Midland for the title. Midland defeated the Cougars, 42-35, in the final regular-season game in Midland.
The Cougars are averaging 43 points a game with a sophomore quarterback and a pair of juniors leading the team in rushing and receiving.
Quarterback Clayton Nicholas has thrown for 2,949 yards and 30 touchdowns.
Davon Riddick has rushed for 1,444 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Kloe Jackson has 59 receptions for 919 yards and six touchdowns.
Cooper, however, will be missing three unidentified players Saturday.
After last week’s 36-17 area playoff win over Amarillo Tascosa in Lubbock, three Cougars were discharged for violations of team and school rules. The identities of the players were not revealed.