Shawnee’s ‘natural leader’ leads Braves to season-opening win

When Shawnee’s Michael Guyer called for the snap from center last year he wasn’t sure what he was seeing. He was supposed to be a running back, not a quarterback. But injuries to other quarterbacks mandated he learn the position on the fly.

On an early-season Monday he was told he was the quarterback for the near future.

“He didn’t really know a whole lot what he was looking at because he got thrust into that position,” Shawnee coach Rick Meeks said. “Now he knows what he’s looking at.”

Guyer, who had a big first half Friday night, kept the Braves focused enough to finish off Thurgood Marshall 31-6 on Saturday. The game was stopped at halftime Friday because of non-stop lightning with Shawnee leading 21-0.

“He’s a natural leader,” Meeks said. “Great kid, great personality, doesn’t have any enemies. The kids follow him.”

Guyer, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior, passed for 107 yards, rushed for 136 on 19 carries and scored first-half touchdowns on runs of 48 and 56 yards.

“Obviously I like running the ball, but I like throwing the ball too now that I’ve learned how and learned all the reads,” Guyer said.

Guyer had a good teacher this summer in former Braves quarterback Brad Jarzab, who led the Braves to the state final in 2011. Jarzab, who just started training at the police academy, is a volunteer assistant.

“Just be comfortable in the pocket and don’t worry about pressure,” Guyer said was some valuable advice he got from Jarzab.

Guyer is one piece of what was a balanced offense against Marshall. Jack McCrory carried it 14 times for 77 yards and two touchdowns, Todd King 11 for 65 yards and Josh Nelson five for 15.

“We have so many more options now,” Guyer said. “Jack the power runner, Todd, he’s got so much speed and Josh he’s a mix of both of them.”

Meeks said his team wasn’t quite as intense Saturday as it was Friday. But he was relieved to see the defense tackle well.

“We were wondering about a few kids now that the pads are on are they going to do it,” Meeks said. “And we’ve got some kids that are hitting.”

The Braves play at Tippecanoe on Thursday night in a game that will be televised on one of Fox 45’s digital channels. The game breaks with tradition also as a non-league game. Tipp moved the Greater Western Ohio Conference this year.