John Tyler Shuts Down Nacogdoches in Second Half for 37-14 Victory
TYLER -- After yielding 136 first-half rushing yards, John Tyler's defense owned the final two quarters.
John Tyler held Nacogdoches to 33 total yards and zero points in the second half and pulled away for a 37-14 victory at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium to keep the Lions unbeaten in District 16-4A play.
The win sets up a district championship showdown for John Tyler (7-2, 4-0) and No. 3 Whitehouse (9-0, 4-0) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Wildcat Stadium. Despite the loss, Nacogdoches (6-3, 2-2), which hosts Lindale on Friday, has clinched the district's Division I No. 2 playoff seed. John Tyler will be the district's D-I No. 1 seed.
John Tyler limited Nacogdoches to 28 yards on 11 second-half rushes. The Lions also made Nacogdoches' passing game a non-factor, holding the Dragons to 20 passing yards, only five of which came in the second half. Linemen Darius Amie and Joshua Williams each had a sack for a defense that held Nacogdoches to 184 total yards.
"Just playing better. Playing better and getting things done. Being a little more disciplined in what we do defensively, and stopping a good offense," said JT head coach Ricklan Holmes of his team's second-half defense, which got strong performances from its front seven, including sophomore tackle Braylon Jones and senior linebacker Andrew Clark.
Senior tackle Travaughn Moore joined Jones and Clark on a big fourth-down stop near midfield late in the third quarter that led to a 28-yard Jose Perez field goal 90 seconds into the fourth for a 30-14 advantage.
John Tyler's passing game got better and better as the game progressed. Junior quarterback Geovari McCollister completed 12 of his first 15 second-half throws -- all three incompletions were drops -- to finish 22-for-31 for 258 yards and a touchdown, a 26-yard catch-and-run from junior Rodney Bendy on the game's final play for the 23-point victory margin. McCollister ran 16 times for 41 yards and a touchdown.
"He's starting to become that quarterback that we need at John Tyler High School," Holmes said. "We always knew he could do it. He just had to believe in himself and start making those plays."
John Tyler junior Jeremy Wilson scored on a 64-yard, fourth-and-1 touchdown run that gave JT a 20-7 second-quarter lead. Wilson finished with 88 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries, plus three catches for 27 yards. Senior Dyran McDuff's one-yard first-quarter touchdown gave the Lions a 13-7 advantage.
Sophomore Duntavion Gross led John Tyler with nine catches for 85 yards. Junior Nick Cain gained a game-high 108 yards on seven catches and ran twice for 22 yards before he and Nacogdoches senior Jason Johnson were ejected following offsetting fourth-quarter personal foul penalties.
Nacogdoches junior Coronado Tolbert gained 97 of his game-high 112 rushing yards in the first half, when he got all but five of his 21 carries. Junior quarterback Bryce Matthews ran 13 times for 44 yards and a first-quarter touchdown, but the Lions held him to 4-for-12 passing for 15 yards.
Nacogdoches' lone lead came when Matthews scored from a yard for a 7-6 edge with 3:45 remaining in the first quarter. Dragon senior defensive end Jacorey Whitaker notched his 10th sack of the year and also recovered a fumble forced by junior Colton Pool.
John Tyler 37, Nacogdoches 14
TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler
Nacogdoches -- 7 7 0 0 -- 14
John Tyler -- 13 7 7 10 -- 37
JT -- Geovari McCollister 4 run (kick blocked) -- 8:27
NAC -- Bryce Matthews 1 run (Rudy Fuentes kick) -- 3:45
JT -- Dyran McDuff 1 run (Jose Perez kick) -- 0:49
JT -- Jeremy Wilson 64 run (Perez kick) -- 8:50
NAC -- Coronado Tolbert 4 run (Fuentes kick) -- 4:00
JT -- Wilson 2 run (Perez kick) -- 7:27
JT -- Perez 28 field goal -- 10:30
JT -- Rodney Bendy 26 pass from McCollister (Perez kick) -- 0:00
First downs 8 20
Total yards 184 455
Rushes-Yards 37-164 36-169
Pass yards 20 286
Comp.-Att.-Int. 5-14-0 23-32-0
Penalties-Yards 7-80 5-35
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 0-0
Punts-Avg. 6-34.7 1-44.0
RUSHING -- Nacogdoches: Coronado Tolbert 21-112, Bryce Matthews 13-44, James Oglesbee 2-6, Reggie Roberts 1-2. John Tyler: Jeremy Wilson 9-88, Geovari McCollister 16-41, .
PASSING -- Nacogdoches: Bryce Matthews 4-12-0 15, James Oglesbee 1-2-0 5. John Tyler: Geovari McCollister 22-31-0 258, Nick Cain 1-1-0 28.
RECEIVING -- Nacogdoches: Sam Morgan 3-14, Reed Watson 1-5, L.J. Barnes 1-1. John Tyler: Duntavion Gross 9-85, Nick Cain 7-108, Rodney Bendy 3-38, Jeremy Wilson 3-27, Robby Washington 1-28.