Fred Ross + John Tyler Use Big Second Half to Beat Frisco Centennial, Advance to Semifinals
ENNIS -- All week much of the talk around John Tyler and Frisco Centennial's Class 4A Division I Region II championship game centered around one matchup: JT receiver Fred Ross against Centennial cornerback Ranthony Texada.
The two will see each other again next year in the Big 12, but on Friday night, it was all Ross.
John Tyler's star wide receiver caught 13 passes -- three for touchdowns -- and the Lions erupted in the second half to take a 38-24 win against Frisco Centennial at Lion Memorial Stadium and now sit one win away from the state championship.
"My mindset coming in was just to win. I knew he was a good corner, but I wasn't really looking at the one-on-one matchup," Ross said. "The only thing I was worried about was that scoreboard."
Ross, an Oklahoma State commit, dominated the Centennial secondary all game, finishing with 172 yards receiving. His two second-half touchdowns secured the win for John Tyler (13-1), which faces either Denton Guyer or Birdville in the state semifinals.
Guyer and Birdville play at 2 p.m. Saturday in Southlake. If Guyer wins, it will face JT at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Dec. 14) at Midlothian ISD Athletic Complex. If Birdville wins, the two will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Waco ISD Stadium.
Ross and JT quarterback Greg Ward showcased the power of their partnership against Texada and Frisco Centennial (12-2), which despite forcing Ward into only his second interception of the season, otherwise didn't have an answer for JT's explosiveness.
Ward threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns on 25 of 33 passing, and also ran 10 times for 81 yards, including a dazzling 40-yard touchdown run to give JT a 28-17 lead late in the third quarter.
Ross scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Ward for the game's only score in the first quarter, and again on a 46-yard pass from Ward in the third in which he was left wide open in the middle of the field on a post pattern.
"That just means that one athlete is better than the other athlete. I mean, that's really what it boils down to," JT coach Ricklan Holmes said of the Ross-Texada comparison. "(Texada) is a great corner, he knows how to fight and has pretty good technique. It just came to a size-advantage thing. Fred is just bigger than him."
Ross's third score came 51 seconds into the fourth quarter, but this one came from Division I defensive end Tyus Bowser, who filled in for Ward for a series after he limped off the field with an injury.
Bowser's only completion was to Ross on a perfectly thrown 13-yard touchdown pass in the back corner of the end zone to put JT ahead 35-24. It was Ross's 21st touchdown catch of the season.
"It was amazing, man. He came in, he stayed composed, he made a perfect throw and the crowd went crazy," Ross said of Bowser, who also recorded his 24th sack of the season on defense. "It was beautiful."
JT's defense intercepted Centennial quarterback Lamar Jordan three times in the second half -- twice on consecutive drives by Richard Gipson and Traven Johnson -- to negate any comeback attempts by the Titans.
Jordan was 16 of 39 passing for 293 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. His second touchdown pass, a 32-yarder to Jacob Atchley, made the score 28-24 John Tyler with 1:59 left in the third quarter.
The teams alternated touchdowns in the first half. Ross scored on an 18-yard pass from Ward and Reggie Gipson ran for a 14-yard touchdown for JT, while Kamari Burnett scored on a 3-yard touchdown run and Jordan connected with DJ Jackson on a 12-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 14-14 going into the half.
Centennial's only lead of the game lasted just 1:10 after Austin Shoemake connected on a 42-yard field goal with 10:20 left in the third quarter. JT immediately responded to the field goal on Ward's 46-yard touchdown to Ross.
No. 2 John Tyler 45, Frisco 28
Class 4A Division I Region II Final
At Lion Memorial Stadium, Ennis
John Tyler 7 7 14 10 – 38
Frisco Centennial 0 14 10 0 — 24
JT -- Fred Ross 18 pass from Greg Ward (Porfirio Benitez kick), 5:23
FC -- Kamari Burnett 3 run (Austin Shoemake kick), 9:55
JT -- Reggie Gipson 14 run (Benitez kick), 7:18
FC -- DJ Jackson 12 pass from Lamar Jordan (Shoemake kick), 0:49
FC -- Shoemake 42 FG, 10:20
JT -- Ross 46 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 9:10
JT -- Ward 40 run (Benitez kick), 4:09
FC -- Jacob Atchley 32 pass from Jordan (Shoemake kick), 1:59
JT -- Ross 13 pass from Tyus Bowser (Benitez kick), 11:09
JT -- Benitez 29 FG, 0:36
First Downs 26 21
Rushes-Yards 27-152 32-131
Passing Yards 320 297
Comp.-Att.-Int. 26-36-1 17-40-3
Punts-Avg. 3-47.0 2-29.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 7-60 6-60
RUSHING–John Tyler, Greg Ward 10-81, DeQuante Woods 10-48, Reggie Gipson 3-23, Fred Ross 1-2, Tyus Bowser 3-(-2). Frisco Centennial, Kamari Burnett 9-67, Chris Johnson 12-40, Lamar Jordan 8-15, Kelly Cordova 3-9.
PASSING–John Tyler, Ward 25-33-1--307, Bowser 1-3-0--13. Frisco Centennial, Jordan 16-39-3--293, Cordova 1-1-0--4.
RECEIVING–John Tyler, Ross 13-172, Darion Flowers 5-83, Justice Liggins 4-35, Woods 2-24, Gipson 2-6. Frisco Centennial, Stoney Hawkins 5-84, Cody Bagwell 3-65, Jacob Atchley 3-56, Cordova 2-41, DJ Jackson 2-35, Chris Johnson 1-12, Burnett 1-4.