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John Tyler Plays Denton Guyer for Class 4A Division I State Championship Berth

John Tyler quarterback Greg Ward changes direction and heads upfield during the Lions’ 45-28 third-round win vs. Frisco in Allen. (Jaime R. Carrero,

Class 4A Division I
State Semifinal

John Tyler Lions (13-1)
Denton Guyer Wildcats (12-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday
MISD Multi-Purpose Stadium, Midlothian

JT: Ricklan Holmes
Guyer: John Walsh

Road To The Final Four

John Tyler

  • Bi-district: def. Waxahachie, 77-20
  • Area: def. Wylie, 38-10
  • Regional semifinal: def. Frisco, 45-28
  • Region II final: def. Frisco Centennial, 38-24


Denton Guyer

  • Bi-district: def. Saginaw, 42-14
  • Area: def. Aledo, 42-30
  • Regional semifinal: def. Amarillo, 38-30
  • Region I final: def. Birdville, 52-42


Next week: Winner plays Georgetown (14-0) or Leander Rouse (10-4) in the 4A Division I state champioship, noon Saturday (Dec. 22), Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.



John Tyler

  • QB Greg Ward, Sr., 5-10, 165 (232 of 365, 3,651 yards, 39 TDs, 2 INTs; 158 carries, 752 yards, 12 TDs; committed to Houston)
  • WR Fred Ross, Sr., 6-1, 185 (76 catches, 1,462 yards, 21 TDs; 27 carries, 146 yards, 3 TDs; committed to Oklahoma State)
  • TE/DE Tyus Bowser, Sr., 6-3, 220 (1 TD catch; 83 tackles, 24 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries)
  • WR Darion Flowers, Sr., 6-0, 180 (58 catches, 984 yards, 8 TDs; 40 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • RB/DB DeQuante Woods, Sr., 5-11, 185 (94 carries, 612 yards, 13 TDs; 28 catches, 276 yards, 1 TD; 47 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT)
  • WR Justice Liggins, Sr., 6-1, 190 (47 catches, 568 yards, 6 TDs; 2 rush TDs)
  • LB Richard Gipson, Sr., 6-2, 220 (111 tackles, 1 INT, 4 forced fumbles)
  • DB Terry Ausborne, Jr., 5-11, 165 (86 tackles, 6 INTs, 1 fumble recovery)
  • OL/DT Chris Mobley, Sr., 6-1, 235 (86 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)
  • LB DeAndre Miller, Sr., 5-11, 230 (70 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 INT, 3 forced fumbles)
  • RB Reggie Gipson, Jr., 5-9, 165 (38 carries, 272 yards, 4 TDs; 13 catches, 260 yards, 2 TDs)
  • Elliott Hart, Sr., 5-11, 175 (68 tackles, 4 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
  • DB Traven Johnson, Sr., 6-1, 190 (49 tackles, 3 INTs, 1 fumble recovery)
  • DE Kavante Jefferson, Sr., 6-2, 195 (42 tackles, 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery)
  • K Porfirio Benitez, Sr., 5-6, 145 (84 points, 6 FGs, 66 PATs)


Denton Guyer

  • QB Jerrod Heard, Jr., 6-2, 180 (141 of 227, 1,829 yards, 15 TDs, 6 INTs; 192 carries, 1,677 yards, 26 TDs; committed to Texas)
  • RB Richard Whitaker (141 carries, 1,076 yards, 17 TDs; 12 catches, 215 yards, 1 TD)
  • RB D.J. Breedlove, Jr. (123 carries, 936 yards, 13 TDs; 20 catches, 150 yards)
  • WR Ellis Jefferson, Sr., 6-4, 190 (43 catches, 666 yards, 8 TDs; committed to Arizona State)
  • WR/DB Josh Harris, Sr., 5-9, 165 (26 catches, 333 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR/DB Preston Thrailkil, Sr., 5-9, 165 (20 catches, 293 yards, 2 TDs)
  • OL Patrick Morris, Sr., 6-3, 288 (committed to TCU)
  • OL Bryan Barrett, Jr., 6-2, 290
  • DB John Schilleci, Sr., 6-0, 190 (committed to North Texas)
  • QB David Haynes (15 of 22, 147 yards, 1 INT; 38 carries, 400 yards, 5 TDs)
  • RB Nate Maki (19 carries, 149 yards, 5 TDs; 7 catches, 89 yards, 1 TD)
  • K Brad Grems (86 points, 5 FGs, 71 PATs)


Just the facts

  • John Tyler averages 41.6 points per game and allows 16.8.
  • Denton Guyer averages 45.1 points per game and allows 21.5.
  • John Tyler averages 429.7 total yards per game (265.3 passing, 164.4 rushing).
  • Guyer averages 463.6 total yards per game (141.3 passing, 322.3 rushing).
  • John Tyler is playing in its eighth state semfinal since 1930, when Tyler High School won a state championship.
  • John Tyler is 5-2 in its first seven state semifinal appearances and has won state championships in 1930, 1973, and 1994.
  • John Tyler fell 51-20 in the state semifinal round last season to Hewitt Midway.
  • Guyer is playing in its fourth state semifinal in the program’s seventh year in existence.
  • Guyer lost semifinals to Longview in consecutive seasons in 2008-09, then beat Longview in 2010 before falling 24-21 to Cibolo Steele in the 5A Division II state championship.



John Tyler DT Chris Mobley. (Christopher Vinn,

Key matchup: John Tyler’s defensive front vs. Denton Guyer’s running game. Denton Guyer gets almost 70 percent of its offense from its ground game, which is in stark contrast to John Tyler’s. While the Lions’ play selection favors the run about 55 percent to 45 percent (425 runs, 355 pass attempts), JT’s yardage is a totally different story with almost 62 percent coming in the air. Don’t expect that from Guyer, which could have three 1,000-yard rushers on the season by the time Friday night’s game ends. Junior QB Jerrod Heard is committed to Texas and is the Wildcats’ go-to guy, accounting for more than 3,500 yards of total offense and 41 touchdowns. He has 1,000-yard rusher Richard Whitaker and 900-yard rusher D.J. Breedlove to complement his game, a duo that has combined for 30 rushing touchdowns. A hefty offensive line, something that Guyer is becoming known for, leads the way. Two names to remember are senior Patrick Morris, who is TCU-bound, and junior Bryan Barrett, who each tip the scales around 290 pounds. John Tyler’s defensive line isn’t the largest, but the Lions are very athletic up front thanks to players such as senior end Tyus Bowser, who has run away the East Texas lead in sacks with two dozen. John Tyler may not need him to be the sack machine he’s been during the last month and a half, but will likely need him to play contain on the edge when Guyer throws to keep the athletic Heard from getting loose with his feet. JT also needs a big night from Bowser and Chris Mobley and the rest of the Lions’ front vs. the run.



John Tyler WR Justice Liggins. (Christopher Vinn,

Don’t be surprised if: The team that gets its defense off the field after third down more times wins. Obviously, not allowing Guyer’s running game to run roughshod is a high priority for John Tyler, but if the Lions can get a few stops here and there, chances look good for Greg Ward, Fred Ross, and the JT offense to put some points on the board. John Tyler has held its first four playoff opponents to 20.5 points per game, but Guyer hasn’t had the same defensive success, surrendering 29.0 per game, including 34.0 during the Wildcats’ last three games. That’s not a good trend when you’re about to play a team with a QB in Ward who has 4,400 yards of total offense and 51 total touchdowns, not to mention the loaded receiving corps of Ross, Darion Flowers, Justice Liggins, and others. If John Tyler prevents Guyer from controlling the tempo, the Lions have a good shot to reach their sixth state championship in program history. But if Heard and Guyer can pound the rock with consistent success, JT could be in trouble.

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