DALLAS -- After missing the playoffs last season, Cujo appears to be back in full force.

John Tyler, wearing its traditional playoff jerseys with "Cujo" stitched on the front, took a quarter to get going Saturday, but once it did, there was no looking back. The Lions used a big second half to pull away from Frisco Lone Star, 31-13 in a 5A Division I Region II semifinal game at John Kincaide Stadium.

After the Rangers opened up scoring with an 11-yard touchdown run on a quarterback keeper from Julian Larry, JT (10-2) began its run. The Lions scored 31 unanswered points to put the game out of reach.

The offensive showing was comforting after a lackluster performance against Lancaster the week before. JT finished with 361 total yards and nearly doubled the first downs of Lone Star (10-3).

“We kind of got relaxed going into the Lancaster game," quarterback Devlen Woods said. "(Afterward) it was like, ‘This could be our last.’ Our defense bailed us out last game, so we knew we had to play a complete football game.”

Woods led that effort, finishing 12-of-21 for 137 yards and two total touchdowns. He also added 62 yards rushing on 12 carries.

More importantly, he delivered one of the biggest plays of the game in the third quarter.

Rolling to his left, it appeared he was going to break off on another scramble. But at the last second, he let the ball fly and it fell into the hands of a wide open Ke'Andre Street. Street took the ball 73 yards to the end zone, but was later ruled to have stepped out at the 31.

The play, however, provided the momentum JT needed. Cameron Grant ended up finishing off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run a few plays later. That put the Lions up two touchdowns with 6:15 left in the quarter and seemed to be the turning point in the game.

“I rolled out and I was like, ‘Should I run or should I throw it?'" Woods said. "He got open so I threw the ball. I’m an athlete. In practice, I make plays like that. It just comes natural out here.”

The Lions' defense also continued to recent run of success, keeping Lone Star's best players in check. After Ranger receiver Marvin Mims torched Lufkin for 253 yards and three touchdowns last week, JT held him without a catch Saturday. Aside from a 75-yard touchdown pass after the Lions had gone up 24 points, Larry finished just 1-of-11 for 7 yards.

“We don’t let the best players on the team beat you," coach Ricklan Holmes said. "We felt like the best players were (Julian Larry) and (Marvin Mims). We saw what (Mims) did to Lufkin last week and we weren’t going to let him do that to us this week.”

Roderick Hawkins and Cameron Grant were also crucial in the victory, with a combined 110 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

John Tyler advances to the 5A D-I Region II final, where it will play reigning 5A D-II champion Highland Park at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Ford Center in Frisco.

Holmes said the team has plenty of work to do to prepare for a team like Highland Park. Still, after missing the playoffs last season, he can't help but take a moment to reflect on how far this team has come.

“It's emotional," he said. "As a coach, you love to see your kids get through it and overcome it. They’re overcoming everything that everybody thought they couldn’t do. Hats off to my kids, hats off to my coaching staff and the work that they put in is showing.”

John Tyler 31, Frisco Lone Star 13

Class 5A Division I, Region II Semifinal
At John Kincaide Stadium, Dallas

John Tyler    0    14     10   7   –    31
Frisco Lone Star     0      7    0    6    –    13

Second Quarter
FLS – Julian Larry 11 run (Harper Simmons kick), 9:40.
JT – Roderick Hawkins 52 run (Frankie Sanchez kick), 8:14.
JT – K'Lon Warren 14 pass from Devlen Woods (Sanchez kick), 0:07.
Third Quarter
JT—Cam Grant 4 run (Sanchez kick), 6:15.
JT—Sanchez 45 field goal, 0:46.
CAR – Tucker Smith 34 pass from Capps (Piedra kick), 0:23.
Fourth Quarter
JT—Devlen Woods 1 run (Sanchez kick), 7:25.
FLS—Jake Bogdon 75 pass from Julian Larry (Simmons kick), 7:12.

                                     JT                  FLS
First Downs                     15                     8
Total Yards                      361                 217
Rushes-Yards               41-224             36-135
Passing Yards                  137                  82
Comp.-Att.-Int.             12-21-0             2-12-0
Punts-Avg.                    4-42.0              7-30.9
Fumbles-Lost                   0-0                  0-0
Penalties-Yards                3-20               7-32

RUSHING—John Tyler, Roderick Hawkins 11-86, Devlen Woods 12-62, Kitap Crawford 5-51, Cameron Grant 12-24, Ka'Darian Asbell 1-1. Frisco Lone Star, Julian Larry 15-67, Darrin Smith 9-58, Marvin Mims 1-15, Team 1-(-5).
PASSING—John Tyler, Woods 12-21-0--137. Frisco Lone Star, Larry 2-12-0--82.
RECEIVING—John Tyler, Ke'Andre Street 4-62, Anthony Miner 2-40, K'Lon Warren 3-31, Grant 1-6, Hawkins 1-(-2).  Frisco Lone Star, Jake Bogdon 1-75, Smith 1-7.

More From East Texas Sports Network