COLLEGE STATION -- John Tyler was the final East Texas team to qualify for the Division I state 7-on-7 tournament, but the squad certainly has made its presence known at Veterans Park and Athletic Complex.

Lions quarterback Geovari McCollister completed 28 of 36 passes for 287 yards and five touchdowns in his squad's 35-27 opening win against Somerset. The victory, paired with a 53-18 drubbing of Houston Bellaire, helped the team advance out of pool play into Saturday's championship bracket setup.

"I was just taking what the defense gave me," the quarterback said. "I gave it to my playmakers and they did it today."

John Tyler receiver Duntayviun Gross heads toward the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown reception. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)

John Tyler's lone loss Friday was a 48-41 decision against Arlington Bowie.

The Lions will square off with Frisco Heritage at 9 a.m. in their first playoff game in the tournament. They could meet Whitehouse in the quarterfinals if both teams win two games to start out the day.

It was a good day for McCollister all around. Prior to the Division I tournament getting underway, the signal caller met Robert Griffin III in Adidas' equipment tent while John Tyler picked out its sponsored gear.

"I got to tell him that I look up to him and he's one of my favorite quarterbacks," McCollister said. "I got to take a picture with him and everything like that. It was a cool moment before everything started."

Moments got even better.

McCollister guided the team to an opening touchdown against Somerset with four straight completions up the 45-yard field.

The Central Arkansas verbal commitment put together 15 completions in 18 attempts on the way to a 21-13 halftime lead against Somerset. He had three touchdowns to one interception.

"This is a real special time for me," McCollister said. "I'm going to be a senior and you always want that to be your best year. This has been a great experience for me with all these top players from across the state. It's been good to see all these players up close."

John Tyler got a nice hold on the Somerset game with Bryston Gipson's interception just one play after McCollister guided the Lions to a 14-7 lead.

Receiver and University of North Texas commitment Rodney Bendy capped off a 45-yard drive bout a minute later with a two-yard touchdown reception and a 21-7 lead.

"We have a lot of talented people out here," Gipson said. "A lot of fast, quick guys who can cut on a dime. Defensively, we need to lock down some more. We're getting there though."

Somerset quarterback Koy Detmer found a rhythm late in the first half.

The Bulldogs clawed back for a 21-13 halftime deficit at the end of the first frame and scored on a 30-yard throw on the opening drive of the second half.

McCollister answered right back with yet another 45-yard drive.

Cornerback Isaac Warren, a Sam Houston State commitment, intercepted Detmer in the end zone on Somerset's next drive. McCollister found Duntayviun Gross a few plays later for a 10-yard touchdown pass.

John Tyler led 35-19 with about two minutes to play. Somerset got a late score and added a two-point conversion from the 10-yard line to close the game to its ultimate gap.

"This was my first year to come down here," Gipson said. "I didn't get to come last year because I messed my ankle up. This has been my first experience down here and, right now, I'm loving it."

 

Rough Day for Tyler Lee

The Red Raiders finished Friday with a 1-2 record in Pool J and will play in Saturday's consolation bracket.

Tyler Lee opened the day on the right note with a 34-28 win against Fort Worth South Hills. That win ensured the team would go home with some pride after going winless in pool play last year at the state tournament and bowing out in the first round of the consolation bracket.

Unfortunately for the Red Raiders, Katy Seven Lakes and Lucas Lovejoy got the best of them for 45-30 and 46-42 wins. Those two teams advanced to the championship level.

Lovejoy could potentially face John Tyler or Whitehouse in the semifinal round while Katy Seven Lakes sits on the other side of the bracket.

Tyler Lee will open consolation play against Brownsville's Veterans Memorial High School at 8 a.m.

"We're getting better as a team," quarterback Zach Hall said. "We're coming together and getting it down. We're getting our timing down on offense and our defensive backs are getting the coverage down. This is great practice for the fall."

Tyler Lee quarterback Zach Hall will lead the Red Raiders in consolation play Saturday at the state 7-on-7 tournament in College Station. (Christopher R. Vinn, ETSN.fm)