PREVIEW: John Tyler Meets Rockwall-Heath in Key Clash
John Tyler Lions (4-2, 2-1)
Rockwall-Heath Hawks (5-1, 3-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Wilkerson-Sanders Memorial Stadium, Rockwall
- John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
- Rockwall-Heath: Mickey Moss
- John Tyler: idle
- Rockwall-Heath: idle
- John Tyler: vs. Longview, Oct. 27
- Rockwall-Heath: at Mesquite, Oct. 26
- LB Tre Allison, Sr., 6-2, 220 (57 tackles, 1 INT, 3 PBUs, 1 forced fumble; committed to SMU)
- DL/LB DeKalen Goodson, Sr., 6-3, 215 (26 tackles, 8 for loss, 4 sacks, 3 QB pressures; committed to Houston)
- WR Ke'Andre Street, Jr., 6-4, 195 (19 catches, 474 yards, 7 TDs)
- QB/WR Devlen Woods, Jr., 5-8, 170 (53 of 99, 746 yards, 10 TDs, 2 INTs; 40 carries, 116 yards, 0 TDs; 2 catches, 26 yards, 0 TDs)
- QB K'Lon Warren, Jr., 5-10, 175 (21 of 33, 337 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT; 17 carries, 17 yards, 0 TDs)
- RB Roderick Hawkins, Jr., 5-8, 190 (49 carries, 449 yards, 5 TDs; 6 catches, 69 yards, 1 TD)
- OL Chance Billington, Jr., 6-3, 280 (committed to SMU)
- RB Kitan Crawford, Soph., 5-10, 170 (16 carries, 122 yards, 0 TDs; 1 catch, 55 yards, 0 TDs)
- ATH Tanner McCalister, Sr., 6-0, 185 (105 carries, 921 yards, 12 TDs; 2 catches, 18 yards, 0 TDs; 33 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 INTs, 2 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery; committed to Arkansas)
- QB Garrett Cody, Sr., 5-10, 180 (20 of 43, 349 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs; 41 carries, 217 yards, 3 TDs)
- OL Michael Denson, Sr., 6-5, 265
- DB Kendell Jimerson, Sr., 5-10, 175 (18 tackles, 3 INTs, 1 PBU)
- WR/DB Tyrus Fort, Sr., 5-10, 160 (10 catches, 213 yards, 4 TDs; 33 carries, 173 yards, 4 TDs; 16 tackles)
- LB Desmon Williams, Sr., 6-0, 235 (80 tackles, 5 for loss)
- DL Cutter Cleveland, Sr., 6-2, 225 (54 tackles, 10 for loss, 3 sacks)
- LB Wyatt Watson, Jr., 6-1, 185 (68 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 INT, 3 forced fumbles)
Just the facts
- The cumulative record of John Tyler's first six opponents is 13-23 (.361).
- The cumulative record of Rockwall-Heath's first six opponents is 15-21 (.417).
- John Tyler is averaging 31.7 points and 376.9 yards per game -- 193.2 rushing and 183.7 passing.
- The Lions are averaging 320.8 yards per game since their 657-yard outburst in Week 1 vs. Plano West.
- John Tyler is allowing 24.8 points per game, and has forced nine turnovers -- six interceptions and three fumbles.
- Rockwall-Heath is averaging 31.7 points and 336.1 yards per game -- 242.8 rushing and 93.3 passing.
- The Hawks' three district wins have come by a combined 18 points.
- Rockwall-Heath is allowing 20.3 points per game, and has forced eight turnovers -- seven interceptions and one fumble.
Key matchup: Rockwall-Heath rushing attack vs. John Tyler defensive front. The Hawks are at their best offensively when they are able to grind away at the clock with their powerful running game and big offensive line. Heath runs the ball 76 percent of the time, and senior Tanner McCalister has led the Hawks all season. The Arkansas commit is closing in on 1,000 yards with four more games remaining in the regular season. Following a slow start to the year, McCalister has turned it up in Heath's last four games. He's averaging 203 rushing yards per game over that time span. The Hawks will get contributions from Tyrus Fort and quarterback Garrett Cody as well on the ground, but McCalister is the primary point of emphasis.
If Heath is able to dictate the game's tempo with its rushing attack, that means fewer opportunities for a more explosive John Tyler offense. The Lions come into Friday's game averaging 40 more yards per game than Heath, and they have a few more players capable of making a big impact.
John Tyler's defense must do a good job at limiting Heath's gains on first and second downs, which would put the Hawks into more obvious passing situations.
Don't be surprised if: John Tyler takes a few deep shots downfield in the passing game early in an effort to get Heath behind in the first half. The Lions' best chance to win might be to create a sizable enough deficit for the Hawks that might abandon their run-first game plan earlier than they would like. K'Lon Warren performed well in his first start of the season two weeks ago against Mesquite, passing for three touchdowns and totaling 239 yards of offense. Moving Devlen Woods, who began the year at quarterback, to receiver gives John Tyler more options than just Ke'Andre Street at receiver. Woods played a big role at receiver last season, and Street is coming into his own as one of the area's top big-play pass-catchers.