Lancaster Holds Off John Tyler’s Rally to Shock the No. 1 Lions, 26-21
[By E.J. Holland, Special to ETSN.fm]
Lancaster players rushed the field. The Tigers thought they had just upset the No. 1 team in 4A, but John Tyler got a timeout with two seconds remaining on the clock, giving the Lions one last shot from the Lancaster 1-yard line.
Greg Ward looked up at the clock and made sure everybody was in the right spot. With thoughts of pulling off a thrilling 19-point second half comeback, he called for the snap but it was low. He tried to pick it up off the ground, but several Tigers pounced on the ball.
The clock read zero and Lancaster did in fact escape with a 26-21 upset victory over top-ranked JT, thanks to a stingy defense that contained Ward for nearly the entire game.
Trailing 26-7 late in the third quarter, Ward turned to go-to receiver Fred Ross. The two hooked up on 38-yard pass that gave the Lions life. Ross then caught his second touchdown pass of the game on a 13-yard strike from Ward.
After a 12-yard Lancaster punt, John Tyler took over in great field position and running back Roderick Smith punched it in from a yard out to trim the lead to five.
Ward converted third down after third down on John Tyler’s last drive, which began at the 11-yard line, including a third-and-16 where he avoided a safety and completed 23-yard pass to Nick Cain.
Ward finished the game with 228 yards passing and two touchdowns but was only able to muster 30 yards on the ground.
The Lions defense had a difficult time containing Lancaster quarterback DeMarcus Ayers, who accumulated over 200 total yards and scored three touchdowns.
Just after halftime Ayers took advantage of John Tyler cornerback Darrion Flowers falling down and hit a streaking Nick Harvey for a 70-yard touchdown pass.
John Tyler led 7-0 early on but Ayers scored twice with his legs and running back Joseph Paden dashed 44 yards to give Lancaster a 13-point edge going into halftime.