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Defending Class 4A Semifinalists John Tyler + Corsicana Get Things Going in District 16-4A

John Tyler’s Justice Liggins runs away from the Lufkin defense during their game Aug. 31 in Tyler. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

No. 3 John Tyler Lions (4-1, 0-0)
vs.
Corsicana Tigers (1-4, 0-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Tiger Stadium, Corsicana

Coaches
John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
Corsicana: Phil Castles

Last week
John Tyler: idle
Corsicana: idle

Next week
John Tyler: at Lindale
Corsicana: at Nacogdoches

Playmakers
John Tyler

  • QB Greg Ward, Sr., 5-10, 160 (59 of 98, 1,000 yards, 12 TDs, 0 INTs; 66 carries, 153 yards, 2 TDs; committed to Houston
  • WR/DB Darion Flowers, Sr., 6-0, 165 (21 catches, 348 yards, 2 TDs; 15 tackles, 2 pass break-ups)
  • WR Fred Ross, Sr., 6-1, 185 (18 catches, 354 yards, 6 TDs; committed to Oklahoma State)
  • ATH DeQuante Woods, Sr., 5-11, 185 (24 carries, 89 yards; 28 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT)
  • ATH Tyus Bowser, Sr., 6-3, 205 (23 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 defensive TD)
  • DB Elliot Hart, Sr., 5-11, 175 (23 tackles, 2 INTs; 1 fumble recovery)
  • RB Reggie Gipson, Jr., 5-9, 175 (25 carries, 115 yards; 5 catches, 131 yards, 1 TD)

Corsicana

  • QB Zach Rash, Sr., 6-0, 170 (17 of 41, 237 yards)
  • RB Donovan Fields, Jr., 5-10, 175 (34 carries, 261 yards, 2 TDs)
  • RB Tygarius Sheffield, Soph., 5-7, 150 (33 carries, 169 yards)
  • ATH Bobby Wallace, Sr., 5-10, 175 (38 carries, 221 yards; 9 catches, 122 yards, 1 TD)
  • RB Ronnie Deavearaux, Jr., 5-8, 165 (14 carries, 150 yards)
  • QB Devontay Bell, Jr., 5-11, 175 (10 of 34, 123 yards, 1 TD; 51 carries, 354 yards, 3 TDs; has not played since Sept. 14)
  • OL Jeffery Jordan, Sr., 6-4, 355

Just the facts

  • John Tyler and Corsicana are two of the top 10 winningest programs in state history. John Tyler’s 651 wins are good enough for 10th all time, while Corsicana is sixth on the list with 671 victories.
  • The Lions are averaging 26.4 points per game in 2012, compared to the 43 they averaged during last season’s run to the 4A state semifinals.
  • John Tyler and Corsicana have not met since 1993. This is the 23rd all-time meeting between the two with the Lions holding a 17-5 advantage in the series. The Tigers last beat JT in 1979.
  • John Tyler is hoping to shrug off its worst offensive performance of the season. In the Lions’ 20-10 victory over Mexico’s Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon on Sept. 29, JT accumulated just five first downs and 178 total yards.
  • Corsicana has dropped four of its first five games with losses coming to Denton Ryan (40-28), Red Oak (34-31), Waxahachie (36-12) and Sulphur Springs (42-21). The Tigers’ lone win came on Sept. 14 against Forney, 27-17.
  • The Tigers have used two different quarterbacks this season. Devontay Bell, who began the season as the starter, has not played since Corsicana’s win over Forney.
John Tyler WR Fred Ross. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup:¬†John Tyler receivers vs. Corsicana secondary. With JT’s recent struggles on offense, expect the Lions to go to the air early and often in the hopes of getting Fred Ross, Darion Flowers, Justice Liggins and Co. involved. Ross scored five TDs in JT’s first two games, but has just one TD catch since. Flowers has picked up the slack in the receiving corps, but Liggins has just 10 catches for 92 yards on the season. Greg Ward has yet to throw an interception in 98 pass attempts this season despite a completion percentage of

John Tyler WR/DB Darion Flowers. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

60 percent, well off his 72-percent clip from a year ago. The Tigers are young in the secondary, and the JT offense would like to take advantage of that by taking some shots deep down the field.

Don’t be surprised if:¬†John Tyler’s offense is clicking on all cylinders on Friday night. It’s been somewhat puzzling as to why the Lions’ explosive unit has taken a significant dip in production in 2012, but the coaching staff and players have had a couple of weeks to get everything back in order before the District 16-4A race begins. Corsicana is athletic at some spots on defense, but it’s hard to imagine the Tigers having enough on that side of the ball to stop an experienced, explosive and deep JT offense.

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