TYLER -- The John Tyler Lions may not have begun the year the way they and their fans would've liked. But midway through the district season, they find themselves in the driver's seat.

John Tyler captured its fourth consecutive victory and took over sole possession of first place in District 16-5A with a 40-29 victory over defending league champion Ennis on Friday night at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

JT (4-3, 4-0) led by at least two scores for most of the night, and never allowed Ennis (4-3, 3-1) get into a rhythm on offense until it was much too late.

John Tyler quarterback Bryson Smith (2) completed 16 of 17 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown, and added a rushing TD in the Lions' 40-29 win over Ennis on Friday night in Tyler. (Michel Alfaro, ETSN.fm)

John Tyler junior quarterback Bryson Smith was nearly perfect through the air, completing 16 of his 17 attempts for 213 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back James Allen ran for 93 yards and a score.

Senior receiver Duntayviun Gross, named Homecoming King before kickoff, led JT's pass-catchers with eight receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown. Junior wideout and Texas commit Damion Miller had four catches for 78 yards.

John Tyler's defense, which went through its rough patches during the Lions' 0-3 start to the season, forced three Ennis turnovers, and turned those miscues into 13 points.

JT did a number on Ennis' ground attack, which entered Friday averaging almost 350 yards per game. John Tyler limited Ennis to 205 rushing yards, and racked up eight tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage.

John Tyler's defense makes a third-down stop on Ennis' Tycen Thompson (20) during John Tyler' 40-29 win Friday night in Tyler. (Michel Alfaro, ETSN.fm)

Tycen Thompson led Ennis with 126 yards and a touchdown on 16 rushing attempts. He was also on the receiving end of a 67-yard touchdown reception in the closing seconds of the game.

Thompson, however, fumbled on the first play of the game, and John Tyler recovered at its own 45.

John Tyler capitalized eight plays later when Smith connected with Gross for a 20-yard touchdown, which gave JT a 6-0 lead with 8:57 remaining in the first quarter.

Ennis responded with a nine-play, 67-yard drive, and took its only lead of the night on Tre Elliott's 10-yard touchdown pass to David Perry. Trevor Oakley's PAT gave Ennis a short-lived 7-6 lead midway through the opening period.

John Tyler took advantage of a penalty-prone Ennis defense on the ensuing drive, and regained the lead on Smith's 7-yard touchdown run, 13-7, with 3:27 showing on the first-quarter clock. Ennis committed four defensive penalties on the drive, which led to four JT first downs.

After each team traded three-and-outs, Ennis lost a fumble at its own 27, and it didn't take John Tyler long to capitalize.

John Tyler's Duntayviun Gross (1) caught eight passes for 116 yards and a touchdown in the Lions' 40-29 win over Ennis on Friday night in Tyler. (Michel Alfaro, ETSN.fm)

On the fourth play of the series, Allen squirted free for a 6-yard touchdown, which pushed John Tyler's lead to 20-7 early in the second quarter.

Ennis cut into the lead on its final possession of the half, marching 80 yards in nine plays, scoring on Elliott's 5-yard pass to Trevon Smith, trimming John Tyler's lead to 20-14 with 19 seconds until halftime.

John Tyler widened its lead in the third quarter, thanks in part to a dominant defensive effort. Ennis had its two drives in the period end on downs and on a punt.

Meanwhile, JT scored on its second possession of the third -- a 2-yard run by Tre Allison. The scoring drive was helped along by an Ennis roughing-the-passer penalty and pass interference on third down.

John Tyler added on in the fourth quarter with a pair of touchdowns -- 2-yard runs by Pierre Leonard and Allison.

Both teams return to action with pivotal games next Friday night. Ennis plays host to Lufkin (4-3, 3-1), while John Tyler travels to Corsicana (6-1, 3-1).

John Tyler's James Allen (5) scores on a 6-yard touchdown run during the Lions' 40-29 win over Ennis on Friday night in Tyler. (Michel Alfaro, ETSN.fm)

John Tyler 40, Ennis 29

At Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler

Ennis                    7      7      0    15    --    29
John Tyler          13      7      6    14    --    40

First Quarter
JT--Duntayviun Gross 20 pass from Bryson Smith (pass failed), 8:57.
ENN--David Perry 10 pass from Tre Elliott (Trevor Oakley kick), 5:17.
JT--Smith 7 run (Devan Salazar kick), 3:27.
Second Quarter
JT--James Allen 6 run (Salazar kick), 9:38.
ENN--Trevon Smith 5 pass from Elliott (Oakley kick), :19.
Third Quarter
JT--Tre Allison 2 run (run failed), 4:14.
Fourth Quarter
JT--Pierre Leonard 2 run (Salazar kick), 10:35.
ENN--Tycen Thompson 26 run (Oakley kick), 8:50.
JT--Allison 2 run (Salazar kick), 3:24.
ENN--Thompson 67 pass from Caleb Clark (Smith run), :14.

                                            ENN                 JT
First Downs                              12                 23
Total Yards                             321               355
Rushes-Yards                    33-205         47-142
Passing Yards                         116              213
Comp.-Att.-Int.                   6-16-0        16-17-0
Punts-Avg.                          4-34.8          5-32.8
Fumbles-Lost                           4-3               1-0
Penalties-Yards                  10-100             9-90

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING--Ennis, Tycen Thompson 16-126, Trevon Smith 9-50, Kyre Holloway 3-11, Tre Elliott 3-10, Zach Rhone 2-8. John Tyler, James Allen 20-93, Bryson Smith 18-28, Damion Miller 1-14, Tre Allison 4-4, Duntayviun Gross 1-2, Pierre Leonard 1-2, Dejuan Beal 2-(-1).
PASSING--Ennis, Elliott 5-15-0--49, Caleb Clark 1-1-0--67. John Tyler, Smith 16-17-0--213.
RECEIVING--Ennis, David Perry 2-23, Thompson 1-67, Caleb Nekuza 1-15, JT Mackey 1-6, Smith 1-5. John Tyler, Gross 8-116, Miller 4-78, Michael Givens-Washington 3-5, Allen 1-15.