[By Mark Haslett, Special to ETSN.fm]

SULPHUR SPRINGS -- It wasn’t just an explosive display from the Tyler Lee offense that led the Red Raiders to a stunning 55-20 victory at Sulphur Springs. And it wasn’t just an avalanche of key injuries crippling the host Wildcats.

It was both.

The Red Raiders’ offense burned up the field with big play after big play. Six of Lee’s eight touchdowns came on plays of 30 yards or more. Four of those went for more than 50 yards. The Red Raiders finished with a staggering 650 total yards of offense.

Sophomore quarterback Zach Hall completed four touchdown passes, three of which went to senior receiver Bryce Wilkerson. Hall also ran for two scores, including a 64-yard scamper late in the second quarter that put Lee up 35-20 and began the rout. Hall threw for 288 yards and ran for 124.

Sulphur Springs ATH Willy Ivery. (ETSN.fm)

Sulphur Springs suffered mightily from the loss of key players. Senior running back Willy Ivery, who holds five Division I FBS offers, left the game late in the first quarter and did not return. Ivery showed some of his usual flash with a 54-yard touchdown run in the early going, but his evening ended prematurely following a play that typified the Wildcats’ disappointing season opener.

Lee’s Hall had just connected with Wilkerson for a 71-yard touchdown that gave the Red Raiders a 14-6 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Ivery juked past a flock of defenders and then turned on the jets for a 90-yard kickoff return for an apparent touchdown. But the score was called back on a Sulphur Springs penalty away from the play. Ivery left the field under his own power, in no obvious distress, but did not return to the field the remainder of the game.

Sulphur Springs junior quarterback Larry Pryor, who holds seven FBS offers as a safety, missed much of the second half with an injury, but returned late. Sulphur Springs was also down to its fourth-string tailback at one point in the second half.

In the second half, Ivery appeared on the sideline, out of uniform, using crutches and with an ankle wrapped in a bandage. There’s no official word on Ivery’s injury or status for next week’s game at Sherman.

Lee’s offensive line gradually gained the advantage over their smaller Sulphur Springs counterparts. Lee's large offensive front got better and better as the game progressed and was able more often than not to dictate action in the trenches.

Scoring began early with Hall's 31-yard touchdown on a keeper by Hall. Sulphur Springs answered with Ivery’s big touchdown run, but a blocked extra-point attempt left Lee leading 7-6. Wilkerson then torched the Wildcats’ secondary with his 71-yarder.

Sulphur Springs QB/S Larry Pryor. (ETSN.fm)

Sulphur Springs stayed close as Pryor, the Wildcats’ new starting quarterback and the owner of seven FBS offers as a safety, ran the ball in from 48 yards out, again pulling the home team to within a point, 14-13.

Lee scored on another huge gain to close out the first quarter. Marquiston Williams’ scintillating run after the catch resulted in a 69-yard touchdown that gave the raiders a two-score lead to begin the second.

Pryor threw his lone touchdown pass of the night, a 30-yarder to Alex Burney that once again closed the margin to one, but the Wildcats did not score again.

Lee pulled away with a 21-yard toss from Hall to Wilkerson and went up by 15 at the half thanks to Hall’s dramatic 64-yard scoring run.

The Red Raiders cruised in the second half. When Hall and Wilkerson connected again for a 55-yard score, observers could feel the energy evaporate on the Sulphur Springs sideline. That put Lee ahead 41-20 with 10:22 to play in the third – a nearly inconceivable state of affairs earlier in the evening.

The triumphant Raiders showed restraint as the lopsided contest wore down. Marquian Jones added a rushing touchdown and Averi Clewis caught a touchdown from backup quarterback Raleigh Poster to conclude the evening’s scoring.

[Mark Haslett is the News Director at KETR-FM in Commerce.]


Tyler Lee 55, Sulphur Springs 20

Gerald Prim Stadium, Sulphur Springs


Tyler Lee -- 21 14 13 7 -- 55
Sulphur Springs -- 13 7 0 0 -- 20


First Quarter
-- Hall 31 run (Blas kick), 14:49
SS -- Ivery 54 run (kick failed), 3:26
Lee -- Wilkerson 71 pass from Hall (Blas kick), 2:30
SS -- Pryor 48 run (Watson kick), 1:20
Lee -- Williams 69 pass from Hall (Blas kick), 0:00
Second Quarter
-- Burney 30 pass from Pryor (Watson kick), 10:40
Lee -- Wilkerson 21 pass from Hall (Blas kick), 4:05
Lee -- Hall 64 run (Blas kick), 2:40
Third Quarter
-- Wilkerson 55 pass from Hall (pass failed), 10:22
Lee -- Jones 33 run (Blas kick), 1:55
Fourth Quarter
-- Clewis 7 pass from Poster (Blas kick), 6:43