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John Tyler Looks to Build On Last Week’s Shutout When Lions Face Ex-District Foe Mesquite Horn

John Tyler's Greg Ward looks for an open receiver during the Lions' season-opening win over Lufkin on Aug. 31 in Tyler (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

NO. 4 JOHN TYLER LIONS (2-1)
AT
MESQUITE HORN JAGUARS (2-1)

7:30 p.m. Friday
E.H. Hanby Stadium, Mesquite

Coaches
John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
Mesquite Horn: Rodney Webb

Last week
John Tyler: def. Tyler Lee, 21-0
Mesquite Horn: lost to Duncanville, 36-33

Next week
John Tyler: vs. Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Mesquite Horn: at Tyler Lee

Playmakers
John Tyler

  • QB Greg Ward, Sr., 5-10, 160 (37 of 65, 653 yards, 7 TDs; 47 carries, 142 yards, 1 TD; committed to Houston)
  • WR/DB Darion Flowers, Sr., 6-0, 165 (10 catches, 190 yards, 1 TD; 5 tackles, 1 pass break-up)
  • WR Fred Ross, Sr., 6-1, 185 (10 catches, 224 yards, 5 TDs; committed to Oklahoma State)
  • RB Reggie Gipson, Jr., 5-9, 175 (22 carries, 105 yards; 4 catches, 119 yards, 1 TD)
  • DE Tyus Bowser, Sr., 6-3, 205 (12 tackles, 2 sacks)
  • DB DeQuante Woods, Sr., 5-11, 185 (11 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT for TD)
  • DB Elliot Hart, Sr., 5-11, 175 (18 tackles, 2 INTs)

Mesquite Horn

  • QB Destri White, Jr., 6-0, 170 (48 of 81, 494 yards, 7 TDs, 1 INT; 27 carries, 187 yards, 1 TD)
  • RB Treyvon Marsh, Sr., 5-7, 160 (66 carries, 300 yards, 6 TDs; 10 catches, 56 yards)
  • WR Brian O’Bannon, Sr., 5-8, 145 (9 catches, 158 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR Derrell Bullocks (4 catches, 73 yards, 2 TDs)
  • RB/WR Justyn Oliphant, Jr., 5-9, 170 (11 carries, 59 yards; 4 catches, 39 yards, 1 TD)
  • LB D.J. Green, Sr., 6-2, 215
  • LB Hunter Harwell, Sr., 6-2, 205

Just the facts

  • John Tyler and Mesquite Horn shared the same 5A district for six consecutive years from 2004-09 with the Lions holding a 4-2 all-time lead in the series. JT won the last two meetings by a combined score of 90-35.
  • The Lions shut out crosstown rival Tyler Lee last week for just their fourth shutout since 2002. Shutouts were the norm under former coach Allen Wilson, under whom current coach Ricklan Holmes played from the 1994-1997. In Wilson’s 11 years as head coach, John Tyler blanked the opposition 12 times. The last time JT had back-to-back shutouts was in 2000 in wins over Fort Worth Wyatt and Arlington Bowie.
  • John Tyler quarterback Greg Ward, who passed for 3,782 last season, was held to just 129 yards last week against Lee, the lowest output of career.
  • After sitting out the Lions’ loss to Lancaster two weeks ago, Reggie Gipson put together a solid performance in his return last Friday. He totaled 91 yards on 15 touches in the win over Lee.

John Tyler WR Justice Liggins. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)
John Tyler WR Fred Ross. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: John Tyler receivers vs. Mesquite Horn secondary. Even though it fell short, Tyler Lee may have provided a blueprint on how to take down the Lions last week. The Red Raiders played it safe on defense by not allowing JT any deep shots down the field. JT was forced, instead, to check it down to its running backs and receivers in the hopes of opening up the deep passing attack later in the game. However, Lee never budged from its prevent coverage and its defensive backs did an excellent job of tackling at the point of contact. As a result, JT’s talented receiver Fred Ross was

John Tyler DE Tyus Bowser. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)
John Tyler DT Chris Mobley. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

limited to just three catches for 34 yards. As a whole, the Lions receivers averaged only 11.73 yards per catch — a far cry from the 33-yard average JT enjoyed in its season-opening win over Lufkin.

Don’t be surprised if: John Tyler continues to rely on Reggie Gipson out of the backfield to keep the pressure off Ward and the passing game. In his two games this season (both JT wins), the junior running back has totaled 224 yards on just 26 touches. Defenses have been keying on Ward both as a runner and a passer and the numbers bare that out. The elusive quarterback rushed for more than 1,200 yards last season, but has been held just to 51 yards on 31 attempts the previous two weeks. JT’s 42 points scored over the last two weeks are its worst back-to-back scoring output since 2010 when the Lions scored 42 in their first two games of the season. A more balanced attack might snap the Lions’ mini-offensive funk.

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