GUTHRIE — When Guthrie quarterback Bryan Dutton was named the starter last season, most thought coach Rafe Watkins was playing for the future.
There was no way a freshman could lead a top-five Class 5A team to the promised land, right?
The expected early troubles came as the Bluejays dropped their first two games.
Four wins later, and this was it: Carl Albert vs. Guthrie. One of the fastest-growing rivalries in the state. A chance for Dutton and Guthrie to show 2009 would not be a lost season.
And then: 40-14 — Titans.
"It was humbling, very humbling to go through that, especially after how hard we worked to get back into things," linebacker Landry Chappell said.
The final score wasn't indicative of how much Carl Albert dominated; the Titans were up 33-0 at one point. Losses like that don't happen at Jelsma Stadium.
Most thought the Dutton experiment failed. But then something happened. Instead of folding, Guthrie was inspired.
"We used that as motivation for the rest of the year," Dutton said. "We just wanted to get back out there as soon as possible."
It worked. The Bluejays went from a 4-4 team to a club that started clicking on all the right cylinders and reached the state semifinals.