PREVIEW: John Tyler Opens 11-6A Against Rockwall
John Tyler Lions (2-1)
Rockwall Yellowjackets (1-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Wilkerson-Sanders Memorial Stadium, Rockwall
- John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
- Rockwall: Rodney Webb
- John Tyler: lost to Lufkin, 44-34
- Rockwall: lost to Southlake Carroll, 52-38
- John Tyler: vs. North Mesquite, Sept. 29
- Rockwall: at Rockwall-Heath, Sept. 29
- DL DeKalen Goodson, Sr., 6-3, 215 (18 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 sack, 2 QB pressures; committed to Houston)
- LB Tre Allison, Sr., 6-2, 220 (30 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 PBU; committed to SMU)
- RB Cameron Grant, Jr., 5-9, 175 (41 carries, 341 yards, 2 TDs; 2 catches, 25 yards, 1 TD)
- OL Chance Billington, Jr., 6-3, 280 (committed to SMU)
- QB Devlen Woods, Jr., 5-8, 165 (39 of 64, 608 yards, 9 TDs, 1 INT; 28 carries, 106 yards, 0 TDs)
- WR Ke'Andre Street, Jr., 6-4, 195 (11 catches, 248 yards, 4 TDs)
- RB Roderick Hawkins, Jr., 5-8, 190 (20 carries, 203 yards, 3 TDs; 4 catches, 41 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Michael Givens-Washington, Sr., 5-8, 165 (11 catches, 114 yards, 1 TD)
- LB Alston Orji, Sr., 6-2, 230 (26 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles; committed to Vanderbilt)
- LB Blake Barron, Sr., 6-0, 230 (32 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 7 QB pressures; committed to Oklahoma State)
- QB Jacob Clark, Jr., 6-5, 210 (65 of 97, 1,036 yards, 10 TDs, 1 INT)
- WR Jaxon Smith, Soph., 5-11, 165 (31 catches, 521 yards, 2 TDs; 1 carry, 2 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Cameron Crayton, Sr., 6-2, 190 (23 catches, 329 yards, 5 TDs)
- DB Anfernee Orji, Jr., 6-1, 197 (23 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT, 4 PBUs)
- LB/DL Korrey Barron, Sr., 6-0, 220 (14 tackles, 1 for loss)
- RB Loyer Bailey, Sr., 5-11, 200 (47 carries, 362 yards, 4 TDs)
Just the facts
- John Tyler is 28-3 in district games under head coach Ricklan Holmes.
- In last season's meeting, a 59-58 Rockwall win, the two teams combined for 1,213 yards of total offense.
- John Tyler is averaging 36.7 points and 455 yards per game -- 247.7 rushing and 207.3 passing.
- Lions quarterback Devlen Woods has thrown seven touchdown passes with no interceptions in his last two games.
- John Tyler's defense is allowing 26.7 points per game, and has forced six turnovers -- four interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
- Rockwall is averaging 44 points and 497.7 yards per game -- 148.7 rushing and 349 passing.
- Yellowjackets quarterback Jacob Clark has thrown 10 touchdown passes to four different receivers.
- Rockwall is allowing 49.7 points and 496 yards per game -- 250.7 rushing and 245.3 passing.
Key matchup: Rockwall passing attack vs. John Tyler secondary. Despite losing its starting quarterback and top receiver from 2016, the Yellowjackets' passing game hasn't dropped much, if at all, in production. Rockwall comes into Friday's District 11-6A opener against John Tyler averaging nearly 350 passing yards per game.
The trigger man is junior quarterback Jacob Clark, who has already surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in three games, and has thrown 10 touchdown passes. The bulk of the receiving numbers are put by the duo of sophomore Jaxon Smith and senior Cameron Crayton, who are responsible for all but 197 receiving yards and three touchdown catches.
If John Tyler is to find its way back into the win column, it must find away to keep Clark and the Rockwall receivers at bay.
The Lions opened with strong defensive performances against Plano West and Ennis. However, both of those opponents are a combined 0-6 on the season. In last week's loss to Lufkin, John Tyler's defense held up against the Panthers' passing attack by yielding just 93 yards and coming away with an interception. Lufkin did, however, rack up more than 300 yards on the ground.
It will be interesting to see how the Lions' defense responds to a pass-first offense like Rockwall.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game materializes into a shootout. As mentioned above, the two teams engaged in an offensive fireworks display for the ages in 2016, which featured a combined 115 points and 1,200 yards of offense. Rockwall certainly has the capability of lighting up defenses, as evidenced by its production through the season's first three weeks.
John Tyler is also no slouch on offense. The Lions come in the more balanced offensive attack, averaging more than 200 yards both rushing and passing. JT junior running backs Cameron Grant and Roderick Hawkins will carry the load in the backfield, while junior quarterback Devlen Woods has dazzled as a passer in his debut season as the starter.