PREVIEW: John Tyler Meets Defending State Champ Highland Park
CLASS 5A DIVISION I
No. 2 Highland Park Scots (13-0)
John Tyler Lions (11-2)
1 p.m. Saturday
Ford Center, Frisco
- Highland Park: Randy Allen
- John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
- Highland Park: def. Mansfield Timberview, 52-0
- John Tyler: def. Frisco Lone Star, 31-13
- Winner vs. Birdville or Ryan, 5A Division I state semifinal
Players to watch
- QB Chandler Morris, Jr., 6-0, 170 (202-of-315, 3,227 yards, 33 TDs, 4 INTs; 94 carries, 481 yards, 12 TDs)
- RB Benner Page, Sr., 5-11, 175 (137 carries, 788 yards, 6 TDs; 16 catches, 279 yards, 2 TDs)
- WR Finnegan Corwin, Sr., 5-10, 165 (61 catches, 1,322 yards, 13 TDs)
- DL Prince Dorbah, Sr., 6-4, 215 (72 tackles, 27 for loss, 15 sacks, 15 QB hurries)
- DB Hudson Clark, Sr., 6-1, 170 (30 tackles, 3 for loss, 6 INTs, 5 PBUs)
- DL Jon Jurgovan, Sr., 6-3, 240 (76 tackles, 9 for loss, 6 sacks, 6 QB hurries, 2 forced fumbles)
- WR Ke'Andre Street, Sr., 6-2, 200 (33 catches, 876 yards, 10 TDs; committed to Houston)
- RB Roderick Hawkins, Sr., 5-8, 190 (154 carries, 1,270 yards, 11 TDs; 13 catches, 181 yards, 1 TDs)
- RB/CB Cameron Grant, Sr., 5-10, 185 (77 carries, 550 yards, 9 TDs; 43 tackles, 3 for loss, 3 INTs, 18 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
- OL Chance Billington, Sr., 6-4, 275 (committed to Louisiana-Monroe)
- QB Devlen Woods, Sr., 5-8, 170 (105-of-184, 2,093 yards, 23 TDs, 6 INTs; 76 carries, 475 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB Ka'Darian Asbell, Sr., 5-10, 210 (35 carries, 338 yards, 3 TDs)
- DE Christian Hartsfield, Sr., 5-10, 221 (71 tackles, 15 for loss, 7 sacks, 1 blocked punt)
- DT Ja'Bralen Yarber, Sr., 6-1, 280 (54 tackles, 8 for loss, 2 sacks, 18 QB pressures; committed to Northwestern State)
- LB Jarrius Lane, 5-11, 210 (91 tackles, 9.5 for loss, 6.5 sacks)
Just the facts
- Highland Park is 5-2 all-time against John Tyler.
- Highland Park is averaging 412.2 yards per game (260.8 passing and 151.4 rushing).
- Scots quarterback Chandler Morris is the son of current Arkansas associate head coach and former Gilmer coach Chad Morris.
- If Highland Park defensive end Prince Dorbah were an East Texas player, his 15 sacks would rank second in the area behind only Jayden Jacobs (17).
- John Tyler is averaging 445.8 yards per game (188.6 passing and 257.2 rushing).
- Since the playoffs started, John Tyler has allowed only 13.3 points per game.
- Lions receiver Ke'Andre Street is averaging 26.5 yards per reception.
Key matchup: John Tyler offense against the Highland Park defense. John Tyler has been up and down on offense in the playoffs. After a tough outing against Lancaster, the Lions rebounded with a balanced effort in last week's victory against Frisco Lone Star. They will hope the momentum from that performance will carry over into this game. If the Lions can get solid production from Roderick Hawkins and Cameron Grant, the offense will open up for Devlen Woods to make plays to receivers Ke'Andre Street and K'Lon Warren.
Getting the offense going couldn't be more critical against a Highland Park defense giving up just 11 points per game. Prince Dorbah has been a menace for opposing quarterbacks this season with 15 sacks so far. Jon Jurgovan joins him to form a solid defensive line. In the secondary, the Lions will have to worry about Hudson Clark, who already has six interceptions this season.
If JT is able to find its stride again, it could stand a chance abasing the defending 5A D-II champs. If not, it's going to be a long night.
Don't be surprised if: John Tyler's defense comes up solid again. The Lions' defense has been consistent throughout the playoffs. JT has given up just 13.3 points per game since the postseason began. Ja'Bralen Yarber and Jarrius Lane hold down the defensive line. Roy Lampton deliver big hits. Grant aids the secondary. Last week, it worked like a charm against Frisco Lone Star. The Lions held Marvin Mims, a receiver who exploded for 253 yards and three touchdowns against Lufkin the week prior, without a catch. After Lone Star opened the scoring, JT held them scoreless for 31 unanswered points. The challenge will be great this week, but the Lions' defense has shown it is up for any task thus far.