Seventh-Ranked Mansfield Lake Ridge Overpowers + Eliminates John Tyler, 77-51
FORNEY -- The John Tyler Lions were up against it Saturday, literally. And not just the gusting winds of up to 30 mph, but the powerful rushing attack of Mansfield Lake Ridge as well.
Three ball Eagles carriers surpassed 100 rushing yards, helping No. 7 Lake Ridge run for 525 as a team in its 77-51 win over John Tyler in a Class 5A Division I area-round playoff at City Bank Stadium.
Lake Ridge (12-0) advanced to the regional semifinals where the Eagles will put their unbeaten record on the line against Mesquite Poteet at 9 p.m. Saturday from AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
John Tyler, which began the season with three consecutive losses, had its winning streak stop at eight games and ended the year at 8-4.
"I'm not going to look back on (this season)," said John Tyler coach Ricklan Holmes. "After today, I'm going to watch this film and I'm going to get ready for 2016."
The Lions played into the wind in the first and third quarters, and the northern gusts did a number on the JT offense as Lake Ridge outscored the Lions, 42-0, in the first and third periods.
"We still had to play football," Holmes said of the conditions. "That's what happens when you play outside, and you don't play inside. You've got to be able to overcome that, you've got to be able to deal with that."
John Tyler rallied to trail 35-23 at halftime, and sliced a 33-point deficit to 19 just seconds into the fourth quarter. But Lake Ridge, behind its three-headed monster in the backfield, put the game out of reach with three fourth-quarter scores.
Lake Ridge senior running back Duke Carter, a Louisiana-Monroe commit, led the charge with 197 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries. He also caught a 12-yard touchdown pass in the Eagles' 21-point first quarter.
"(Carter) is special," Holmes said. "They've got a big offensive line, and he knows how to use them. He picks his way through it, he sticks his foot in the ground, and he goes north and south pretty quick."
Eagles senior quarterback and Texas Tech pledge Jett Duffey's passing numbers were limited by the blustery atmosphere, but he still managed to run for 185 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. He completed only three passes on the day for 35 yards with an interception.
"(Duffey) and that running back are pretty special, and they both showed what they can do today," Holmes said. "Hopefully they move on next week against Mesquite Poteet, and they take care of business."
Lake Ridge fullback Gerard McClain got into the act as well, finishing with 147 yards and three fourth-quarter touchdown runs.
John Tyler junior quarterback Bryson Smith ran for a game-high 213 yards and four touchdowns on 29 attempts. He also threw for 177 yards with two touchdowns and an interception on 8-of-21 passing.
It was a solid performance from Smith, who was sacked five times on the afternoon.
"That comes with the weight I made sure he had to gain this summer to be able to take the punishment like that," Holmes said of Smith. "His body is built up for that, and mentally he's built up for it. Now, we've got to put a little pressure on the offensive linemen to make sure they don't get back there to put big hits on him."
Lions senior running back James Allen ran for 71 yards on seven carries, and caught two passes for 39 yards and a touchdown. JT junior receiver Damion Miller, committed to Texas, had two catches for 66 yards and a score.
John Tyler played without senior wideout and the team's receptions leader Duntayviun Gross, who was injured at practice earlier in the week.
"He had an ankle sprain that happened in practice on Wednesday, so he just wasn't ready to go today," Holmes said of Gross. "Offensively, it takes away a little bit of the dimensions we have as far as passing the ball. He's a special player, and he brings a lot of energy and playmaking ability to our offense. So we missed that today."
The game could not have started worse for John Tyler as Smith fumbled on the first play of the game, and Lake Ridge recovered at the Lions' 6-yard line. Duffey scored from 5 yards on second down for a 7-0 Eagles lead.
John Tyler had its chances to draw even, but had its ensuing drive end on downs at the Lake Ridge 20. Following an Eagles three-and-out, Ka'Darius Henderson returned a punt 37 yards to the Lake Ridge 12, but a sack for a 10-yard loss on third-and-long and an incompletion on fourth stopped JT in its tracks.
Lake Ridge took a 14-0 lead moments later on the first of Carter's touchdowns, a 53-yard sprint to the end zone. A JT three-and-out and 19-yard punt set Lake Ridge up at midfield on the next series, and Duffey connected with Carter for a 12-yard touchdown pass to give the Eagles a 21-0 lead with 1:30 to play in the opening quarter.
"That quick 21 points early put us in a hole," Holmes said. "And we fought, we kept playing, and we put ourselves in position to come out with a win."
JT had the wind in the second quarter, and the Lions used it to put up 23 points before the half.
After Frankie Sanchez's 35-yard field goal got JT on the board, the Lions' defense forced a three-and-out and took over at the Lake Ridge 26 after the wind caused a minus-2-yard punt. Smith scored on the first play to cut the lead to 21-10.
That's when Lake Ridge turned to Duffey, who rushed for 65 of the team's 75 yards on a seven-play scoring drive that ended with his 26-yard touchdown, which gave Lake Ridge a 28-10 lead with 7:26 to play in the half.
John Tyler's special teams hit a snag as two of its punts were blocked on consecutive possessions, one of which led to a Carter 24-yard touchdown run that pushed the Eagles' advantage to 35-10.
The Lions scored twice in a span of 21 seconds just before intermission when Smith capped a 74-yard march with a 7-yard touchdown run, which was followed by a Pierre Leonard fumble recovery and subsequent Smith 10-yard scoring burst, which trimmed the JT deficit to 35-23 at the break.
Lake Ridge scored on three of its four third-quarter possessions -- two runs by Carter and one from Duffey. Meanwhile, JT's offense mustered just 35 yards of offense on its first three drives of the third.
Smith hit Allen out of the backfield for a 29-yard touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter, and after the Lions recovered an onside kick, Smith connected with Miller for a 53-yard touchdown to cut Lake Ridge's lead to 56-37 with 11:35 remaining.
"That just goes with the team, the way they are," Holmes said. "They're not going to give up, they're going to keep fighting all the way until the end, and that's what you try to instill in young men. That was an adverse moment that we had today, and they kept fighting. And I'm proud of them for that."
Lake Ridge recovered the ensuing onside kick, and proceeded to score three more times in the fourth -- all McClain runs. JT's Smith added a 34-yard touchdown run, and Leonard provided the final score of the game with a 3-yard run with 1:42 remaining.
No. 7 Mansfield Lake Ridge 77, John Tyler 51
Class 5A Division I Region II Area Playoff
At City Bank Stadium, Forney
Lake Ridge 21 14 21 21 -- 77
John Tyler 0 23 0 28 -- 51
LR--Jett Duffey 5 run (Julio Olvera kick), 11:12.
LR--Duke Carter 53 run (Olvera kick), 4:30.
LR--Carter 12 pass from Duffey (Olvera kick), 1:30.
JT--FG Frankie Sanchez 35, 10:24.
JT--Bryson Smith 26 run (Sanchez kick), 9:21.
LR--Duffey 26 run (Olvera kick), 7:26.
LR--Carter 24 run (Olvera kick), 2:45.
JT--Smith 7 run (Sanchez kick), 1:34.
JT--Smith 10 run (kick failed), 1:13.
LR--Carter 6 run (Olvera kick), 10:57.
LR--Carter 3 run (Olvera kick), 5:12.
LR--Duffey 30 run (Olvera kick), 1:25.
JT--James Allen 29 pass from Smith (Sanchez kick), 11:44.
JT--Damion Miller 53 pass from Smith (Sanchez kick), 11:35.
LR--Gerard McClain 25 run (Olvera kick), 9:04.
LR--McClain 5 run (Olvera kick), 7:54.
JT--Smith 34 run (Sanchez kick), 6:12.
LR--McClain 47 run (Olvera kick), 4:36.
JT--Pierre Leonard 3 run (Sanchez kick), 1:42.
First Downs 25 19
Total Yards 560 497
Rushes-Yards 59-525 50-320
Passing Yards 35 177
Comp.-Att.-Int. 3-11-1 8-21-1
Punts-Avg. 2-21.5 3-13.7
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 3-35 7-55
RUSHING--Lake Ridge, Duke Carter 22-197, Jett Duffey 19-185, Gerard McClain 11-147, Adarius Freeman 1-3, Joseph Rowe 4-(-3), Jason Bean 2-(-4). John Tyler, Bryson Smith 29-213, James Allen 7-71, Ka'Darius Henderson 4-41, Dejuan Beal 5-12, Pierre Leonard 2-7, Damion Miller 1-(-1), Team 2-(-23).
PASSING--Lake Ridge, Duffey 3-11-1--35. John Tyler, Smith 8-21-1--177.
RECEIVING--Lake Ridge, Zach Jackson 1-24, Carter 1-12, Jabari Ford 1-(-1). John Tyler, Miller 2-66, Allen 2-39, Javontavius Mosley 1-27, Joshua Parker 1-22, Henderson 1-13, Michael Givens-Washington 1-10.