No. 2 John Tyler Lions (7-1, 3-0)
vs.
Nacogdoches Dragons (0-8, 0-3)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Dragon Stadium, Nacogdoches

Coaches
John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
Nacogdoches: Bobby Reyes

Last week
John Tyler: def. Jacksonville, 59-7
Nacogdoches: lost to Whitehouse, 52-21

Next week
John Tyler: vs. Whitehouse
Nacogdoches: at Lindale

Playmakers
John Tyler

  • QB Greg Ward, Sr., 5-11, 165 (122 of 175, 1,848 yards, 21 TDs, 0 INTs; 93 carries, 320 yards, 6 TDs; committed to Houston)
  • ATH DeQuante Woods, Sr., 5-11, 185 (50 carries, 250 yards, 5 TDs; 13 catches, 108 yards; 29 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT)
  • RB Reggie Gipson, Jr., 5-9, 175 (31 carries, 203 yards; 9 catches, 191 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR Fred Ross, Sr., 6-1, 185 (36 catches, 631 yards, 9 TDs; 18 carries, 119 yards, 3 TDs; committed to Oklahoma State)
  • WR/DB Darion Flowers, Sr., 6-0, 180 (30 catches, 532 yards, 5 TDs; 20 tackles, 2 pass break-ups)
  • DE Tyus Bowser, Sr., 6-3, 230 (33 tackles, 6 sacks, 6 QB pressures, 3 forced fumbles, 1 pass break-up)
  • DB Elliot Hart, Sr., 5-11, 175 (33 tackles, 3 INTs; 1 pass break-up; 1 fumble recovery)

Nacogdoches

  • QB Hunter McClellan, Soph. (10 of 12, 119 yards, 2 TDs last week vs. Whitehouse)
  • WR L.J. Barnes
  • WR Wes Smith, Sr., 6-5, 185
  • OL Jacob Bragg, Jr., 6-3, 280
  • DB Augustin Johnson, Jr.
  • RB Coronado Tolbert, Soph.

Just the facts

  • Friday's game will mark the 34th in the John Tyler-Nacogdoches series. The Lions hold a 29-3-1 all-time lead and have won 11 straight against the Dragons. The two tied in 1992, and last time Nac won was in 1989.
  • John Tyler's offense has been on fire in its three district games. After averaging 26.4 points per game in non-district, JT has outscored its 16-4A foes by a combined score of 157-21. The Lions are also averaging 521 yards of offense in district.
  • JT star quarterback Greg Ward has been stingy with the turnovers in his two years as the Lions QB. He hasn't thrown an interception in 175 attempts this season, and has just five in 533 pass attempts for his career.
  • The biggest surprise for JT this season has been the play of its defense. The Lions surrender just 13.5 points per game after giving up 28.7 in 2011.
  • It's been a struggle for Bobby Reyes in his first season as Nacogdoches head coach. The Dragons have yet to win a game are being outscored each week by an average score of 37-17.
  • Nacogdoches has had five different head coaches since 2001, and the Dragons are just 38-81 over that time span.
John Tyler DE Tyus Bowser. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)
Nacogdoches OL Jacob Bragg. (Christopher Vinn, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Nacogdoches offensive line vs. John Tyler defensive line. The only way the Dragons make this a game is if they can score enough to keep up with JT's high-octane offense, which has been shredding district opponents of late. And in order for Nac to put points on the board, it needs to develop a solid game plan against a ferocious Lions defensive front led by Tyus Bowser, who had a monster game last week with four sacks, three forced fumbles and three quarterback pressures. Nacogdoches' Jacob Bragg will be one of the most heavily recruited linemen in the state next season, so it will be up to him and his line mates to give enough time for sophomore QB Hunter McClellan to build on last week's decent performance. In last week's loss to Whitehouse, McClellan completed 10 of 12 attempts and passed for two touchdowns. He'll need to duplicate those numbers and then some this week, but needs his line to play the game of their lives in order to make that happen.

Don't be surprised if: John Tyler rolls to another big district win. Some might wonder if the Lions are looking ahead to next week's potential district championship game against Whitehouse, but the Lions are playing with a unique focus right now. The Lions' first three 16-4A opponents have a combined record of 6-18, and that hasn't slowed the JT juggernaut one bit. The Lions are outscoring league foes by an average score of 52-7. In addition, JT has won 18 consecutive district games, making an upset loss highly unlikely.