[By Nathan Wright, Special to ETSN.fm]

TYLER -- The John Tyler Lions turned a close game at halftime into a blowout in the third quarter en route to a 51-22 victory against Corsicana in the District 16-4A opener for both teams Friday at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

The Lions scored 44 unanswered points after spotting Corsicana a 14-0 lead, including a 20-point outburst in the third quarter to improve to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in district play. Corsicana dropped to 1-4 and 0-1.

“They showed me today exactly what they know how to be,” John Tyler head coach Ricklan Holmes said. “They just have to do it all the time. That is what it boils down to.”

John Tyler quarterback Geovari McCollister threw for 237 yards on 12-of-14 passing and rushed 14 times for 101 yards to lead the Lions.

John Tyler's Bryston Gipson jumps on a loose ball as Isaac Warren (4) looks on during the Lions' 51-22 win over Corsicana on Friday night in Tyler. (Mike Davis, ETSN.fm)

With John Tyler leading 17-14 to begin the second half, McCollister got the Lions going in the third quarter with a 42-yard touchdown run on just the team’s third play from scrimmage.

That made it 24-14 in John Tyler’s favor and the Lions began to roll.

A 48-yard run by Reggie Gipson pushed John Tyler’s lead to 30-14 midway through the third quarter. Following a Corsicana fumble, McCollister found Nick Cain for a 28-yard touchdown to make it 37-14.

The Tigers turned the ball over again, this time on an interception and again the Lions capitalized when McCollister hooked up with Jeremy Wilson for a 37-yard touchdown to make it 44-14 just seconds into the fourth quarter.

From there, each team scored one more time to account for the final margin.

“It all starts with our quarterback,” Cain said. “He was going through his reads and finding receivers. We were just making plays.”

The second half for John Tyler was much different than the way the game started, particularly in the first quarter.

John Tyler head coach Ricklan Holmes looks on during his team's 51-22 win over Corsicana on Friday night in Tyler. (Mike Davis, ETSN.fm)

Corsicana jumped out to an early lead and the Tigers looked like they might dominate the game. The controlled the ball for most of the first quarter as they built a 14-0 lead.

The Tigers opened the game with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a 27-yard run by Devontay Bell to make it 7-0 less than four minutes into the game.

After holding the Lions to minus-10 yards on their first possession of the game, the Tigers put together a 12-play, 97-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard run by Donovan Fields to make it 14-0 with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

John Tyler finally got its offense going after that. The Lions converted a 32-yard field goal on their next possession to cut the Corsicana lead to 14-3 with 10:04 left in the second quarter.

“We just made our kids settle down,” Holmes said. “We told them, ‘Hey, its only the first half. Its only the first quarter. You have to stay calm and do the things you know how to do,’“

After forcing the Tigers to punt, the Lions found the end zone on a 6-yard run by Gipson that was set up by a 54-yard pass from McCollister to Jeremy Wilson. The score cut the Corsicana lead to 14-10.

Following another Corsicana punt, the Lions took their first lead of the game just before halftime when Wilson ran it in from one yard out to make it 17-14 with 1:20 left in the second half.

Corsicana was led by Fields, who rushed 35 times for 184 yards. He had 123 of those yards in the first half.

Both teams will continue district play next week. Corsicana hosts Nacogdoches while John Tyler welcomes Lindale.

John Tyler quarterback Geovari McColliser hands the ball to running back Reggie Gipson during their 51-22 win over Corsicana on Friday night in Tyler. (Mike Davis, ETSN.fm)