MESQUITE -- On a night where John Tyler's offense was mostly stagnant, Frankie Sanchez came to the rescue.

Time and again when a JT drive stalled, Sanchez, the punter and kicker, found a way to put Lancaster in difficult situations. He twice pinned the Tigers against their own end zone. The first time, Ja'Bralen Yarber forced a safety and the second Ashton Williams recovered a fumble. Both plays loomed large in the Lions' 22-10 victory in the 5A Division I area playoff game Saturday.

As coach Ricklan Holmes reflected postgame, he said Sanchez had the biggest impact of any player.

“Frankie Sanchez was the player of the game to me," Holmes said. "Best play was back here when they had us pinned deep, we fumbled the snap and it could have easily turned into a bad situation. Frankie is a very smart, football-savvy kid. He’s a great soccer player and kicker, but he has a good football sense. For him to get out of that situation and still sick to his guns and punt the way he punted, that just lets you know that sometime next year, he’s going to be a college football kicker.”

Sanchez turned the busted play Holmes referred to into a 67 yard punt. He rarely had a bad punt all evening, averaging 38.7 yards per punt on nine attempts. He also made both of his field goal attempts, one from 36 yards and one from 24.

The first time he pinned Lancaster at its own 1 after the Lions went three-and-out to start the second half. After two plays, Yarber tackled Tiger running back Tre Bradford in the end zone for the safety with 10:22 in the third.

He punted to the 3-yard line the second time, and Williams recovered the fumble at the 2. Although JT failed to score a touchdown, Sanchez also kicked the 24-yard field goal to close the drive with 8:57 left in the game.

“I know they’re important, but I’m just trying to do my job," Sanchez said. "Just like everybody else. If that happens, we’ll be just fine.”

Lancaster (7-4) opened the scoring with a 30-yard field goal from Jossue Lopez with 4:24 left in the first quarter. It took JT another quarter to respond, but the Lions finally did with 4:24 in the second. After a fumble recovery from Dareion Warren at the 20 gave the offense a short field, Roderick Hawkins eventually scored a 1-yard touchdown run, giving the Lions 7-3 lead that they would never relinquish.

John Tyler (9-2) wouldn't score a touchdown again until late in the fourth quarter, after Lancaster's Majik Rector caught a 6-yard touchdown to trim the Lions' lead to 15-10. The offense responded with a 73-yard touchdown pass from Devlen Woods to Anthony Miner, the biggest play of the night for either team. That gave JT enough breathing room, as its defense closed out the game with an interception from Kitan Crawford.

Take away the 73-yard touchdown and John Tyler finishes with only 186 yards of total offense. It went 2-of-15 on third down and running back Roderick Hawkins 0.9 yards per carry on 19 attempts. It was a far cry from the offense that averaged more than 500 yards in the three games prior.

“(The struggles) had a little bit to do with what their defense was doing but a lot to do with what we were doing," Holmes said. "I felt like we didn’t sustain blocks that we normally would sustain. A lot of that had to do with the speed of their defense, but that’s something we have to adjust better to. We had great drives going but once again, penalties. That came from us, not them.”

Devlen Woods finished 5-of-23 for 111 yards passing and one touchdown. He also rushed  for 75 yards.

The defense forced Lancaster to go just 4-of-15 on third down and 1-of-4 on fourth down. The Lions also forced four turnovers in the victory.

John Tyler moves on to the Region II semifinal, where it will face Frisco Lone Star (10-2) at 2 p.m. next Saturday at John Kincaide Stadium in Dallas.

John Tyler 22, Lancaster 10

Class 5A Division I, Region III Area Playoff
At Mesquite Memorial Stadium, Mesquite

Lancaster         3    0      0      7    –    10
John Tyler            0      7    5    10    –    22

First Quarter
LAN – Jossue Lopez 30 field goal, 4:24.
Second Quarter
JT – Roderick Hawkins 1 run (Frankie Sanchez kick), 4:29.
Third Quarter
JT—Ja'Bralen Yarber safety, 10:22.
JT—Sanchez 36 field goal, 2:17.
Fourth Quarter
JT—Sanchez 24 field goal, 8:57.
LAN—Majik Rector 6 pass from Derrick Cooper (Lopez kick), 4:55.
JT—Anthony Miner 73 pass from Devlen Woods (Sanchez kick), 4:04.

                                     LAN                  JT
First Downs                     18                     7
Total Yards                      338                  259
Rushes-Yards               40-116             37-148
Passing Yards                  222                  111
Comp.-Att.-Int.             18-45-2             4-22-2
Punts-Avg.                    5-32.4              9-38.7
Fumbles-Lost                   3-2                  1-1
Penalties-Yards                9-58               12-84

RUSHING—Lancaster, Tre Bradford 19-59, Derrick Cooper 13-24, DQ James 6-21, Ketron Jackson 1-13, Kourtney Washignton 1-(-1). John Tyler, Devlen Woods 9-75, Kitap Crawford 1-34, Ka'Darian Asbell 7-20, Roderick Hawkins 19-17, Cameron 1-2.
PASSING—Lancaster, Cooper 18-45-2--222. John Tyler, Woods 4-22-2--111.
RECEIVING—Lancaster, Latrell Capels 4-68, Majik Rector 5-44, Bradford 2-31, Chris Green 2-26, Cameron Camper 2-21, LD Fair 2-18, Tarion Landers 1-14.  John Tyler, Anthony Miner 1-73, K'Lon Warren 2-22, Ke'Andre Street 1-13, Hawkins 1-3.

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