Friday figures to be a big day for Brennan High School football coach Stephen Basore.
After all, it's not every day that a coach gets the chance to lead his team into a state final on his birthday.
Basore, who is turning 43, will have that rare opportunity when Brennan (15-0) plays Denton Guyer (13-2) for the Class 4A Division I state championship at 8 p.m. Friday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
I really haven't told anybody that because I don't want anything to take away from the game, Basore said Monday, referring to his birthday falling on the day of the state final.
Basore, who has been the Bears' head coach since Brennan opened in 2010, quickly changed the conversation to Guyer, which won last year's 4A Division I state crown.
To hear Basore tell it, the Wildcats are a mirror image of the Bears.
They're very similar to us, Basore said. They've got a real good quarterback (Jerrod Heard). Defensively, they're very aggressive and pretty fast like us. They're very multiple and versatile on offense, and we're the same way. I told our kids that it's kind of like us in spring ball going against each other. That's probably the best way I can describe it.
I told the kids that's what it's going to be like. It'll be like looking in a mirror and seeing ourselves. They're very athletic and have a lot of team speed and I feel we're the same way. There are just a lot of similarities between the two teams.
Guyer lost to Steele in the 5A Division II title game in 2010, and dropped to 4A in the University Interscholastic League's biennial realignment two years later.
Guyer playing in third state final in four seasons
The Wildcats, who finished 14-2 last year, beat Dallas Highland Park 22-16 in the state semifinals Saturday. The Scots led 10-0 at halftime, but Guyer scored twice to go ahead 14-10.
After Highland Park went on top 16-14 with 2:18 remaining, the Wildcats responded with a drive that ended when Heard scored on a 1-yard run with 55 seconds left. Heard, who has committed to Texas, rushed for 153 yards and two TDs.
Basore had high praise for Guyer, which will play in its third championship game in four seasons.
They're a quality team all the way around, Basore said. We know we've got to be prepared.
Brennan, which is 28-1 in the past two seasons, beat Houston Stratford 31-7 in the state semifinals Friday night at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
Defensive end Derick Roberson, who also has committed to Texas, had four sacks and quarterback Da'Shawn Key rushed for 194 yards and three TDs to spark the Bears.
Roberson, who has 20 sacks this season, anchors a Brennan defense that has allowed just 51 points, including six TDs, and recorded nine shutouts.
Basore credited defensive coordinator Jacob Salinas, who has been on his staff since Brennan opened, for much of the defensive unit's success.
Jacob has done a great job, Basore said.
Brennan lost in state quarterfinals last year
While the Bears' defense has been in the spotlight for most of the season, their offense has been among the most prolific in the state. Led by Key, Brennan has scored 816 points.
It's really exciting to be where we are, Basore said. I've always wanted to win a state championship. We have an opportunity. I know that doesn't come around very often. I know some great coaches who have not been there, so I feel very fortunate. We just want to seize the opportunity when we have it.
While Guyer could have an edge because it's played at AT&T Stadium, Basore expressed confidence the Bears won't be awed when they take the field Friday night.
If they want to play the game over here on our practice field, we could play it there, Basore said. It just so happens that a lot of people want to see this game and we're going to a very exciting venue, but at the end of the day, it's just a football field with a roof on top.
Brennan was 13-0 last year before it lost to Cedar Park 32-7 in the 4A Division II state quarterfinals.
I think we were kind of riding the 13-0 high last year, Basore said. We were not very experienced and when it got down to the nitty-gritty in the quarterfinals, we ran into a team with a lot of experience and a lot of seniors. It was an eye opener for us.
I think a lot of the kids thought, hey, if we want to do something special next year, we've got to play at that high level. Although we weren't at that level, we thought we were pretty close. We thought that if we hunkered down and got a little stronger and a little bigger, we had a real good chance to make a really good run this year.
They were right.
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