PREVIEW: John Tyler Travels to District-Leading Mesquite Horn
John Tyler Lions (5-3, 3-2)
Mesquite Horn Jaguars (7-1, 5-0)
7:30 p.m. Friday
E.H. Hanby Stadium, Mesquite
- John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
- Mesquite Horn: Mike Overton
- John Tyler: lost to Longview, 28-19
- Mesquite Horn: def. North Mesquite, 66-14
- John Tyler: vs. Tyler Lee, Nov. 10
- Mesquite Horn: at Rockwall-Heath, Nov. 10
- LB Tre Allison, Sr., 6-2, 220 (76 tackles, 2 INTs, 3 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery; committed to SMU)
- DL/LB DeKalen Goodson, Sr., 6-3, 215 (33 tackles, 8 for loss, 4 sacks, 4 QB pressures, 1 PBU; committed to Houston)
- WR Ke'Andre Street, Jr., 6-4, 195 (28 catches, 656 yards, 9 TDs)
- QB K'Lon Warren, Jr., 5-10, 175 (47 of 71, 768 yards, 10 TDs, 3 INTs; 40 carries, 44 yards, 0 TDs)
- WR/DB Michael Givens-Washington, Sr., 5-9, 175 (30 catches, 422 yards, 3 TDs; 16 tackles, 2 INTs, 2 PBUs)
- WR Devlen Woods, Jr., 5-8, 170 (6 catches, 108 yards, 1 TD; 42 carries, 121 yards, 0 TDs)
- OL Chance Billington, Jr., 6-3, 280 (committed to SMU)
- RB Kitan Crawford, Soph., 5-10, 170 (24 carries, 171 yards, 0 TDs; 2 catches, 62 yards, 0 TDs)
- WR/LB Maureese Wren, Sr., 6-3, 215 (38 catches, 623 yards, 9 TDs; 8 sacks, 4 QB pressures)
- DB BeeJay Williamson, Sr., 6-1, 180 (45 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 INTs, 5 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery; committed to Louisiana Tech)
- DB Brodrick Calhoun, Sr., 5-10, 165 (34 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 INTs, 3 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- QB Jermaine Givens, Jr., 6-0, 187 (109 of 182, 1,709 yards, 19 TDs, 4 INTs; 109 carries, 909 yards, 15 TDs)
- LB Michael Richmond, Sr., 5-9, 195 (38 tackles, 4 QB pressures, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble)
- RB Esaias Taylor, Jr., 5-10, 190 (91 carries, 555 yards, 8 TDs; 11 catches, 121 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Cornell Caldwell, 5-8, 160 (28 catches, 551 yards, 8 TDs; 4 carries, 56 yards, 0 TDs)
- LB Cameron Schmitz, Sr., 5-9, 210 (60 tackles, 5 for loss, 2 sacks, 3 PBUs)
Just the facts
- This is the 10th all-time meeting between John Tyler and Mesquite Horn. John Tyler leads the series, 6-3.
- John Tyler won last year's meeting, 69-22.
- John Tyler is averaging 30.8 points and 369 yards per game -- 170.6 rushing and 198.4 passing.
- Six Lions players have carried the ball at least 20 times on the season.
- John Tyler is allowing 26.3 points per game, and has forced 11 turnovers -- seven interceptions and four fumbles.
- Mesquite Horn is averaging 47.3 points and 471.5 yards per game -- 257.9 rushing and 213.6 passing.
- Jaguars senior Maureese Wren has 24 Division I FBS scholarship offers.
- Mesquite Horn is allowing 26.5 points per game, and has forced 21 turnovers -- eight interceptions and 13 fumbles.
Key matchup: John Tyler rushing attack vs. Mesquite Horn defensive front. The Lions have had difficulty getting the running game on track in recent weeks, and it's had an adverse reaction to the entire offense. Since a 500-yard rushing outburst in Week 1 against Plano West, John Tyler is averaging just 122.3 yards on the ground per game. In last week's 28-19 loss to Longview, which snapped the Lions' three-game district winning streak, John Tyler tied a season low with just 102 rushing yards. Injuries have certainly played a role in the decreased output. Starting running back Cameron Grant missed three games because of a concussion, backup back Roderick Hawkins has been out the previous two weeks, and midseason move of quarterback Devlen Woods to receiver has affected the ground attack as well.
Sophomore Kitan Crawford has been forced into action because of all this, and he was the team's leading rusher last week with 41 yards on five carries. He'll likely play a bigger role this week against Mesquite Horn, which might have the district's most explosive offense.
Horn junior quarterback Jermaine Givens has been 11-6A's most productive player in 2017. He comes into Friday's game with more than 2,600 yards of total offense, and has accounted for 34 Jaguars touchdowns. In the passing game, he relies on a pair of talented targets in Maureese Wren and Cornell Caldwell, who have combined for 1,174 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns.
John Tyler must be able to limit the amount of time Horn has the ball, or it could be a long night for the Lions. The best way to accomplish this is to rediscover a running game that's been trending in the wrong direction.
Don't be surprised if: John Tyler features star linebacker Tre Allison more on offense. He's been getting carries inside the 10-yard line, while taking direct snaps from the center. But it wouldn't be surprising to see Allison more often in short-yardage situations on third and fourth down. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, he is a load to bring down. And if Allison is able to break a few long runs in the early portion of the game, we might see John Tyler stick with the hot hand. This might seem like a desperate move on the Lions' part, but JT is in desperation mode. There is no guarantee John Tyler will reach the playoffs without a win Friday night, especially if district tiebreaker points come into play.