Football Friday: John Tyler hits the road again to face Mesquite, this time with momentum

Published on Friday, 6 October 2017 00:52 - Written by PHIL HICKS, phicks@tylerpaper.com

MESQUITE - The John Tyler High School football team could easily adopt the Willie Nelson tune of “On the Road Again.”

For the fourth time in six games, the Lions are donning white uniforms as the visiting team.

Friday, JT (3-2, 1-1) plays its third District 11-6A game - against the Mesquite Skeeters (1-4, 0-2). Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Mesquite’s E.H. Hanby Stadium.

With the league bye week looming, both squads are anxious for a win. The next district encounter will be Oct. 20.

JT head coach Ricklan Holmes hopes his team plays just as well this week as the Lions did last week, a 44-7 victory over North Mesquite. The Skeeters fell to Mesquite Horn, 42-17.

After starting slow in all four of their previous games, the Lions came out fast and looked like a different team than the one that showed up the first four weeks of the season.

“Confidence has never been an issue for this team - attitude and demeanor have,” Holmes said. “Last week we played John Tyler football. After the North Mesquite game, I told the guys this is a proud moment because it was the first time I actually got to see the team that I always thought they could be. We were very successful in all phases - offense, defense and special teams. It was a complete game - starting fast and finishing strong.

“To know you can do that should make you want to do that week in and week out.”

Holmes said running back Cam Grant is questionable again this week. Grant has been in concussion protocol and has missed the last two games. He said quarterback Devlen Woods, who took a blow making a tackle last week, will return. Woods was held out the latter part of the second quarter and the second half against the Stallions for precautionary reasons, Holmes said.

Either K’Lon Warren or Woods will start at QB, Holmes said.

The Lions are averaging 387.8 yards per game, while giving up 344.4. Mesquite’s offense is averaging 280.0 yards, while giving up 373.4.

Holmes said Mesquite is young but talented.

JT running back Roderick Hawkins is sixth in the district in rushing at 425 yards on 43 carries. He is averaging 9.88 per carry and has scored five rushing TDs. Mesquite’s leading rusher is Cantrell Ray-Jackson, who is seventh in the league with 354 yards and two touchdowns on 53 carries.

Jonathan Garza is the Skeeters’ QB. He has connected on 57 of 110 attempts for 664 yards, eight TDs and four interceptions. JT’s Woods has hit on 53 of 99 for 746 yards, 10 TDs and two INTs.

Ke’Andre Street leads JT in receiving and the district at 24.53 yards per catch. He has 15 receptions for 368 yards and five TDs. JaDarion Smith leads Mesquite with 16 catches for 112 yards and a TD.

Gary Green, of Mesquite, is the top kickoff returner in district, averaging 42.5 yards and has taken one back for a TD.

LIONS TALES: After next week’s bye, the Lions will be back on the road, traveling to Rockwall to meet Rockwall-Heath on Oct. 20. JT’s final three regular season games are in Tyler - Oct. 27 vs. Longview, Nov. 3 vs. Mesquite Horn and Nov. 10 vs. Tyler Lee. The Lions will be the visitors for the game with the Red Raiders. … After the bye, Mesquite will play Lee in Tyler on Oct. 27.

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