In-Game Adjustments Fueling John Tyler’s Stretch Run
The expectations for the John Tyler Lions are so high, that whenever they fall behind, it seems everyone is quick to hit the panic button.
Everyone except the Lions themselves.
“Things don’t always start the way you want to," John Tyler coach Ricklan Holmes said. "You practice hard against the different formations you seen on film, but nothing really prepares you until you see it on the field.”
That was the case last week when Frisco built a 21-10 lead in the first half. In a day and age defined by social media, Twitter was getting a jump-start on JT's playoff obituary even though the Lions had rallied from a 24-point deficit in the regular-season finale against Whitehouse.
John Tyler regrouped, outscoring Frisco 35-7 the rest of the way to finish what ended up looking like another dominant JT victory.
“We just simplified what we were doing," Holmes said. "When you prepare for a particular offense by going up against the scout-team offense in practice, it’s not really possible to emulate what you’re really going to see. Once you see them on the field, the kids understand what they’ve been practicing and can adjust to the speed of the game.”
Holmes would prefer not having to play from behind, but can see the benefit of conquering adverse situations.
“It lets you know the my kids are willing to fight the whole way through," he said. "It lets you know our kids are capable of making the proper second-half adjustments that helps you win football games. We’ve had to come from behind in a couple games, and that shows you the guys have a lot of heart and character.”
High expectations or not, Holmes said the preparation always remains the same.
“It started in the spring when I took over back in May," he said. "I had to make the kids understand not only physically but mentally what it takes to prepare for a state run. It’s a lot of practicing, a lot of focus and a lot of dedication and the kids have been up to it.”
John Tyler (12-1) faces Friso Centennial (12-1) at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Class 4A Division I Region II final from Ennis' Lion Memorial Stadium.
Holmes and his coaching staff have been breaking down film on Centennial all week, but said that only goes so far in preparation.
“It’s unfair to say they’re the best team we’ve faced because we haven’t played them yet," he said. "Right now, the best team we’ve played in the playoffs is Frisco. I’ll say this about them, they’re very athletic and I think it could be a real good game.”