Fred Ross, John Tyler’s Big-Play Offense Shine in Lions’ Scrimmage at Longview
LONGVIEW -- It's a new year, but defenses still haven't caught up to John Tyler senior wide receiver Fred Ross.
The Oklahoma State commit touched the ball only five times during the Lions' scrimmage against Longview on Friday night at Lobo Stadium, but he found the end zone four times.
JT and Longview each scored twice during the controlled portion, but the Lions took advantage of big plays and a handful of Lobo turnovers to take a 24-20 victory in the 30-play, live portion of the scrimmage.
"Overall I thought we did a decent job today," John Tyler first-year coach Ricklan Holmes said. "I think during the two-a-days we've learned a lot, we've grown a lot."
Ross caught two passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns in the controlled portion, which consisted of 25 plays for each team's No. 1's. The scrimmage concluded with two 15-minute, live periods when Ross had a 5-yard touchdown run and had two catches for 64 yards and another score.
"He's an explosive guy; he's going to Oklahoma State for a reason," Holmes said.
JT senior quarterback Greg Ward, who is committed to Houston, completed 17 of 29 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns on the night. He added 75 yards on 10 carries.
Holmes said the Lions' offense was more efficient in the live portion of the scrimmage.
"That comes from the way we practice," he said. "By practicing that way and getting in game mode in practice, the mind frame changes a little bit. That was vey impressive to me."
Longview had its moments Friday night, but committed four turnovers, one of which turned into a touchdown for John Tyler when defensive back Terry Ausborne returned a fumble 27 yards to put JT up 14-0 during live action.
"Ball security is one," Lobos coach John King said when asked what needed to improve before Longview's season opener Sept. 1 against Coppell at SMU's Ford Stadium. "I know we laid it on the ground four times and gave up a touchdown on one of them."
Lobo quarterback Bivins Caraway, a ULM pledge, completed 16 of 26 attempts for 256 yards and three touchdowns on the evening. Senior receiver Justinn Spady was his favorite target with six receptions for 128 yards and all three TDs.
"He did what we thought he could do," King said of Spady. "He's a tremendous route runner and does a lot of things for our football team. We ask him to play multiple positions -- holding for extra points and be on the punt team, just a little bit of everything -- he's a good football player."
Holmes, whose Lions open the season at home against Lufkin on Aug. 31, did express some concern about his depth.
"The thing that worries me is my 2's and them staying consistent," he said. "They had sparks where they looked like they could be starters, but then they had mental mistakes."
King said if his defense can shore up some communication and alignment issues and limit the turnovers, the Lobos will be fine.
"It's a good test, it's a heckuva dress rehearsal," the Longview coach said. "(JT's) physical and they've got good athletes and good speed, they're well-coached and it was a good scrimmage for us. We needed that."