John Tyler Rolls New Orleans Warren Easton + Concludes Non-District Play Undefeated
SHREVEPORT, La. -- People know about Bryson Smith and Damion Miller. People came out to Shreveport, La., to see them Saturday.
They delivered in John Tyler's easy 41-6 win against New Orleans Warren Easton as part of the Battle on the Border showcase at the 63,000-seat Independence Stadium, particularly Smith with three touchdown passes and 270 total yards.
But the victory belongs to the Lions' defense. It created 22 plays for negative yardage, including 10 sacks, and fans got to see cornerbacks Kieran Freeman and Javonta Mosley as well as defensive linemen DeKalen Goodson and Howard Hawkins thrive in a big stadium environment.
Freeman pulled in a backbreaking interception and recorded a team-best four pass breakups. Mosley recorded three more pass breakups.
Goodson, a Mississippi State target at end as a junior, made four sacks and four tackles for loss toward 12 total tackles before forcing a fumble John Tyler was able to recover. Hawkins, at tackle, was right behind Goodson with three sacks and four tackles for loss.
"Overall, the defense played outstanding today," head coach Ricklan Holmes said just before the 96-mile trip back to Tyler. "I think they came out here and got put in some bad situations but still stood tall. That's a testament to the way the guys are practicing and the way they're playing."
Easton (0-2) averaged 2.9 yards per play through its 82 snaps. No. 1 running back Larry Barabino scored one touchdown to end a John Tyler (3-0) shutout that carried into the fourth quarter toward 67 hard yards on 20 carries through the 48-minute game.
The Lions defense held Easton scoreless for 10 drives and never allowed the opposition beyond the John Tyler 31-yard line in the stretch.
That allowed Smith to help the winning side out to a 34-0 lead. In addition to three touchdowns through the air and 194 total passing yards, he extended several drives with his legs en route to a net of 75 rushing yards after one sack.
Running back Justin Samples got the Lions on the board 47 seconds into the game by running in a one-yard toss. The drive started at Easton's 12-yard line after junior linebacker Tre Allison -- another early Mississippi State target -- intercepted a deflected pass on the game's first play from scrimmage, but the extra point kick failed for a 6-0 lead.
John Tyler forced a turnover on downs and a punt to end Easton's second and third possessions. Smith found Miller on John Tyler's third possession for a 74-yard scoring pass with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.
Thanks to the defense, that held up as the winning score.
The Lions' defensive unit then forced a three-and-out on the ensuing drive and Smith capped a seven-play, 37-yard drive with an 8-yard pass to Devlen Woods.
After a missed 44-yard field goal, John Tyler built a 27-0 halftime lead when Samples ran in his second and final score from four yards. It was set up by Freeman's interception, which killed an Easton drive at the Lions' 42-yard line.
Perhaps content, Smith and the offense played softly with Easton in the third quarter yet helped hold the lead at 27-0 by burning seven minutes off the clock.
Michael Givens-Washington caught an 18-yard pass from Smith two plays into the fourth quarter for a 34-0 lead.
Barabino got Easton on the board the next drive, but Lions running back Cameron Grant answered with 3:13 to play.
"The first half, I think we did a great job coming out," Holmes said. "We ran the ball well. We passed the ball real well. I thought we protected it better in the first half than we did in the second half. It's just things we have to continue to harp on, you know, the small things that are killing our drives."
John Tyler committed 16 penalties for 126 yards. By far, the biggest gripe the officials had with the Lions was offensive holding and clipping along the line.
However, the team was forced to play by Louisiana's National Federation rules whereas Texas more or less follows the NCAA rulebook.
"That threw us off a whole bunch," Holmes said. "There's a lot of stuff we do offensively that we couldn't do today because of the Federation rules versus the UIL rules. Then a couple of penalties we got on ourselves that normally wouldn't be called under UIL rules. That's just something you've got to adjust to. Knowing how it is now, when we come back next year, it'll be a little different."
Saturday's game marked the end of the non-district schedule for Holmes and company.
They will begin District 11-6A at home against Rockwall on Friday.
Rockwall went to the Class 6A Division II, Region II championship round a season ago, but it will limp into Tyler with an 0-3 record versus strong opponents in Highland Park, Rowlett and Southlake Carroll.
"Physical and fast," Holmes said. "They know what they're doing up front on the offensive line and their defenders play solid and don't miss a lot of tackles. They had a really good game last night against Southlake Carroll and they're going to play us just as hard as they played them."
John Tyler 41, New Orleans Warren Easton 6
At Independence Stadium, Shreveport
Easton 0 0 0 6 -- 6
John Tyler 13 14 0 7 -- 41
JT--Justin Samples 1 run (kick failed), 11:13
JT--Damion Miller 74 pass from Bryson Smith (Frankie Sanchez kick), :42
JT--Delven Woods 8 pass from Smith (Sanchez kick), 9:07
JT--Samples 4 run (Sanchez kick), 3:52
JT--Michael Givens-Washington 18 pass from Smith (Sanchez kick), 11:43
EAS--Larry Barabino 3 run (pass failed), 9:16
JT--Cameron Grant 8 run (Sanchez kick), 3:13
First Downs 17 12
Total Yards 238 335
Rushes-Yards 45-53 33-141
Passing Yards 185 194
Comp.-Att.-Int. 16-37-2 11-27-0
Punts-Avg. 5-35.2 5-37.4
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 1-0
Penalties-Yards 10-87 16-126
RUSHING--Easton, Larry Barabino 20-67, Ashaad Clayton 3-7, Dewitt Johnson 1-3, Yo'heinz Tyler 1-1, Lance Legendre 11-(-1), Rasaan Dennis 1-(-2), Joseph Edwards 8-(-22). John Tyler, Bryson Smith 10-75, Justin Samples 9-31, Cameron Grant 7-30, Kiante Stoker 6-8, Michael Givens-Washington 1-(-3).
PASSING--Easton, Edwards 10-23-0--147, Legendre 6-14-2--38. John Tyler, Smith 11-25-0--194, Jaivon Williams 0-2-0--0.
RECEIVING--Easton, Tyler 3-55, Sheldon Jones 4-47, Kiaeem Green 5-43, Legendre 1-25, Kenntrel Boyd 1-10, Barabino 1-4, Clayton 1-1. John Tyler, Damion Miller 1-74, Delven Woods 6-60, Williams 3-33, Michael Givens-Washington 2-22.