Late Touchdown Leads Tyler Lee To 37-31 Upset Of Crosstown Rival + No. 1 John Tyler
TYLER -- On a night when the 1994 John Tyler and 2004 Tyler Lee state championship teams were inducted into the Tyler ISD Athletic Hall of Fame, the two Rose City rivals put on a show Friday night that won't soon be forgotten.
Devonte Craver's 3-yard touchdown run with 31 seconds remaining sent Tyler Lee to a thrilling 37-31 defeat of top-ranked John Tyler at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. It was Lee's first win over its crosstown nemesis in three years, after being shut out in each of the last two meetings.
"They were ranked No. 1, a lot of people doubted us," said Lee junior quarterback Zach Hall. "We practiced hard this week. This is the hardest I've seen everybody practice. We came in and capitalized off the turnovers, and the playmakers made plays."
Tyler Lee (1-2) overcome four lost fumbles -- two in the third quarter -- and a two-touchdown deficit in the second half to complete a dramatic comeback.
"Really, I'm just happy for the guys because they've hung in there and they've kept working," said Lee coach Darrell Piske. "They know that we're going to be a really good football team. We made a lot of mistakes the first two weeks, and we still made a bunch in the first half (tonight). In the second half, they just got it together. If we quit killing ourselves we're going to be a pretty good football team. We tackled in the fourth quarter, finally and that's really the difference -- we tackled in the fourth quarter and we cut the mistakes out."
With the game tied at 31-31, Lee began the game-winning drive at its own 26. On third-and-1 from the 35, Craver received a handoff from Hall and broke loose down the middle of the field for a 60-yard gain down to the John Tyler 5.
"It was a read and the defensive end stayed out, so I'm supposed to give the ball," Hall said. "(Craver) just saw a crease and hit it full speed. I was so excited, man. I can't even explain it."
Two plays later, the junior running back carried the ball across the goal line to give Lee its first lead of the night.
John Tyler muffed the ensuing pooch kick, and Lee recovered to officially put the game away.
"We played terrible, it is what it is," said John Tyler coach Ricklan Holmes. "(Lee) came out here to win, and that's what they did. They played better than we did today."
Friday's loss was the second consecutive for John Tyler when it entered the field with a No. 1 ranking. The Lions lost to Lancaster during Week 2 of the 2012 season after reaching the top spot in the Associated Press poll.
"That has nothing to do with it," Holmes said. "I think that we thought they were just going to lay down, and they forgot this was a rivalry. It doesn't matter what their record is; they're still going to come out here to beat us."
The Red Raiders offense was too much for John Tyler, finishing with 567 total yards -- 339 on the ground -- and 376 in the second half.
Hall was 16-of-24 passing for 228 yards and three touchdowns -- all to junior receiver Isjuwan Barker, who had three catches for 90 yards. Hall also led Lee with 119 yards on 21 rushing attempts, finishing ahead of junior Tavon Wesley and Craver, who also eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground.
"(Offensive coordinator) Dan Roberson was calling the plays, seeing everything in the press box, telling us where all the holes were," Hall said. "And we hit them."
John Tyler (2-1) gained 436 yards on offense, but was hurt by three second-half turnovers. The Lions also turned it over on downs once, and were forced to punt four times over the game's final two quarters.
"We don't come out here to beat the team we're playing; we come out here to beat ourselves," Holmes said. "And today we lost to ourselves. Because everything that we did, they capitalized on."
The John Tyler loss spoiled a sensational performance from senior running back Jeremy Wilson, who ran 18 times for 205 yards and all four Lions touchdowns. Quarterback Geovari McCollister, who began the night by connecting on his first six pass attempts, finished 9-of-22 for 163 yards, and added 68 rushing on 20 carries.
Wilson's 37-yard touchdown run gave John Tyler a 24-10 lead with 5:57 remaining in the third quarter, but Lee responded two possessions later when Hall connected with Barker for a 28-yard touchdown, which cut JT's lead to 24-17 with 45 seconds to play in the third.
After forcing JT into a three-and-out, the Lee offense went back to work. Wesley busted loose for a 27-yard gain to the Lions' 6-yard line, and scored on the next play. However, the extra-point attempt was blocked, leaving Lee behind 24-23 with 10:07 remaining.
John Tyler wasted little time in responding, marching 72 yards in four plays, scoring on Wilson's 41-yard touchdown run. Luis Duran's PAT pushed John Tyler's lead to 31-23 with 8:57 showing on the fourth-quarter clock.
Lee and JT each were forced into punts on their next possessions. Hall spotted a wide-open Barker down the near sideline, and completed a 44-yard touchdown pass with 4:12 remaining. Hall ran in the two-point conversion, tying the game at 31-31.
"I've been throwing to all my receivers since Pop Warner, so I know their speeds and I know where they're going to be," said Hall, whose 16 completions went to eight different receivers. "We've been playing with each other for a while now."
Tyler Lee begins District 11-6A play next Friday night at home against Garland Sachse. John Tyler, meanwhile, is off next week and will open up District 15-5A action on Sept. 26 at Whitehouse.
Tyler Lee 37, No. 1 John Tyler 31
At TMF Rose Stadium, Tyler
John Tyler 7 10 7 7 -- 31
Tyler Lee 3 0 14 20 -- 37
JT--Jeremy Wilson 80 run (Luis Duran kick), 8:58.
LEE--FG Matthew Hawk 26, 4:40.
JT--Wilson 17 run (Duran kick), 9:16.
JT--FG Duran 50, 4:21.
LEE--Isjuwan Barker 18 pass from Zach Hall (Hawk kick), 11:08.
JT--Wilson 37 run (Duran kick), 5:57.
LEE--Barker 28 pass from Hall (Hawk kick), :45.
LEE--Tavon Wesley 6 run (kick failed), 10:07.
JT--Wilson 42 run (Duran kick), 8:57.
LEE--Barker 44 pass from Hall (Hall run), 4:12.
LEE--Devonte Craver 3 run (kick failed), :31.
First Downs 18 21
Total Yards 436 567
Rushes-Yards 30-273 53-339
Passing Yards 163 228
Comp.-Att.-Int. 9-22-0 16-24-0
Punts-Avg. 6-35.8 4-39.8
Fumbles-Lost 4-2 6-4
Penalties-Yards 9-57 7-50
RUSHING--John Tyler, Jeremy Wilson 18-205, Geovari McCollister 20-68. Tyler Lee, Zach Hall 21-119, Tavon Wesley 12-105, Devonte Craver 11-104, Juwan Banks 4-12, Tyrec Grayson 1-(-1).
PASSING--John Tyler, McCollister 9-22-0--163. Tyler Lee, Hall 16-24-0--228.
RECEIVING--John Tyler, Duntayviun Gross 3-69, Tommy Dyer 2-35, Nick Cain 2-18, Rodney Bendy 1-24, Wilson 1-17. Tyler Lee, Trevor Carr 4-68, Isjuwan Barker 3-90, Jordan Devers 3-34, Mason Parker 2-18, Craver 1-8, Banks 1-6, Wesley 1-4, Grayson 1-0.