John Tyler Looks to Bounce Back From Season-Opening Loss When Lions Host Lancaster
Lancaster Tigers (0-1)
John Tyler Lions (0-1)
7:30 p.m. Saturday
Rose Stadium, Tyler
- Lancaster: Chris Gilbert
- John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
- Lancaster: lost to Dallas South Oak Cliff, 38-27
- John Tyler: lost to Lufkin, 52-28
- Lancaster: vs. Dallas Kimball, Sept. 13
- John Tyler: vs. Tyler Lee, Sept. 13
- QB Chris Thomas, Sr., 5-9, 170 (23-of-38, 306 yards, TD, 2 INT; 14 carries, 24 yards, TD vs. South Oak Cliff)
- WR Tim Taylor, Sr., 5-9, 170 (10 catches, 120 yards vs. South Oak Cliff)
- WR Nick Alexander, Sr., 6-3, 195 (committed to Arizona State; 6 catches, 106 yards, TD vs. South Oak Cliff)
- DB Vontre McQuinnie, Sr., 6-2, 215 (committed to Oklahoma)
- DE Ashton Bryant, Sr., 6-1, 215
- DT Dominique Hearne, Jr., 6-4, 295
- DB Marquise Williams, Jr., 5-9, 170
- WR Mark Mims, Soph., 5-11, 160
- QB Geovari McCollister, Jr., 6-2, 180 (17-of-28, 354 yards, 2 TD, INT vs. Lufkin)
- RB Reggie Gipson, Soph., Jr., 5-10, 170 (3 catches, 147 yards, TD vs. Lufkin)
- WR Nick Cain, Jr., 5-9, 165 (5 catches, 72 yards, TD vs. Lufkin)
- WR Jeremy Wilson, Jr., 5-8, 160 (1 carry, 86 yards, TD; 3 catches, 66 yards vs. Lufkin)
- DB Isaac Warren, Jr., 6-1, 180 (INT vs. Lufkin)
- DL Jassavia Reese, Jr., 6-5, 215 (3 tackles vs. Lufkin)
- DL Braylon Jones, Soph., 6-3, 250 (5 tackles, 3 for loss vs. Lufkin)
- DB Terry Ausborne, Sr., 5-11, 170 (8 tackles vs. Lufkin)
Just the facts
- Lancaster and John Tyler each began the season ranked in the Associated Press Class 4A top 10 poll — Lancaster was No. 5, John Tyler No. 8 — but both fell out after suffering season-opening losses last week.
- The Tigers, defending 4A D-II state runners-up, were hurt by two key transfers over the offseason — ATH Nick Harvey (Fort Bend ISD) and LB Derrick Leonard (DeSoto).
- In addition to their two FBS commits, junior DT Dominique Hearne has been offered by Oklahoma.
- Lancaster’s two 2012 losses were against Cedar Park (17-7) in the state final and Red Oak (17-0) during District 15-4A play.
- John Tyler’s two losses from a season ago were by a total of nine points — 26-21 to Lancaster and 57-53 to eventual 4A D-I state champion Denton Guyer in the semifinals.
- The average distance of the Lions’ four touchdowns last week against Lufkin was 53.3 yards, which includes a 4-yard score.
- The 21 points JT scored in its game with Lancaster last season was tied for the second-fewest all season. The Lions defeated Tyler Lee 21-0 a week after the Lancaster game.
- John Tyler’s loss to Lancaster knocked JT out of the No. 1 spot in the AP’s 4A rankings.
Key matchup: John Tyler offensive line vs. Lancaster defensive line. After allowing 16 sacks in last week’s loss to Lufkin, protecting McCollister figures to be priority No. 1 for John Tyler on Saturday night. When the JT quarterback had time to operate, he was able to find success through the air, but too many negative plays ended up costing the Lions in a big way. Twenty-one plays in all went for negative yardage, wasting what was otherwise a pretty solid varsity debut for McCollister. Three of JT’s four touchdowns last week covered at least 43 yards, but the big plays may not always be there, so sustained drives could be important for John Tyler this week. A solid running game would help the cause. With the exception of Wilson’s 86-yard scoring run, the JT running game was a non-factor for most of the night against Lufkin. If the offensive line can create enough space for Wilson and Gipson to get into a rhythm, that may slow down whatever pass rush Lancaster creates.
The Lancaster defensive line features a couple of exceptional talents. Hearne is a big-time 2015 FBS recruit, who already has an offer from Oklahoma, while Bryant has good speed off the edge that can give opposing quarterbacks headaches. The defensive line, led by Texas A&M freshman DE Raeshon Hall, was a big factor in Lancaster’s win over John Tyler last season. The Tigers will likely need a similar effort this week against a capable quarterback that’s equipped with several speedy options in the receiving corps.
Don’t be surprised if: John Tyler gets much better play from its offensive line and McCollister is able to build upon the positive things he accomplished last week. The Lions remember last season’s loss, which came down to the final seconds, and should have plenty of motivation. Neither team wants to begin the year 0-2 after each enjoyed playoff runs deep into December in 2012, so expect John Tyler and Lancaster to come focused on improving from last week.