PREVIEW: League Title on Line as John Tyler Meets Mesquite Poteet
DISTRICT 7-5A DIVISION I
John Tyler Lions (5-2, 4-0)
Mesquite Poteet Pirates (7-1, 4-0)
7 p.m. Friday
E.H. Hanby Stadium, Mesquite
- John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes
- Poteet: Kody Groves
- John Tyler: def. McKinney North, 28-25
- Poteet: def. West Mesquite, 41-19
- John Tyler: vs. Sherman, Nov. 9
- Poteet: at McKinney North, Nov. 8
Players to watch
- WR Ke'Andre Street, Sr., 6-2, 200 (15 catches, 410 yards, 4 TDs; committed to Houston)
- RB Roderick Hawkins, Sr., 5-8, 190 (83 carries, 772 yards, 6 TDs; 6 catches, 95 yards)
- RB/CB Cameron Grant, Sr., 5-10, 185 (43 carries, 429 yards, 6 TDs; 26 tackles, 1 for loss, 1 INT, 9 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
- OL Chance Billington, Sr., 6-4, 275 (committed to Louisiana-Monroe)
- QB Devlen Woods, Sr., 5-8, 170 (51 of 93, 1,089 yards, 11 TDs, 3 INTs; 35 carries, 138 yards, 2 TDs)
- RB Ka'Darian Asbell, Sr., 5-10, 210 (21 carries, 248 yards, 2 TDs)
- DE Christian Hartsfield, Sr., 5-10, 221 (41 tackles, 11 for loss, 6 sacks, 1 blocked punt)
- DT Ja'Bralen Yarber, Sr., 6-1, 280 (41 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks, 12 QB pressures; committed to Northwestern State)
- RB Seth McGowan, Jr., 5-11, 200 (125 carries, 1,065 yards, 16 TDs; 5 catches, 37 yards)
- WR Cam Lampkin, Sr., 5-10, 165 (11 catches, 301 yards, 4 TDs; 5 carries, 50 yards; committed to Utah State)
- LB Bershard Glaspie, Sr., 6-0, 195 (33 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 PBUs; committed to Tulsa)
- TE Kameron Allen, Soph., 6-4, 190 (8 catches, 59 yards)
- QB Dalton Dale, Sr., 5-11, 170 (67 of 106, 1,132 yards, 13 TDs, 5 INTs; 43 carries, 322 yards, 3 TDs)
- WR Devon Martin, Soph., 6-5, 240 (13 catches, 218 yards, 4 TDs)
- FS Jalen Hodo, Jr., 6-0, 173 (74 tackles, 1 for loss, 2 INTs, 1 PBU, 1 fumble recovery)
- LB Jalen Updite, Jr., 6-2, 190 (48 tackles, 8 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 PBU)
Just the facts
- John Tyler is averaging 34.9 points and 449.9 per game -- 268.6 rushing and 181.3 passing.
- Lions senior running back Roderick Hawkins has four, 100-yard rushing games this season.
- The Lions' two losses this season have come to Class 6A programs Cedar Hill (57-7) and Longview (41-13), who are a combined 15-1 this year.
- John Tyler is allowing 26 points per game, has 22 sacks, and has forced eight turnovers -- three interceptions and five fumbles.
- Mesquite Poteet is averaging 38.6 points and 376.7 yards per game -- 214.9 rushing and 161.8 passing.
- Pirates junior running back Seth McGowan has 23 Division I FBS scholarships, a list that includes Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, and Wisconsin.
- The Pirates' only loss this season came in Week 1 to Denton Ryan (28-14), which is ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Class 5A poll.
- Mesquite Poteet is allowing 19.8 points per game, has 17 sacks, and has forced 12 turnovers -- six interceptions and six fumbles.
Key matchup: John Tyler rushing attack vs. Poteet defensive front. While the base offensive formation might be different, the current John Tyler Lions have harkened back to the days of "ground and pound," made famous by former head coach Allen Wilson in the 1990's. Head coach Ricklan Holmes, a Wilson disciple, has returned the Lions' offense to its roots with a powerful rushing attack that has become the heartbeat of the team. Running backs Roderick Hawkins, Cameron Grant, and Ka'Darian Asbell have combined for 1,449 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in seven games, as JT enters Friday's showdown at Mesquite Poteet averaging almost 270 yards per game on the ground. John Tyler will throw it occasionally as it averages 16 passing attempts per game, but if the Lions are going to have success, their running game will need to be at the forefront.
Mesquite Poteet's best chance on defense is to find a way to force John Tyler out of its comfort zone, which would include a heavy dose of Lions quarterback Devlen Woods passing attempts. And in order to accomplish that, the Pirates must ensure JT's rushing attack has as little effect on the game as possible. For the season, Poteet allows opponents almost 175 rushing yards per game. If the Pirates' defense can meet that average Friday night, Poteet should have an excellent chance at defeating John Tyler and capturing the district championship.
Don't be surprised if: Poteet junior running back Seth McGowan carries the ball at least 30 times Friday night. In games of this magnitude, teams usually put the ball in the hands of their most important offensive player as much as it can. McGowan had a season-high 27 carries and tied a season-best with 239 rushing yards last week in the Pirates' 41-19 win over West Mesquite. Poteet head coach Kody Groves knows the season is coming to an end with a district title right in front of him. A win this week will give the Pirates the league crown, so expect McGowan -- the owner of more than 20 Division I scholarship offers -- to have a major impact on the game's outcome.