John Tyler + Lufkin Look To Remain Perfect in 16-5A When Old Rivals Tangle Friday Night
John Tyler Lions (2-3, 2-0)
Lufkin Panthers (3-2, 2-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Abe Martin Stadium, Lufkin
- John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
- Lufkin: Todd Quick
- John Tyler: vs. Ennis, Oct. 16
- Lufkin: vs. Lindale, Oct. 16
- WR/DB Damion Miller, Jr., 6-2, 205 (13 catches, 283 yards, 4 TDs; 20 tackles, 3 PBUs; committed to Texas)
- OL/DL Braylon Jones, Sr., 6-3, 285 (21 tackles, 1 for loss, 5 QB pressures; committed to Houston)
- OL Adrian Harris, Sr., 6-3, 290
- QB Bryson Smith, Jr., 6-0, 170 (62 of 110, 968 yards, 7 TDs, 4 INTs; 74 carries, 612 yards, 8 TDs)
- DB Bryston Gipson, Sr., 5-11, 175 (40 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT, 3 PBUs, 1 blocked kick)
- WR Duntayviun Gross, Sr., 5-10, 160 (27 catches, 393 yards, 2 TDs)
- DL Pierre Leonard, Sr., 5-9, 250 (27 tackles, 6 for loss, 2 sacks, 10 QB pressures, 3 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 2 blocked punts)
- LB Shaundrick Williams, Jr., 6-0, 215 (40 tackles)
- DL/OLB Bronson "Boom" Massie, Sr., 6-3, 210
- OL Jerrod Johnson, Sr., 6-3, 285
- QB Kordell Rodgers, Jr., 6-0, 175 (81 of 128, 1,272 yards, 14 TDs, 5 INTs; 59 carries, 271 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Dhailon Phillips, Jr., 6-3, 195 (23 catches, 451 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB Ellis Jackson, Sr., 5-8, 170 (80 carries, 476 yards, 1 TD; 7 catches, 127 yards, 1 TD)
- WR/DB Jeremiah Davis, Soph., 6-0, 175 (9 catches, 108 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Malik Jackson, Soph., 5-11, 175 (19 catches, 276 yards, 1 TD)
- DB LaVante White, Sr., 6-1, 170
Just the facts
- This is the 56th meeting between John Tyler and Lufkin. John Tyler leads the all-time series, 27-25-3.
- The cumulative record of John Tyler's opponents this season is 14-13, while the combined record of Lufkin opponents is 14-12.
- John Tyler is averaging 32.8 points and 392 yards per game --- 189.2 rushing and 202.8 passing.
- The Lions are allowing 37.4 points and 450 yards per game -- 285.2 rushing and 164.8 passing.
- John Tyler is 17-2 in district games under coach Ricklan Holmes.
- Lufkin is averaging 38.6 points and 458.8 yards per game -- 200 rushing and 258.8 passing.
- The Panthers are allowing 23.4 points and 388.2 yards per game -- 237.8 rushing and 150.4 passing.
- Lufkin is 15-6 in district games under coach Todd Quick.
Key matchup: John Tyler rushing attack vs. Lufkin defensive front. When the Lions run the ball effectively, good things usually happen. When JT was struggling through an 0-3 start to the season, many of the Lions' offensive woes could be traced to their lack of a consistent running game. But since the calendar has turned to the district season, it's been a different story. In 16-5A wins over Whitehouse and Lindale, John Tyler has racked up 485 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground -- an average of more than 240 rushing yards per game. During the Lions' first three games, they managed 153.7 per outing. Most of JT's early-season rushing production came from junior quarterback Bryson Smith, but the Lions have since incorporated a few others into the ground attack. Seniors Ka'Darius Henderson, Dejuan Beal, and James Allen have all logged carries in addition to sophomore Tre Allison. The Lions will need a good effort from their backs on Friday night if JT wishes to remain unbeaten in league play.
After struggling containing opposing offenses' rushing attacks through the first three weeks of the season, the Lufkin Panthers have transformed into an elite run-stopping unit of late. In its two league wins over Nacogdoches and Whitehouse, the Panthers have allowed less than 100 rushing yards combined. As a result, Lufkin has yielded only three points thus far in district play. It all starts up front where seniors Eric Smallwood and Bronson "Boom" Massie anchor a physical and athletic defensive front. If Lufkin can contain JT's suddenly potent ground attack, the Panthers will be able to turn their pass rushers loose on Smith, and be in a much better position to create turnovers.
Lufkin's been explosive on the offensive side of the ball as well, so it would be prudent for John Tyler to sustain long drives with a ball-control ground game that keeps the Panthers' offense off the field.
Don't be surprised if: There are multiple big plays for touchdowns in the passing game for both teams. Both John Tyler and Lufkin contain weapons at both quarterback and receiver that can often times lead to shootouts. Smith, while dangerously elusive as a runner, has burned opposing defenses with deep air strikes to a fleet of talented receivers. The biggest playmaker in the JT receiving corps is junior Damion Miller, a Texas commit, who has a team-best four touchdown receptions and averages more than 21 yards per catch. Lufkin, meanwhile, has Kordell Rogers behind center, and the talented junior has already developed a reputation as one of the area's best when it comes to deep-ball accuracy. The Panthers are similarly talented at receiver, getting contributions from junior Dhailon Phillips, and an exciting sophomore duo featuring Malik Jackson and Jeremiah Davis.