Fifth-Ranked John Tyler Looks To Keep Rolling Friday Night Against Lindale
Lindale Eagles (1-3, 0-1)
No. 5 John Tyler Lions (3-1, 1-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler
- Lindale: Mike Meador
- John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
- Lindale: at Jacksonville, Oct. 10
- John Tyler: vs. Lufkin, Oct. 10
- WR/DB Kolton Pierce, Sr., 6-1, 183
- RB/LB De Jackson, Sr., 6-0, 195
- RB Aaron Jackson, Sr., 5-10, 170
- WR Garrett Sir Louis, Sr.
- QB Kam Neely, Jr., 5-9, 150
- ATH Tayton Williams, Jr., 5-7, 160
- LB Stephen Clemmons, Sr.
- OL Colton Moore, Sr.
- CB Isaac Warren, Sr., 6-1, 190 (17 tackles, INT, fumble recovery, defensive touchdown; committed to Purdue)
- DT Braylon Jones, Jr., 6-4, 295 (18 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 sacks, QB pressure)
- QB Geovari McCollister, Sr., 6-3, 205 (55 of 86, 901 yards, 8 TDs, 2 INTs; 36 carries, 151 yards, TD; committed to Central Arkansas)
- WR/DE Rodney Bendy, Sr., 6-5, 185 (9 catches, 125 yards, 2 TDs; 5 tackles, 2 sacks; committed to North Texas)
- DE Jassavia Reese, Sr., 6-4, 230 (14 tackles, 2 sacks, PBU)
- WR Nick Cain, Sr., 5-11, 175 (12 catches, 177 yards, 2 TDs; 2 carries, 10 yards, TD; committed to ULM)
- S Bryston Gipson, Jr., 6-0, 180 (15 tackles, 3 fumble recoveries, INT, PBU; 3 defensive touchdowns)
- RB Jeremy Wilson, Sr., 5-9, 170 (51 carries, 379 yards, 6 TDs; 9 catches, 74 yards, TD)
Just the facts
- This is just the third all-time meeting between Lindale and John Tyler, which has won both previous matchups in 2012 and 2013.
- Since joining the same classification prior to the 2012 season, Lindale's record is 6-19, while John Tyler is 23-7.
- Lindale is averaging 19.3 points per game, while allowing 28.8.
- The combined record of Lindale's four opponents -- Chapel Hill, Carthage, Van and Corsicana -- is 11-9.
- The enrollment figure Lindale turned into the UIL last fall was 1,122 -- 63 students above the cutoff between 5A and 4A.
- John Tyler is averaging 38.5 points and 392 yards per game -- 163.5 rushing and 228.5 passing.
- So, far the cumulative record of John Tyler's four opponents -- Plano, Longview, Tyler Lee and Whitehouse -- is 10-8.
- The enrollment figure John Tyler turned into the UIL last fall was 2,000.5, 878.5 more students than Lindale and 98.5 below the cutoff between 6A and 5A.
Key matchup: John Tyler passing attack vs. Lindale secondary. After throwing for only three touchdowns in his team's first three games, John Tyler senior quarterback Geovari McCollister exploded for five -- all in the first half -- in last week's convincing 52-17 rout of Whitehouse. Coming into the season, most expected the Lions' strength on offense to be at quarterback and receiver, and they showed why last Friday. McCollister completed 14 of 20 passes for 295 yards, and the five scoring tosses when to five different receivers. Spreading the ball around in the passing game has become a staple of the John Tyler offense early on in the season. Four Lions receivers have at least nine catches, but none of them have more than 13 receptions, which makes it hard for opposing defenses to zero in on one pass-catcher in particular. Junior Duntayviun Gross leads the team in receptions and yards, doing most of his damage from the slot. Senior Rodney Bendy and his 6-foo-5 frame is almost automatic as a red-zone option, and senior Nick Cain and sophomore Bryson Smith possess game-breaking speed. Even running back Jeremy Wilson, a converted wideout, makes his presence felt in the passing game. By operating out of the spread, John Tyler takes advantage of its depth at the skill positions by forcing opposing defenses to cover more ground and for longer stretches at a time. McCollister is also adept at extending plays outside the pocket, and his receivers do an excellent job of scrambling to get open when pass protection breaks down from within the pocket.
What Lindale must do in order to offset John Tyler's advantage with its receivers is apply pressure to McCollister at the line of scrimmage while disguising its coverages. The Eagles' defensive backs aren't likely to win the battle vs. JT's wideouts one-on-one, so it becomes doubly important for Lindale to play team defense. The corners must know on every snap where their help from safeties is coming from, because one false step could be the difference in a short 10-yard completion and a 50-yard bomb. There's little doubt that Lindale's secondary will probably have to take calculated risks when defending the Lions' receivers in order to keep the Eagles in the game. Right now, Lindale's offense is not in a position to win a shootout with a team like John Tyler. If the Eagles are to have any chance at all in this game, Lindale must plays its best game of the year on defense. Forcing turnovers would go a long way in keeping Friday's game competitive. Interceptions and fumbles have always been the great equalizer in the game of football, and if Lindale can win the turnover battle and gives its offense a shorter field to work with, the Eagles will at least be in position to keep the game close.
Don't be surprised if: John Tyler's focus level stays strong despite coming into the game Friday as overwhelming favorites. The Lions were big favorites three weeks ago against crosstown rival Tyler Lee, but were upset. JT coach Ricklan Holmes determined that the team learned that it just can't show up and expect to beat teams on talent alone. The Lions may use a similar approach as last week in regards to their offensive game plan. McCollister came out throwing against Whitehouse, which resulted in six of JT's eight first-half possessions yielding points. By the time third quarter began, the Lions had done all the damage they needed through the air. John Tyler turned to its running game, which has emerged as a force in the last couple of games, in the second half to finish off perhaps the Lions' most impressive win of the young season. It would not be shocking to see John Tyler use its passing attack to get rolling in the first half, and then go to work by handing the ball off to Wilson and company to bring home a win.