Region II Area Round Playoff

Jesuit Rangers (8-3)


John Tyler Lions (10-1)

2 p.m. Saturday
Memorial Stadium, Mesquite


  • Jesuit: Brandon Hickman
  • John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes

Last week

Next week

  • Winner faces either Klein Collins or Round Rock Cedar Ridge, 6A Division II, Region II semifinals


Dallas Jesuit

  • LB Peyton Long, Sr., 6-2, 220 (committed to Navy)
  • RB Evan Jackson, Sr., 6-4, 195 (179 carries, 1,153 yards, 16 TDs, 16 catches, 151 yards, 1 receiving TD)
  • QB Jacob Palisch, Sr., 6-2, 180 (96 of 147, 1,637 yards, 11 TDs, 4 INTs)
  • WR John Wunderlick, Sr., 5-10, 180 (104 carries, 973 yards, 12 TDs, 47 receptions, 586 yards, 2 receiving TDs)
  • WR Fletcher Rosenbleeth, Jr. (21 catches, 530 yards, 4 TDs)
  • WR Connor Jackson, Sr., 6-4, 195 (25 catches, 500 yards, 5 TDs)

John Tyler

  • QB Bryson Smith, Sr., 6-0, 175 (167 of 274, 2,751 yards, 29 TDs, 7 INTs, 148 carries, 1,431 yards, 18 rushing TDs; committed to Houston)
  • WR/S Damion Miller, Sr., 6-2, 195 (37 catches, 852 yards, 8 TDs; 33 tackles, 1 INT, 5 PBUs, 1 blocked kick; committed to Texas)
  • DE DeKalen Goodson, Jr., 6-3, 215 (64 tackles, 18 for loss, 11 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, 2 PBUs)
  • DE Howard Hawkins, Sr., 6-0, 265 (77 tackles, 19 for loss, 8 sacks, 21 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries)
  • LB Tre Allison, Jr., 6-2, 200 (108 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 INT, 3 PBUs)
  • RB Cameron Grant, Soph., 5-9, 170 (129 carries, 800 yards, 9 TDs, 7 catches, 64 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR/CB Javontavius Mosley, Sr., 6-2, 175 (52 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 INTs, 17 PBUs, 2 forced fumbles, 1 recovery; 4 catches, 125 yards, 2 TDs; committed to UTSA)

Just the facts

  • Dallas Jesuit -- known formally as Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas -- will try to avoid elimination in the second round of the state playoffs for the third consecutive season.
  • John Tyler hopes to avoid a second consecutive second-round loss.
  • Dallas Jesuit began the season with high-quality games against DeSoto, Plano East and Lake Travis. It lost each of those contests by at least by 24 points.
  • Since then, however, Dallas Jesuit is undefeated with a big district victory against Coppell on Sept. 23. Coppell finished the regular season 8-2.
  • Dallas Jesuit's remaining district opponents combined for an overall record of 19-43.
  • Lions quarterback Bryson Smith surpassed NFL free agent Kendall Hunter last week to become John Tyler's leader in career rushing yardage. He has 2,906 yards as a three-year offensive starter, his sophomore season spent at wide receiver.
  • Bryson Smith had previously surpassed Earl Campbell on the school's all-time rushing list. Campbell won the Heisman Trophy in 1977.
  • Five players on the Lions team have NCAA Division I FBS scholarship offers. Dallas Jesuit has one such player, linebacker and Navy commitment Peyton Long.
  • Reporters affiliated with The Dallas Morning News unanimously picked John Tyler to win this playoff game.
  • Saturday's game will feature the coldest conditions the Lions or Dallas Jesuit have played in this year. The kickoff temperature is forecasted to be 56 degrees with a consistent wind moving from the north end zone to the south end zone.
  • John Tyler will travel 86 miles trip to Memorial Stadium. Dallas Jesuit has just a 19-mile trip to the playoff venue.
John Tyler defensive end DeKalen Goodson wraps up New Orleans Warren Easton quarterback Lance Legendre for one of four sacks Sept. 10.

Key matchup: John Tyler's defensive front versus Dallas Jesuit's running game.

Jesuit should be a better matchup for the Lions than Lufkin was a week ago. Lufkin could threaten head coach Ricklan Holmes' defense with very fast and athletic receivers, so the unit had to spread out and then became vulnerable to the run.

While Jesuit does have solid passing numbers, it leans on its running game.

Primary tailback Evan Jackson and slot receiver John Wunderlick have combined for 2,166 rushing yards on 283 attempts to starting quarterback Jacob Palisch's 1,637 passing yards on 147 attempts. Three Jesuit receivers have 500 or more yards, but none of them have more than 583 yards.

John Tyler will have to respect Jesuit's passing capabilities, but the opposing offense is at its absolute best with Jackson running between the tackles and Wunderlick running off-tackle on sweeps. Palisch also is a running threat near the end zone with nine short-yardage touchdowns from behind the center.

The Lions have handled previous run-oriented teams well this season. In fact, they have not lost a game to a team that runs more than it passes thanks to a strong defensive front.

Defensive ends DeKalen Goodson and Howard Hawkins have combined for 37 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Goodson holds a Mississippi State college scholarship opportunity as a junior.

Linebackers Tre Allison and Shaundrick Williams are John Tyler's leading tacklers with 108 and 87 takedowns this season. Allison, a junior, owns a Mississippi State offer.

Senior UTSA cornerback commitment Javontavius Mosley leads a secondary that has performed well against the run. Texas receiver commitment Damion Miller, a senior, can play safety if it is required.


Don't be surprised if: Dallas Jesuit does not roll over for John Tyler.

Jesuit did not perform very well against an incredibly strong three-game, non-district schedule, but it does have some experience against the best teams in the state. Its Week 1 opponent, DeSoto, is ranked second in the Associated Press' Class 6A poll. Its Week 3 competitor, Lake Travis, is ranked third in the same poll.

Plano East and district opponent Coppell were other quality teams encountered. Jesuit finally broke through for a win against Coppell in Week 4.

From there, Jesuit dominated the remainder of a below-average district and a weak opening-round playoff opponent for a winning streak currently at eight games.

Jesuit should be confident as result of the streak. And it does have some big game experience despite the outcomes of those early-season contests.

John Tyler quarterback Bryson Smith (1) runs for a first down during the Lions' 38-24 win at Longview on Oct. 21. Smith is now the school's all-time leading rusher.