John Tyler Finds Offensive Stride in 65-33 Rout of Whitehouse in 16-5A Opener
TYLER -- It took until the District 16-5A opener, but the John Tyler Lions finally found their groove on the offensive side of the ball. And their first win of the 2015 season.
The Lions posted season-highs in points and yards in a 65-33 rout of Whitehouse on Friday night at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, snapping a three-game losing streak to begin the year.
John Tyler (1-3, 1-0) junior quarterback Bryson Smith passed for 321 yards and five touchdowns, three of those going to standout junior receiver and Texas commit Damion Miller, who finished the night with five catches for 177 yards.
Smith also led the Lions' 285-yard rushing attack with 120 yards on 13 attempts. Senior Ka'Darius Henderson added 108 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
John Tyler, which came into Friday averaging just 23 points and 315 yards per game, erupted for 650 yards against Whitehouse (2-2, 0-1).
Whitehouse posted 519 yards of total offense, led by senior quarterback Collin Bullard, who passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 121 yards on 21 carries.
The game was marred by penalties, as John Tyler and Whitehouse combined for 42 accepted infractions totaling 370 yards.
Whitehouse scored as time expired in the first half on a 50-yard hook-and-ladder play, which cut John Tyler's halftime lead to 37-26.
Wildcats quarterback Collin Bullard fired a quick sideline pass to Ashton Melton, who lateraled it to Tanner Roach about 20 yards upfield. Roach then appeared to fumble it forward, but it was scooped by Zi Coffer, who took it into the end zone.
But John Tyler pulled away in the second half by outscoring the Wildcats, 28-7, in the third and fourth quarters.
Smith completed 13 of 18 passes with his three touchdowns to Miller covering 64, 39 and 40 yards. Duntayviun Gross and Jesse Darden were on the receiving end of Smith's other two scoring tosses. Gross also returned a punt 46 yards for a touchdown.
Lions senior defensive lineman Pierre Leonard also had a big night with two blocked punts, a sack, two tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery.
Leonard's blocked punt to end Whitehouse's first drive of the second half turned into a John Tyler touchdown, as Smith hooked up with Jesse Darden for a 4-yard scoring strike and 44-26 Lions lead.
Whitehouse reached the JT 10-yard line on the ensuing drive, but was stopped behind the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-4.
On the first play of the next series, Henderson broke free for a 47-yard gain, and four plays later, Smith hit Miller down the field for a 40-yard touchdown, which pushed John Tyler's lead to 51-26 with 3:30 remaining in the third.
Whitehouse responded with a 68-yard drive capped by Khyree Key's 2-yard touchdown run on the second play of the fourth quarter.
But John Tyler scored on its two next series -- 14-yard pass from Smith to Gross and 1-yard run from Tre Allison.
Gross' punt return for a touchdown gave JT a 7-0 first-quarter lead, and that was followed less than three minutes later on Smith's 64-yard bomb to Miller, increasing the Lions' lead to 14-0.
Bullard's 4-yard scoring pass to Trent Williams on the ensuing possession cut into the lead, 14-6, but after Gross' 42-yard kickoff return, Henderson raced 43 yards to the end zone to give the Lions a 21-6 lead late in the opening quarter.
Whitehouse's Javier Neal intercepted Smith on JT's next series, and the Wildcats scored on Braylon Shackelford's 2-yard run to cut the deficit to 21-12.
But JT responded quickly. On the second play of the Lions' ensuing drive, Smith delivered a strike to Miller for a 39-yard touchdown.
The teams exchanged turnovers on the next series, and Leonard blocked his first punt out of the back of the end zone for a John Tyler safety, which increased the Lions' lead to 30-12.
Whitehouse and John Tyler traded touchdowns on the proceeding possessions. The Wildcats scored on Bullard's 13-yard pass to Williams, while JT answered on Smith's 4-yard touchdown run, which pushed the Lions' lead to 37-19 with nine seconds remaining in the half.
That set the stage for Whitehouse's hook-and-ladder touchdown right before halftime.
Each team continues district play next Friday night. John Tyler travels to Lindale (3-1, 1-0), while Whitehouse plays host to Lufkin (2-2, 1-0).
John Tyler 65, Whitehouse 33
At Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler
Whitehouse 6 20 0 7 -- 33
John Tyler 21 16 14 14 -- 65
JT--Duntayviun Gross 46 punt return (Devan Salazar kick), 7:14.
JT--Damion Miller 64 pass from Bryson Smith (Salazar kick), 4:27.
WHI--Trent Williams 4 pass from Collin Bullard (kick failed), 2:19.
JT--Ka'Darius Henderson 43 run (Salazar kick), 1:54.
WHI--Braylon Shackelford 2 run (pass failed), 9:06.
JT--Miller 39 pass from Smith (Salazar kick), 8:44.
JT--Safety, Pierre Leonard blocked punt, 4:48.
WHI--Williams 13 pass from Bullard (Eddie Godina kick), 1:38.
JT--Smith 4 run (Salazar kick), :09.
WHI--Zi Coffer 50 pass from Bullard (Godina kick), :00.
JT--Jesse Darden 4 pass from Smith (Salazar kick), 7:26.
JT--Miller 40 pass from Smith (Salazar kick), 3:30.
WHI--Khyree Key 2 run (Godina kick), 11:52.
JT--Gross 14 pass from Smith (Salazar kick), 9:55.
JT--Tre Allison 1 run (Salazar kick), 8:09.
First Downs 28 26
Total Yards 519 650
Rushes-Yards 42-193 42-285
Passing Yards 326 365
Comp.-Att.-Int. 26-39-1 17-22-1
Punts-Avg. 4-42.0 1-37.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 4-3
Penalties-Yards 23-187 19-183
RUSHING--Whitehouse, Collin Bullard 21-121, Zi Coffer 9-41, Braylon Shackelford 3-19, Khyree Key 5-11, Shemar Smith 1-9, Isaac Little 1-2, Team 2-(-10). John Tyler, Bryson Smith 13-120, Ka'Darius Henderson 9-108, Tre Allison 9-32, Dejuan Beal 9-25, Jamal Cuba 1-1, Pierre Leonard 1-(-1).
PASSING--Whitehouse, Bullard 26-39-1--326. John Tyler, Smith 13-18-1--321, Cuba 4-4-0--44.
RECEIVING--Whitehouse, Little 6-43, Zach Parker 5-56, Trent Williams 4-56, Tanner Roach 4-50, Coffer 2-58, Smith 2-14, DeMontre Else 2-12, Seth Dolan 1-37. John Tyler, Damion Miller 5-177, James Allen 3-70, Michael Washington 3-49, Duntayviun Gross 3-43, Joshua Parker 1-11, Henderson 1-9, Jerry Young 1-2.