ARLINGTON, Texas -- At times during Denton Guyer’s 55-7 thumping of Abilene Cooper, it appeared there was more than one Wildcats player on the Cowboys Stadium playing surface wearing jersey No. 3.
No single player could make such a big impact, right?
The jersey belongs to Josh Stewart, a 5-10, 170-pound senior wide receiver/defensive back, and he is very capable of making impact plays at any given moment.
In the first half, the Texas A&M pledge turned the Class 5A Division II regional playoff into a rout by:
*Catching a 12-yard touchdown pass for the game’s first score.
*Returning a punt 50 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0.
*Making the first of two interceptions, a leaping thing of beauty near midfield, that led to Guyer’s third touchdown.
"We just want that ring,'' Stewart said. "We want it real bad. I'm going to do whatever I can to get this team in that position. We're going to keep playing hard. Every practice we're going to go harder and harder. We're not going to give up on nothing. That's what we've got to do and that's what we will do.
"It felt good to know that I was doing big things for my team. I couldn't do anything without them. I just kept doing what I had to do and it paid off.''
Guyer coach John Walsh appreciates his two-way star.
"If you let the ball get near Stewart, good things are going to happen, whether we're throwing to him or you're throwing to him'' the coach said. "I hope people keep throwing to him. We're going to.''
The Wildcats (11-2) in their first season at the Class 5A level, systematically built on their 24-0 halftime lead to earn a berth in next week’s Region I final.
For Cooper (11-2), making a return to 5A this season, it marked the third straight season that ends at the hands of Guyer. It didn’t help that Cooper had to play without three starters who were suspended for school and team infractions following last week’s area playoff victory.
This was, by far, the most lopsided of the three losses.
At least the Cougars didn’t have to make the return trip to Abilene totally empty-handed. They scored a consolation touchdown in the final two minutes to avoid the shutout.
Guyer quarterback J.W. Walsh, who has committed to Oklahoma State, enjoyed another productive afternoon, throwing for three scores and rushing for another. His touchdown run of 34 yards came on the first series of the second half.
In addition to the touchdown toss to Stewart, Walsh went to Connor Crane for scoring throws of 49 and 42 yards.
Guyer advances to the Region I final against the winner of today's second game, Abilene-Southlake Carroll. The game will be played at Mansfield's Vernon Newsom Stadium.