Familiar Foes John Tyler + Texas High Clash In First Round Of Playoffs
CLASS 5A DIVISION I
Region II Bi-District Playoff
Texas High Tigers (7-3)
No. 9 John Tyler Lions (8-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Lobo Stadium, Longview
- Texas High: Barry Norton
- John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
- Winner faces Mansfield Summit-Dallas Spruce winner, Class 5A Division I area playoff.
- RB Javon Thomas, Sr., 6-2, 210 (135 carries, 659 yards, 7 TDs; 23 catches, 277 yards, 3 TDs; committed to Tulsa)
- WR Jarion Anderson, Sr., 5-11, 170 (40 catches, 633 yards, 9 TDs; 13 carries, 126 yards)
- DL William Brown, Sr., 6-4, 255 (56 tackles, fumble recovery)
- LB K.J. Reid, Sr., 6-1, 200 (103 tackles, 2 INTs)
- QB Cade Pearson, Soph. (117 of 219, 1,462 yards, 14 TDs, 6 INTs; 41 carries, 25 yards, 4 TDs)
- DB Dee Jones, Sr., 6-0, 175 (46 tackles, 7 INTs, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 defensive TDs)
- DB Jacorien Walker, Jr., 5-8, 165 (33 tackles, 2 INTs)
- WR/DB Jaylen Rhone, Jr., 5-9, 160 (13 catches, 129 yards, TD; 44 tackles, INT)
- CB Isaac Warren, Sr., 6-1, 190 (38 tackles, INT, fumble recovery, defensive TD; committed to Purdue)
- DT Braylon Jones, Jr., 6-4, 295 (63 tackles, 8 for loss, 4 sacks, 2 QB pressures)
- WR Rodney Bendy, Sr., 6-5, 200 (22 catches, 365 yards, 5 TDs; committed to North Texas)
- WR Nick Cain, Sr., 5-11, 175 (37 catches, 459 yards, 4 TDs; 4 carries, 16 yards, 2 TDs; committed to ULM)
- QB Geovari McCollister, Sr., 6-3, 205 (147 of 224, 2,029 yards, 16 TDs, 3 INTs; 95 carries, 322 yards, 2 TDs; committed to Central Arkansas)
- RB Jeremy Wilson, Sr., 5-9, 170 (138 carries, 1,081 yards, 19 TDs; 25 catches, 204 yards, TD)
- WR Duntayviun Gross, Jr., 5-8, 160 (35 catches, 472 yards, 2 TDs)
- S Bryston Gipson, Jr., 6-0, 180 (46 tackles, INT, PBU, 6 fumbles recoveries, blocked kick, 3 defensive TDs)
Just the facts
- Texas High and John Tyler have met 40 times since 1958. John Tyler leads the all-time series, 20-19-1.
- This is the second meeting between Texas High and John Tyler in the playoffs. John Tyler won both in 2010 and 2011.
- Texas High is averaging 28.4 points and 305.2 yards per game -- 154.5 rushing and 150.7 passing.
- Under head coach Barry Norton, Texas High is 15-13 in playoff games. However, the Tigers are just 2-7 since 2007.
- Texas High's three losses came to Whitehouse, Arkansas High and Longview by a combined 27 points.
- John Tyler is averaging 42.2 points and 384.6 yards per game -- 166.9 rushing and 217.7 passing.
- Under head coach Ricklan Holmes, John Tyler is 5-2 in playoff games. The Lions are 15-5 in the postseason since 2009.
- John Tyler's two losses came to Tyler Lee and Ennis by a combined nine points.
Key matchup: Texas High rushing attack vs. John Tyler defensive front. Devising a scheme to penetrate John Tyler's defense this season has been much easier said than done for the Lions' opponents. Even though the JT defense has played well for most of the year, the Lions have taken it to a whole other level in the last three weeks. Texas High, which has been up and down offensively this season, must find a way to find success. And the Tigers' strength on that side of the ball is the ground game. Senior running back Javon Thomas, a Tulsa commit, is a bruiser that can wear down opposing defenses. But in order for him to be effective late, Texas High must be able to run the ball with success throughout. The Tigers only average 28 points and 305 yards per game, and those numbers likely won't get it done against a John Tyler team that's averaging well over 40 points per game. Thomas has been limited to 4.9 yards per carry, and while he's been solid in short-yardage situations, Texas High is most likely going to need some explosive plays from their talented senior running back.
As previously stated, John Tyler's defense is on quite the roll. Over the last three weeks, the Lions have allowed just 24 total points in wins over Corsicana, Jacksonville and Nacogdoches. In last week's 44-14 rout of Nacogdoches, JT held the Dragons to 139 total yards of offense and less than 30 yards of that came on the ground. Nacogdoches senior running back Coronado Tolbert came into that game averaging nearly 170 yards a game, but was limited to just 21 yards on 15 carries a week ago. John Tyler had similar success against Lufkin's 1,000-yard back Steven Sowell, who managed just 31 yards on 19 attempts in their meeting back in October. For the season, John Tyler's defense has been about as opportunistic as could be, racking up 11 non-offensive touchdowns, most of those of the defensive variety. There are no apparent weaknesses to the Lions' defense. John Tyler is stout up front with end Jassavia Reese and tackles Braylon Jones and Pierre Leonard. The linebacking corps is one of the best in the area, anchored by senior Jaylon Reese. And the secondary features Purdue commit Isaac Warren and Deandre Williams at corner, and the lethal combo of Jordan Owens (4 INTs) and Bryston Gipson (6 fumble recoveries, 3 defensive TDs) at safety.
Don't be surprised if: It takes John Tyler's offense a while to get into gear. Texas High features one of the best defenses the Lions have faced this season. For the year, the Tigers are allowing a respectable 21 points per game, but they've surrendered just 34 total points in the last three weeks. John Tyler has gotten off to slow offensive starts all season, and against a Texas High defense that's playing its best football of the season, it wouldn't be shocking to see John Tyler struggle offensively in the early going. But like they've done all year, expect the Lions to pick up steam as the game progresses. John Tyler simply has too many offensive weapons to keep them off the scoreboard for very long. Quarterback Geovari McCollister has back-to-back 2,000-yard passing seasons under his belt, running back Jeremy Wilson is the school's first 1,000-yard running back since Kendall Hunter last decade, and the receiving corps goes five deep with North Texas commit Rodney Bendy, ULM pledge Nick Cain, and promising underclassmen Duntayviun Gross, Bryson Smith and Damion Miller.