Tyler Lee Red Raiders (0-2)

vs.

John Tyler Lions (0-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday

TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler

Coaches
  • Tyler Lee: Darrell Piske
  • John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes

 

Last week

 

Next week
  • Tyler Lee: at Sachse, Sept. 17
  • John Tyler: idle

 

Playmakers

Tyler Lee

  • QB Zach Hall, Sr., 5-11, 170
  • RB Tavon Wesley, Sr., 5-11, 190
  • WR Isjuwan Barker, Jr., 6-3, 185
  • WR Tyrec Grayson, Sr., 5-8, 145
  • LB Campbell Miller, Jr., 6-2, 245
  • DL John Samples III, Sr., 6-3, 250
  • WR Mason Parker, Sr., 5-10, 165
  • WR/DB Jordan Devers, Sr., 6-0, 180

John Tyler

  • DL Braylon Jones, Sr., 6-3, 285 (committed to Houston)
  • WR Damion Miller, Jr., 6-2, 205 (committed to Texas)
  • DB Bryston Gipson, Sr., 6-1, 185
  • DL Pierre Leonard, Sr., 5-10, 245
  • QB Bryson Smith, Jr., 6-0, 170
  • OL Adrian Harris, Sr., 6-4, 300
  • LB Shaundrick Williams, Jr., 6-1, 220
  • WR Duntayviun Gross, Sr., 5-9, 160
  • RB Tre Allison, Soph., 6-2, 190
  • OL Dau’Quawn Montgomery, Jr., 6-2, 265

 

Just the facts
  • This is the 60th meeting between the two teams. John Tyler holds a 31-27-1 lead in the series.
  • The last time both teams entered the game with 0-2 record was 2011. With a win against John Tyler, Lee finished that year 1-9. The Lions started to turn their season around in the next game and reached the Class 4A Division I state semifinals on an 11-game winning streak.
  • Lee has an opportunity to win consecutive games against the Lions for the first time since 2009.
  • The Red Raiders started last season 0-2 and snapped their skid against John Tyler. They ultimately advanced to the Class 6A Division II bi-district round. The Lions went to the semifinals once again in Class 5A Division I.
  • Lee is one of three winless teams in District 11-6A. Rockwall, the preseason league frontrunner, and Naaman Forest also are 0-2.
  • John Tyler and Jacksonville are the only teams in District 16-5A without a win.
  • This is the last non-district game for both the Lions and Red Raiders, so one team will begin district play without a win.
  • Despite the bad team start, Lee quarterback Zach Hall has turned in an impressive first two games of his senior campaign. He has 744 total yards and is on pace to be well over 1,000 total yards after Friday's game. No other player on either team is close to Hall's production.
  • Lee's defense has to get better. It has given up an average of 42 points per game in regulation and its season-best on defense was 541 yards surrendered to Keller Fossil Ridge.
  • John Tyler's offense is the more problematic side of the ball right now for the Lions. The team has a +2 turnover margin and despite that has averaged 261 total yards through two games.
Tyler Lee linebacker Campbell Miller has been a bright spot for the Red Raiders' defense early. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: John Tyler's offense against Tyler Lee's defense.

Perceived weaknesses have a great opportunity this week by going up against an opposing unit that also just isn't there yet. Frankly, the Lions' offense needs the best performance of the two groups. Red Raiders quarterback Zach Hall and the surrounding playmakers on offense showed they could score points regardless of the final outcome last season and they've managed that through two games this year as well.

John Tyler faced a strong Longview defensive front last week, and it had a clear game plan to get around the Lobos' strength. It wanted to establish the passing game to take pressure off quarterback Bryson Smith and open things up for him and the running backs on the ground. Unfortunately, the chemistry between the junior quarterback and the unit's clear strengths at the receiver positions was still an unfinished product. The Lions punted seven times, turned the ball over on downs once and fumbled once on the way to 14 points despite four Longview turnovers.

Until the John Tyler passing game comes along, the blueprint of investing the majority of resources to take Smith out of the running game stands as a game-winning plan.

John Tyler receiver and safety Damion Miller, already a Texas commitment, can be a game changer with the ball in his hands. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Lee's defense really needs this game as well. It allowed 46 Lufkin points in the game's final 25 minutes and then a field goal in overtime to help blow what was a 42-3 Red Raiders lead with a minute left in the first half. The Keller Fossil Ridge game also featured a second half letdown.

Defense has not been Lee's only problem, but the offense has done enough early scoring to put the team in a good spot to win both of its games.

Both struggling units need a positive Friday. Up next on the schedules are district openers.

Don't be surprised if: John Tyler's offense, Tyler Lee's defense or even if both units blow their prior performances out of the water. Season averages can change drastically with a third game to add into the equation, and the reality is, however this game plays out, at least the winning side is going to feel much better about its season outlook. More than that, attitudes swing all over early in the season as teams figure out who they are. One non-district win or at least an all-around strong performance can change things, especially when it comes against a rival.

Tyler Lee QB Zach Hall. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)