When Denton Guyer finished its magical turnaround season at 12-3 with a run to the Class 4A Division I state semifinals last year after going 1-19 during its first two years, many of those wins might have come against an unsuspecting opponent -- especially early on in the year.
This year, that will not be the case for the Wildcats, who will instead sports a big, fat target on their collective back.
This year, the No. 2 team in 4A will try to win its first district championship after finishing third in District 5-4A, which will prove to be one of the toughest 4A districts in the state this year.
While Guyer is the favorite, it's hard to call the Wildcats an overwhelming one despite the fact that the Wildcats return quarterback J.W. Walsh, who, if healthy, should lead a very explosive Guyer offense that returns nearly all of its skill position players from a year ago.
On defense, defensive tackle Taylor Bible, a UT commit, leads a group that was already formidable last year, but might be better this season.
But it won't be a cake walk for the Wildcats, who will get strong competition from crosstown rival Denton Ryan and quarterback Scotty Young, a Texas Tech commit who was two TD passes shy of tying Graham Harrell's state record for TD passes in a season with 65. Then there's Guyer's next door neighbor at Lake Dallas, which has one of the most dynamic athletes in Texas in QB James Franklin. In such a short time, the Guyer-Lake Dallas rivalry has become a downright nasty one, and this year should be especially interesting since Lake Dallas was really the only team to embarrass Guyer last season -- on the Wildcats' home field, no less.
Throw in two-time defending district champion Wichita Falls Rider, and the top of the district is insanely tough, though it drops off a bit in the bottom part of the district. Rider, however, lost a boat load of superior talent at the offensive skill positions from last year's squad, and should fall back to fourth place in the district.
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If there's going to be a spoiler, look out for The Colony, who beat Lake Dallas last season and sport the district's largest enrollment, always a recipe for talent and athleticism.
Offensive MVP: James Franklin, QB, Lake Dallas
Defensive MVP: Taylor Bible, DT, Denton Guyer
Game of the Year: Denton Ryan at Denton Guyer, Week 10
Adam Boedeker is a sports writer/award-winning blogger for the Denton Record-Chronicle. Follow District 5-4A action all season long on his newspaper's award-winning blog.