Late Turnover + Last-Second Field Goal Sends Ennis To 30-27 Win Over John Tyler
ENNIS -- One week after celebrating a game-winning field goal in the waning seconds, the John Tyler Lions found themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum Friday night.
Ennis turned a late John Tyler fumble into a Brandon Martinek 20-yard field goal with six seconds remaining, which propelled 10th-ranked Ennis to a 30-27 over No. 5 John Tyler in a pivotal District 16-5A showdown at Lion Memorial Stadium.
John Tyler (5-2, 3-1) suffered its first league loss, while Ennis (5-2, 4-0) took control of the 16-5A championship race with the clutch play of its defense and special teams down the stretch.
"Our district is that way -- a tough battle last week against Lufkin and we knew we were going to have another one this week against Ennis," said John Tyler coach Ricklan Holmes. "It came down to what I thought it'd be: last second, last play."
The game-winning kick was set up by a John Tyler fumble inside its own 20-yard line with exactly one minute remaining. JT quarterback Geovari McCollister was scrambling out of the pocket when Ennis' Drake Kuehn and Brian Nelson combined for a sack, forcing a loose ball in the process, which was recovered by standout defensive end and Texas A&M commit James Lockhart at the 19.
"They basically got past one of our linemen, and made (McCollister) have to get out of the pocket," Holmes said. "He tried to use his legs, but they are very disciplined. They stay in their rush lanes, and that's what happens when you stay in your rush lanes against a scrambling quarterback. Eventually he's going to run into somebody, and that's what happened."
Ennis moved the ball to the 3-yard line, where on fourth-and-goal, it sent out its field-goal unit. Holmes called back-to-back timeouts before Martinek booted home the game-winner from 20 yards out.
"Our defense, they're capable of making plays when they need to make them," Holmes said. "They held them to a field goal, and that's why we practice blocking field goals. When it comes down to something like that, you've got to make sure you get it done. We didn't quite get there but we gave ourselves another chance on the kickoff return."
John Tyler attempted several laterals during the ensuing kickoff return, but to no avail. The play was whistled dead after time had already expired.
Ennis was led by the rushing duo of Taylor Thompson and Tre Elliott. Thompson ran 23 times for a game-high 168 yards and a touchdown, and caught two passes for 51 yards and another score. Elliott finished the game with 84 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts.
McCollister completed 19 of 28 attempts for 219 yards and a touchdown. Duntayviun Gross had a season-high nine catches for 133 yards, while Damion Miller hauled in a 43-yard touchdown reception. John Tyler running back Jeremy Wilson rushed for 75 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries.
With Ennis leading 21-20 entering the fourth quarter, quarterback Devin Smith hit a wide-open Thompson in the flat, a play that went 40 yards to the end zone. However, Martinek's extra-point attempt was no good, leaving Ennis up 27-20 with 10:10 remaining.
John Tyler and Ennis then traded three-and-outs, before John Tyler found the equalizing score on Miller's 43-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Luis Duran's PAT tied the game at 27-27 with 8:04 to play.
Ennis picked up one first down on the ensuing drive, but had to punt it to John Tyler, which took over possession at its own 17 with 4:24 remaining.
A Wilson 13-yard run gave the JT a quick first down, and on fourth-and-1 from its own 39, JT successfully executed a fake punt when upback Nick Cain carried the ball for two yards.
But on third-and-8 from the 43, McCollister rolled to his right and was stripped of the football at his own 25, and Lockhart was there for the recovery at the John Tyler 19.
"We had a chance. (McCollister) got bottled up and couldn't make anything happen," Holmes said. "The ball ain't always gonna bounce your way."
Ennis took the game's first lead when Elliott raced 35 yards to the end zone with 8:16 showing on the first-quarter clock. John Tyler answered on its next possession, driving 74 yards in six plays, scoring on Wilson's 18-yard dash to paydirt.
John Tyler grabbed a 14-7 lead with 1:05 to play in the opening period on Wilson's 2-yard scoring run. The touchdown was set up by a Ennis muffed punt at its own 13.
Thompson tied the game at 14-14 when he sped 30 yards to the end zone with 2:55 remaining in the half. John Tyler attempted to get points before halftime, but Duran's 40-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right with 41 seconds remaining.
Smith scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper to cap Ennis' first drive of the third quarter, but John Tyler later answered with a Wilson 1-yard touchdown run. A bad snap on the PAT left JT behind 21-20 with 1:07 remaining in the third.
"A couple of plays cost us a drive, and the missed the field goal," Holmes said. "That's three points right there that keeps the ballgame tied up. We just have to capitalize on all the little things, because if we don't they turn into big things."
Both teams are back in action next Friday night. Ennis travels to Lufkin, while John Tyler hosts Corsicana.
No. 10 Ennis 30, No. 5 John Tyler 27
At Lion Memorial Stadium, Ennis
John Tyler 14 0 6 7 -- 27
Ennis 7 7 7 9 -- 30
ENN--Tre Elliott 35 run (Brandon Martinek kick), 8:16.
JT--Jeremy Wilson 18 run (Luis Duran kick), 6:32.
JT--Wilson 2 run (Duran kick), 1:05.
ENN--Taylor Thompson 30 run (Martinek kick), 2:55.
ENN--Devin Smith 1 run (Martinek kick), 7:04.
JT--Wilson 1 run (kick failed), 1:07.
ENN--Thompson 40 pass from Smith (kick failed), 10:10.
JT--Damion Miller 43 pass from Geovari McCollister (Duran kick), 8:04.
ENN--FG Martinek 20, :06.
First Downs 15 18
Total Yards 323 371
Rushes-Yards 32-104 45-249
Passing Yards 219 122
Comp.-Att.-Int. 19-28-0 8-15-0
Punts-Avg. 6-34.7 6-35.0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 10-80 6-65
RUSHING--John Tyler, Jeremy Wilson 16-75, Geovari McCollister 13-24, Dejuan Bell 2-3, Nick Cain 1-2. Ennis, Taylor Thompson, 23-168, Tre Elliott 16-84, Devin Smith 6-(-3).
PASSING--John Tyler, McCollister 19-28-0--219. Ennis, Smith 8-15-0--122.
RECEIVING--John Tyler, Duntayviun Gross 9-133, Cain 6-35, Damion Miller 2-44, Tommy Dyer 1-4, Bryson Smith 1-3. Ennis, Elliott 3-19, Taylor Thompson 2-51, Donta Thompson 2-42, Isaac Montemayor 1-10.