DENTON, Texas -- In a game littered with marquee matchups between Division I players, the unlikely decider was Denton Guyer's extra-point coverage.
Guyer blocked two extra points and stuffed a two-point conversion attempt to escape with a sloppy 28-25 win Saturday at C.H. Collins Athletic Complex in the Class 4A Division I Region I finals, avenging its only loss of the year.
Guyer advances to the state semifinals for the second year in a row. It will face the winner between Longview and Waxahachie.
"Those two blocks, that was the ball game," said Guyer head coach John Walsh. "That was huge for us. We're putting good players on special teams that can make big plays for us."
BY THE NUMBERS
3 blocked kicks for Guyer (two extra points and one field goal)
9 turnovers combined for both teams (5 for Ryan, 4 for Guyer)
4 touchdown passes for Ryan QB Scotty Young, giving him 64 for the year
236 rushing yards and two touchdowns for Guyer RB Jaimaine Wilhite
1 interception returned for a touchdown, 1 blocked field goal, 1 blocked extra point for Guyer DB Josh Stewart
Ryan's high-octane offense misfired numerous times. Quarterback Scotty Young threw five interceptions -- three in the end zone on drives that breached the red zone and one that Josh Stewart took 72 yards for a touchdown.
The fifth came with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Young hurled a pass over the middle that Ravion Ingram came down with for his second pick of the day to seal the win.
The unspectacular ending epitomized a game that neither team seemed to want to win on a blustery afternoon. After scoring on its opening drive, Guyer (13-1) never trailed, but couldn't pull away despite dominating Ryan (12-2) on the ground.
Guyer quarterback J.W. Walsh, John's son, threw two interceptions of his own, and the team turned it over on downs twice. Guyer was 1-for-8 on third down.
"I never would have thought so many bad things would have happened to us and we'd still be in the ball game," John Walsh said.
But Guyer committed to the run and didn't waiver like it did the first time the two teams met. That led to a career performance from running back Jaimaine Wilhite, who finished with 236 yards and two touchdowns. Walsh added 124.
"We realized what we had to do," said Wilhite, who injured his ankle in the game. "We knew they weren't ready for our running game, so we threw it out on them."
Down 21-13 in the third quarter with the wind at its back, Ryan drove to the Guyer 9-yard line, but Marquis Smith came down with a Young pass in the end zone to end the threat.
After J.W. Walsh threw a pick, Young led Ryan to the Guyer 5, but Brendan Wright intercepted Young in the end zone again.
Wilhite put Guyer up 28-13 with a 22-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive, and while Young threw touchdown passes to Antonio Anderson and Bud Sasser late in the fourth quarter -- giving him four for the game and 64 for the season -- Ryan couldn't muster another scoring drive in the closing minutes.
The wind played a factor for Ryan's passing game. Guyer deferred the opening toss, but Ryan took the wind at its back for the first and third quarters instead of the ball. That led to Guyer getting the ball to open both halves and two more drives than Ryan in the game.
The game marked the latest round that two teams from the same school district have played each other in the playoffs in Texas high school football history.
"I think we both could have made it to state if we were in different brackets," Wilhite said. "It just [stinks] it had to end like this with two good teams playing each other."