John Tyler Overcomes Sluggish Start to Defeat Ennis, 27-23
TYLER -- It wasn't the offensive masterpiece of Week 1, but John Tyler head coach Ricklan Holmes will take it.
Dominated for most of the first half, John Tyler scored right before halftime, and used that momentum to carry it to a hard-fought 27-23 victory over Ennis on Friday night at CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
John Tyler (2-0), which rolled up more than 650 yards of offense in its season-opening rout of Plano West last week, had the ball for just 15 plays in the first half and was outgained by almost 100 yards Friday.
“Any time you win, even if it’s an ugly win, it’s still a win," said John Tyler coach Ricklan Holmes. "It gives you something to work on as a coach. We know that we’ve got a lot of things we’ve got to continue to fix, and that’s what coaching is about and what playing the game is about.”
JT junior quarterback Devlen Woods made the most of his eight completions, passing for 147 yards and four touchdowns. Two of the scores went to senior receiver Jaivon Williams, while Ke'Andre Street and Roderick Hawkins had the others.
“I like his competitive nature, he’s going to figure out a way to keep us in a position to win the game," Holmes said of Woods. "But he also has to make sure he takes care of himself and makes better decisions with the ball in his hands. He took some hard hits tonight that I’m not real happy about.”
Cameron Grant, one week after going for 200 yards on the ground, ran for 88 yards on 16 carries to lead John Tyler's ground attack. Almost 60 of those yards came after halftime.
The John Tyler defense also made an adjustment at the break.
Ennis (0-2) running back Tycen Thompson, who finished with 250 yards from scrimmage (201 rushing) with two touchdowns, was limited to 41 rushing yards in the second half.
“That’s a credit to our kids just making the effort, the desire to make those adjustments that our defensive coaches put together," Holmes said. "They took it upon themselves to come out in the second half and make sure they didn’t look like they did the first half.”
John Tyler took its first lead of the night on its second possession of third quarter, which began after Isaiah Johnson recovered a fumble at the Ennis 35.
Woods' second-down pass was deflected in the air by Ennis defensive back Chris McDonald, and right into the hands of Street for a 30-yard touchdown. A bad exchange on the PAT snap left John Tyler in front, 20-14, with 8:01 remaining in the third.
Then, midway through the fourth, Michael Givens-Washington's 24-yard punt return set John Tyler up on the Ennis end of the field. Four plays later, Woods hooked up with Williams on a touchdown for the second time, this one from 13 yards.
Frankie Sanchez's PAT upped John Tyler's lead to 27-17 with 4:42 remaining.
Ennis drove 79 yards on the ensuing possession and scored on Kade Graff's 7-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Garcia with 20 seconds to play.
Street recovered Ennis' ensuing onside kick attempt to seal the JT win.
“We had to call the right plays to fit the situation," Holmes said of his team's second-half adjustments on offense. "We had a couple penalties that stalled that out, but we fought through adversity and we got it done.”
Ennis drew first blood late in the opening quarter. A pass interference penalty in the end zone set Ennis up with a first down at the JT 15-yard line. Thompson's 3-yard scoring run three plays later put JT in a 7-0 hole with 2:38 remaining in the first.
John Tyler responded by driving 64 yards on its next series. It tied the game on Woods' 20-yard touchdown pass to Hawkins with 44 seconds to play in the opening quarter.
Ennis' rushing attack went back to work after that, using a 33-yard gain by Thompson to get into John Tyler territory. Thompson finished off the 83-yard march with a 1-yard touchdown plunge, which regained the lead for Ennis at 14-7 with 8:51 remaining in the half.
JT went three-and-out on its next possession, and Ennis added to its lead with a 37-yard field goal by Trevor Oakley.
Ennis attempted a squib kick, but John Tyler's Tre Allison made the recovery at his own 42-yard line. A 42-yard completion from Woods to Street, followed by a 16-yard touchdown strike to Williams cut JT's deficit to 17-14 with 1:42 remaining in the half.
Both teams return to the field next Friday night. Ennis travels to Waxahachie (1-1), while John Tyler plays at Lufkin (1-1).
“These kids, they learn how to fight, they learn how to play hard," Holmes said. "But we still got some mistakes and some corrections to make and take care of moving forward into this third game against Lufkin.”
John Tyler 27, Ennis 23
At CHRISTUS TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler
Ennis 7 10 0 6 -- 23
John Tyler 7 7 6 7 -- 27
ENN--Tycen Thompson 3 run (Trevor Oakley kick), 2:38.
JT--Roderick Hawkins 20 pass from Devlen Woods (Frankie Sanchez kick), :44.
ENN--Thompson 1 run (Oakley kick), 8:51.
ENN--Oakley 37, 1:58.
JT--Jaivon Williams 16 pass from Woods (Sanchez kick), 1:42.
JT--Ke'Andre Street 30 pass from Woods (pass failed), 8:01.
JT--Williams 13 pass from Woods (Sanchez kick), 4:42.
ENN--Hunter Garcia 7 pass from Kade Graff (kick failed), :20.
First Downs 21 12
Total Yards 350 253
Rushes-Yards 50-271 29-106
Passing Yards 79 147
Comp.-Att.-Int. 9-20-0 8-15-0
Punts-Avg. 4-40.3 5-39.0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 10-96 11-110
RUSHING--Ennis, Tycen Thompson 26-201, James Harris 14-39, Trevor Oakley 1-15, Zion Dove 1-13, Kyre Holloway 2-12, Kade Graff 5-(-1), Hunter Garcia 1-(-8). John Tyler, Cameron Grant 16-88, Devlen Woods 8-15, Roderick Hawkins 2-9, Victor Campbell 2-7, Michael Givens-Washington 1-(-13).
PASSING--Ennis, Graff 9-20-0--79. John Tyler, Woods 8-15-0--147.
RECEIVING--Ennis, Thompson 6-49, Chris McDonald 1-12, Oakley 1-11, Garcia 1-7. John Tyler, Ke'Andre Street 2-72, Hawkins 2-29, Jaivon Williams 2-29, Givens-Washington 2-17.