Mike Harrison, defensive coach of Wilde Lake's state championship football team, reflected on a 13-0 season dominated by his defense.
The defense shut out eight opponents, gave up 3.9 points a game, scored more touchdowns (nine) than it surrendered (eight), and produced talent at every position. Like the state titlist teams last year and in 1985, defense was Wilde Lake's backbone.
And for a moment, Harrison tried to imagine this year's defense without 6-foot-2, 213-pound senior middle linebacker Brent Guyton, theHoward County Sun's Player of the Year.
"We still would have beentough, but if he would have gotten hurt, I don't know what I would have done," Harrison said. "It would have been a headache for me."
Instead, Guyton stayed healthy for the whole season and gave opposingoffenses headaches. Operating behind a strong defensive front, Guyton averaged eight solo tackles and three assists during the regular season. He tackled opposing runners 11 times for a loss and had three quarterback sacks, four fumble recoveries and four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
Week after week, Guyton and the defense set the tone. His best game may have been a 17-tackle effort in a 42-0 defeat of Centennial, a game he left early in the third quarter. Since the Wildecats beat their regular-season opponents by an average of four touchdowns, Guyton was usually out of the game by the fourth period.
"I don't think he goes more than two plays without making a tackle. That's how zoned in he is to what's going on," Harrison said.
Many Division I colleges are zoned in to Guyton. He will visit Penn State, Syracuse and University of California at Los Angeles, each of which has offered him a full scholarship. He also is considering offers from Notre Dame, Clemson, Michigan State, Virginia and Georgia Tech.