Fifth-Ranked John Tyler Travels To No. 10 Ennis In Showdown For First Place In 16-5A
No. 5 John Tyler Lions (5-1, 3-0)
No. 10 Ennis Lions (4-2, 3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Lion Memorial Stadium, Ennis
- John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
- Ennis: Jack Alvarez
- John Tyler: vs. Corsicana, Oct. 24
- Ennis: at Lufkin, Oct. 24
- CB Isaac Warren, Sr., 6-1, 190 (24 tackles, INT, fumble recovery; committed to Purdue)
- DT Braylon Jones, Jr., 6-4, 295 (31 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 QB pressures)
- WR Rodney Bendy, Sr., 6-5, 200 (15 catches, 227 yards, 3 TDs; committed to North Texas)
- QB Geovari McCollister, Sr., 6-3, 205 (95 of 138, 1,342 yards, 9 TDs, 2 INTs; 66 carries, 210 yards, 2 TDs; committed to Central Arkansas)
- RB Jeremy Wilson, Sr., 5-9, 170 (75 carries, 639 yards, 10 TDs; 19 catches, 153 yards, TD
- DE Jassavia Reese, Sr., 6-5, 230 (22 tackles, 6 for loss, 4 sacks, PBU)
- LB Jaylon Reese, Sr., 6-1, 225 (45 tackles, INT, defensive touchdown)
- WR Nick Cain, Sr., 5-11, 175 (23 catches, 294 yards, 3 TDs; 2 carries, 10 yards, 2 TDs; committed to ULM)
- DT Pierre Leonard, Jr., 5-10, 235 (34 tackles, 7 for loss, 4 sacks, 6 QB pressures, forced fumble)
- S Bryston Gipson, Jr., 6-0, 180 (27 tackles, INT, 4 fumble recoveries, PBU, punt blocked; 3 defensive touchdowns)
- DE James Lockhart, Sr., 6-4, 253 (committed to Texas A&M)
- WR Donta Thompson, Sr., 6-5, 205 (28 catches, 509 yards, 6 TDs)
- QB Devin Smith, Sr., 5-10, 155 (59 of 103, 1,059 yards, 9 TDs, INT; 57 carries, 242 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Taylor Thompson, Sr., 5-9, 160 (84 carries, 489 yards, 8 TDs; 14 catches, 293 yards, 3 TDs)
- RB Tre Elliott, Jr., 5-11, 205 (73 carries, 430 yards, 5 TDs)
- WR Desten Johnson, Sr., 5-9, 160 (9 catches, 209 yards, TD; 2 carries, 27 yards, TD
- LB Ke'idre Edwards, Sr., 5-10, 190
- S Marqus Monroe, Jr.
- RB Dee Wilson, Jr. (30 carries, 164 yards, TD)
Just the facts
- The is the first-ever meeting between John Tyler and Ennis.
- John Tyler and Ennis have combined for seven state championships.
- Through six games, John Tyler is averaging 42.7 points and 388 yards per game -- 162.2 rushing and 225.8 passing.
- John Tyler has blocked three punts in the last two weeks.
- Under coach Ricklan Holmes, John Tyler is 12-1 in district games.
- The combined record of John Tyler's six previous opponents is 20-17.
- Through six games, Ennis is averaging 36.5 points and 420 yards per game -- 229.8 rushing and 190.2 passing)
- Ennis has outscored its three district foes by an average margin of 21.3 points.
- Under coach Jack Alvarez, Ennis has compiled a record of 29-13.
- The combined record of Ennis' six previous opponents is 22-14.
Key matchup: Ennis rushing attack vs. John Tyler defensive front. Even though Ennis has proven to be quite the balanced offense through the season's first six games, when the Lions are at their best, they're imposing their will on opposing defenses with a versatile and powerful running game. The running back duo of Taylor Thompson and Tre Elliott provide unique styles. Thompson is more of the slashing type, capable of turning one cut into a long touchdown run, while Elliott relies more on his big frame to bruise through opposing defenses. No matter which back gets the carries, Ennis often uses the success it has with running the ball to open up a passing game that's become pretty explosive in the first half of the season. Quarterback Devin Smith is averaging a little less than 200 passing yards per game, while receiver Donta Thompson has six of Ennis' nine touchdown receptions, averaging more than 18 yards per catch. While rushing yards account for 54.7 percent of Ennis' total yardage, 71 percent of Ennis' plays are rushing attempts. After throwing for 320 yards in its district-opening win at Jacksonville, Ennis is averaging 303.5 rushing yards per game over the last two weeks.
John Tyler's rushing defense has been one of the area's best all season long. JT is allowing opponents just 177.5 rushing yards per game, and that number is even better over the last three weeks during district play. League foes are putting up just 126 rushing yards per game, while averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. Just last week against Lufkin, John Tyler limited Panthers star running back Steven Sowell, who had gone over 100 yards in all five previous games, to just 31 yards on 19 attempts. When JT's run defense is playing at that level, the Lions are a difficult team to beat. Because when teams are forced to pass on John Tyler, it usually does not end well. John Tyler's pass rush has accounted for 19 sacks on the season -- an average of more than three per game. The Lions have also forced 17 turnovers, eight interceptions and nine fumble recoveries. In addition, John Tyler has amassed seven defensive touchdowns on the year. If John Tyler's defense can force Ennis into the air, the Lions' secondary featuring cornerbacks Isaac Warren and Deandre Williams and safeties Jordan Owens and Bryston Gipson could have a field day.
Don't be surprised if: Points are hard to come by Friday night. Each team possesses a great defense, capable of frustrating the other's offense. John Tyler's been stingy and opportunistic, while Ennis' defense can be characterized as physical and disciplined. Catching Ennis defenders out of position could be a tricky proposition for John Tyler's offense this Friday, so a solid defensive effort from JT will be required once again if the visiting Lions are to come out with a win. The X-factor in this game could be John Tyler senior running back Jeremy Wilson, who is rapidly becoming one of East Texas' most consistent backs. After a slow first couple of games, the JT speedster has had a monster last four games, going for 529 yards and nine touchdowns. Wilson's effect on the passing game cannot be understated, either. While he's yet to have an elite game as a pass-catcher this season, he came up with a season-best 10 receptions for 79 yards a week ago against Lufkin. There aren't too many players in all of East Texas with the type of game-breaking speed Wilson has, so a couple big plays from him on Friday night could make all the difference in the world.