Guard prepare for upcoming battles against tough district opponents

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With the observance of a week off from gridiron action last Friday, the Brook Hill Guard varsity football team will now embark on the journey through district play beginning Friday, Oct. 6.

The Guard had the week of Friday, Sept. 29 off due to a scheduling issue after former district opponent Tyler All Saints decided to withdraw from TAPPS in the sport of football and pursue an independent schedule.

Throughout the first four games of the season, the Guard has amassed a 2-2 record with wins over the Royal Imperial Collegiate Knights in the Tyler Ford/Brook Hill American Warrior Bowl Classic, 51-27, and most recently against the Katy St. John Paul XXIII Lions, 42-0.

The pair of losses for the Guard came in the team’s second and third contests of the season, falling short at home against the Mount Vernon Tigers, 21-6, and against the Houston St. John Mavericks, 43-21.

In the first four games, the Guard compiled a total of 495 passing yards, with senior quarterback Hood Taylor leading the way under center with 40 completions out of 61 attempts for 355 passing yards and one passing touchdown, while throwing two interceptions.

Also competing at the quarterback position for the Guard in the first four contests were senior quarterback Greyson Priestner, completing 11 of 16 attempts for 116 passing yards; sophomore quarterback Mason Kelley, completing a lone pass for 24 yards; and freshman quarterback Connor Carson, not completing a pass out of two attempts.

Out of the team’s 495 passing yards, junior wide receiver Garrett Davis has been the favorite receiver for the team, with 16 catches for 187 yards.

Other significant receivers for the Guard so far this season include senior running back Ian Hathaway, with 10 receptions for 108 yards; Priestner, with eight catches for 74 yards and one touchdown reception; senior tight end Campbell Fletcher, with six catches for 33 yards; senior running back Jeremiah McGowen, with two catches for 15 yards; junior wide receiver Tagen Parma, with two catches for 13 yards; sophomore tight end Jake Shaffer, with one catch for 10 yards; freshman wide receiver Carson Richards, with one catch for eight yards; and senior wide receiver John Dixon, with one catch for four yards.

Overall, the Guard has collected a total of 778 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns. The team’s rushing leader at the first break of the season is McGowen, running the ball on 62 total attempts for 328 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns, while only committing two fumbles.

Other significant rushers for the Guard in the first four games include senior running back Sam Nechi, with 27 rushes for 216 yards and three touchdowns; Taylor, with 31 rushes for 175 yards and four touchdowns; Priestner, with 10 rushes for 34 yards; Garrett Davis, with four rushes for 22 yards; sophomore running back Garrett Welling, with one rush for three yards; and freshman running back Colby Davis, with two rushes for one yard.

Defensively, the Guard’s defensive unit has been built on the strong efforts of Hathaway, leading the team with 51 tackles, nine tackles for loss, one quarterback sack, and one forced fumble.

Other key defensive contributors for the Guard include junior linebacker Carson Ezell, with 28 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and one forced fumble; senior defensive back Mac Rose, with 17 tackles, one tackle for loss, one quarterback sack, and three pass deflections; junior defensive lineman Josh Blalock, with 17 tackles, three tackles for loss, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery; Fletcher, with 16 tackles, six tackles for loss, one quarterback sack, one fumble recovery, and seven pass deflections; Nechi, with 15 tackles, one fumble recovery, and one pass deflection; sophomore defensive back Seth Moss, with 14 tackles, one tackle for loss, one interception, and two pass deflections; Dixon, with 13 tackles, three tackles for loss, one quarterback sack, and two pass deflections; senior defensive lineman Jake Ballenger, with 10 tackles, four tackles for loss, and one quarterback sack; senior defensive back Garrett Brown, with nine tackles, one fumble recovery, and four pass deflections; senior defensive lineman Colby White, with eight tackles, six tackles for loss, two quarterback sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery; Colby Davis, with six tackles, three tackles for loss, and one forced fumble; Priestner, with five tackles and one pass deflection; and freshman defensive lineman William Roberts, with five tackles and one tackle for loss.

In the first four games, the Guard’s defensive unit has allowed 22.8 points per game, including 86.5 rushing yards and 177.3 passing yards, for a total of 263.8 offensive yards.

For the team’s special teams unit, the Guard coaching staff has relied mostly on the leg of Fletcher, who currently holds a 75 percent average on point-after attempts, successfully kicking nine of 12 attempts. He is also 0-1 on field goal attempts.

Fletcher also leads the team in punts and punting yardage, with nine punts for 346 yards. Taylor also contributed two punts for 96 total yards.

The Guard now marches their way into district play, where they will fight against tough TAPPS opponents Carrollton Prince of Peace (Friday, Oct. 6), Tyler Bishop T.K. Gorman (Friday, Oct. 13 – Homecoming), Dallas Christian (Friday, Oct. 27), Cedar Hill Trinity Christian (Friday, Nov. 3), and Tyler Grace Community (Friday, Nov. 10).

During their district schedule, the Guard will take a second bye week off, the team’s originally scheduled off week during the 2017 season.

In an interview with the Bullard Banner News in the 2017 Fall Sports Preview, Brook Hill football head coach Scott Ryle said with many similarities amongst the teams in the district, he expects district play to be a battle for each team.

“If you look at all of the teams in our district, we’re all very close and similar to one another,” said Ryle. “It’s a tossup; anyone can win it, and anyone can lose it. We intend to work hard and take one game at a time. Every team in this district has a shot to win the District Championship; everyone can beat everyone. It’s going to be the team that wants it the most [that] ends up winning it.”

Ryle also stated that one of his expectations for the 2017 season is to bring playoff football back to Brook Hill’s Herrington Stadium.

“We have to do better than we did last year and take a step further down the road towards our goals,” said Ryle. We’ve been talking about working hard and being able to host a home playoff game this season which will take a lot of work for us to accomplish. We also have to stay healthy and make sure we’re doing all the right things to help this program continue in the right direction.”

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