John Tyler has had a bevy of standout defensive players come through their program over the last couple of decades.

From the legendary David Warren to current John Tyler coach Ricklan Holmes, the walls at the Cujo fieldhouse are covered up by pictures of the some of the school’s all-time greats.

But it’d be hard to find a former Lions defender who had the kind of individual season senior defensive end Tyus Bowser enjoyed in 2012. The numbers are staggering: 24 sacks, 83 tackles and five forced fumbles.

With stats like that, it’s easy to understand why Bowser is the 2012 East Texas Super Team’s Defensive Player of the Year.

While Bowser is appreciative of the honor, he said he took more satisfaction out of the journey he took with his teammates.

“It came out pretty well,” he said. “We didn’t have what we wanted, which was a state championship, but we had a great season. We became more mature and we came a long way.”

Bowser was a force on the edge the entire year, but it wasn’t until the end of the season that he became a nightmare for opposing left tackles and quarterbacks.

In the regular-season finale against undefeated Whitehouse, the 6-3, 225-pound speed rusher registered five sacks and forced a fourth-quarter fumble that led to the Lions’ game-winning score in their 45-38, come-from-behind win for the district title.

“It stands out as one of the best games in my high school career,” Bowser said. “That was Senior Night for us, that was our last home game. It was a district championship game playing against a great team like Whitehouse. Coming from a 24-0 deficit in the first half, I just had to go out there and play as hard as I could. We wanted that district championship bad.”

And, you can't forget about his most stellar performance -- seven sacks against Wylie in the area round of the playoffs.

For Bowser, who is committed to play both football and basketball at Oklahoma State, the approach was simple.

“Being a senior and knowing it’s your last year, you’ve got to go out there and play as hard as you can because you’ll never get that game back,” he said. “Since I’ve been on varsity, I’ve been able to become a better player and just have mentality that nobody can stop me on the field, especially any tackle in East Texas or the state of Texas. I just came out there with the right mentality: to go out there and dominate.”