Greg Ward + Tyus Bowser Ignite No. 3 John Tyler’s 59-7 Blowout of Jacksonville [VIDEO]
TYLER -- John Tyler coach Ricklan Holmes said as a team you want to peak around playoff time.
Consider the No. 3 Lions peaking, as they throttled the Jacksonville Indians, 59-7, in District 16-4A play at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium on Friday night.
Senior signal-caller Greg Ward accounted to five touchdowns, and the Lions defense held Jacksonville to 222 total yards.
Ward, a University of Houston commit, finished 12 of 20 for 209 yards passing and three touchdowns. He added 42 yards rushing and two scores. Fred Ross, an Oklahoma State pledge, accounted for 112 total yards and two touchdowns, and defensive end Tyus Bowser had three forced fumbles, two sacks and four QB pressures to lead the defense.
"It builds up to what we've been planning all season," Holmes said. "To continuously get better on offense, to continuously get better on defense, and to get better on special teams. It's what we've been working on since day one."
JT (7-1, 3-0) wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, when Ross took a handoff 4 yards for a score and a 7-0 lead just 20 seconds into the game.
It would be Ward's turn on the second drive as he completed a seven-play march with a 9-yard touchdown run with 8:58 remaining in the first quarter. A 24-yard scramble on third down was the key play of the drive.
With 3:59 left in the first, JT went to the air as Ward connected with Justice Liggins on a 22-yard touchdown and a 21-0 lead at the end of the quarter. A Ross 40-yard punt return set up the Lions with good field position.
Early in the second quarter, after a long drive for Jacksonville was thwarted, JT junior tailback Reggie Gipson took the first carry 74 yards to paydirt and a 28-0 advantage with 9:09 left in the first half. Gipson finished with 116 total yards on only four touches.
After exchanging punts and a JT fumble, the Lions went on a nine-play drive, capped by a Ward 6-yard touchdown jaunt and a 35-0 margin with 4:21 remaining in the half.
On the very next possession, Indians quarterback Carter McCown was smothered by a blitzing Bowser, causing a fumble and subsequently knocking McCown out of the remainder of the contest.
"It was more of a precaution to get the x-rays, it's not going to be anything career-ending," Jacksonville coach Chris Taber said. "Any time you have a neck injury, you're going to make sure they look at it. He's OK."
Bowser was in the backfield all night.
"(Bowser) is a game-changer when he wants to be. He turned it up tonight," Holmes said. "I've stayed on Tyus all season, letting him know he needs to be a better player and he's stepping up to that challenge."
Three plays later, Ward hit wideout Darion Flowers on a 47-yard scoring strike and a 42-0 lead with 52 seconds remaining before intermission.
"His play let's you know you have a leader, an excellent player on the other side of the ball that knows how to run the offense," Holmes said of Ward. "He knows how to do everything that you want him to do."
On John Tyler's first possession of the second half, the Lions marched 52 yards on seven plays, highlighted by Ward connecting with Ross for a 12-yard pitch-and-catch touchdown and a 49-0 lead.
Jacksonville (3-5, 1-2) got on the scoreboard with 5:13 left in the contest, when back-up quarterback Dadrian Franklin hit wide receiver Kedarrius Buckingham on an 8-yard touchdown pass, bringing the margin to 52-7. Franklin finished with 74 total yards.
"This is one of those ballgames you have to forget and move on," Taber said. "The next two games are the ones we have to win to get into the playoffs. I told the kids if we beat Lindale next week, we're in."
JT capped off the scoring with a Rodrick Smith 4-yard plunge with 3:57 remaining, cementing a 59-7 victory.
"It was pretty exciting beating a good Jacksonville team on Homecoming," Bowser said. "You just do the best you can, because I'm a senior and this is my last Homecoming. You just leave it all on the field."
Jacksonville plays host to Lindale and John Tyler travels to Nacogdoches next Friday as District 16-4A play continues.