CORSICANA — John Tyler approached the District 16-4A football opener with the mindset of taking the offensive and making a statement.
Point made. Make that several points.
With Greg Ward raining completions throughout the night, John Tyler's offense opened up the floodgates with scores on its first nine drives to dominate Corsicana 63-14 Friday at Tiger Stadium.
JT (5-1, 1-0 in 16-4A) picked up district play where it left off in past years — victorious. The Lions, ranked No. 3 in Class 4A, extended their district winning streak to 16 games. JT, which spent one week ranked No. 1 earlier in the season, entered the game healthier and recommitted to running the ball better following a bye week.
"It was a good win," said JT head coach Ricklan Holmes, whose team ended the game with the ball at the 23-yard line before time expired. "We were able to correct all the small things that kept us under the gun the first five games."
JT averaged 26 points in non-district before exploding for seven TDs through two quarters alone.
Ward performed like a returning first-team all-stater, completing 29 of 32 passes for 382 yards and five TDs. Ward, slowed by an ankle injury most of the preseason, rushed for 70 more yards and a score.
In his first start at running back, DeQuante Woods stepped off 62 yards on 10 carries, finding the end zone three times.
Several JT receivers joined the pass parade, led by Fred Ross with seven receptions for 157 yards and two TDs. Ross reached the end zone another time, although a flag for premature celebration negated the TD.
Justice Liggins enjoyed a career night with seven catches for 105 yards — all in a dominating first half that saw JT carry a commanding 49-14 lead into the locker room.
JT showered Corsicana with 622 total yards and 28 first downs. The ground game gained strides from non-district, totaling 240 yards rushing, twice the Lions average through five games.
Rod Smith supplied a team-high 72 yards on six carries for the Lions.
In the meantime, JT prevented Corsicana from scoring over the final 36 minutes.
"We'd been trying to establish our run game," added Holmes. "I was glad how the offensive line stepped up. During the off week we addressed that, and (offensive line) coach (Will) Smith did a great job getting those guys focused and ready to play. They protected Greg Ward excellent."
JT put the game to bed with a 35-point second quarter after splitting the first four TDs with Corsicana. The Tigers failed to complete a pass in the second half.
Only 32 seconds after Corsicana struck for an 84-yard TD pass on a third-and-20 play from Zachary Rash, JT took the lead for good.
Ward located Ross on a deep post. Ross reversed his progress back to the right to finish off the play. Ward connected with Liggins on a 24-yard fade route on one-on-one coverage on the next possession. Ward threaded a tight spiral to Darion Flowers on a 15-yard TD less than three minutes later for a 21-point advantage.
Woods bowled over a defender for a 10-yard run 73 seconds later. JT tacked on one final TD before halftime when Ward zoomed in on Liggins for a 39-yarder to make it 49-14.
JT tallied 389 yards and 20 first downs through two quarters, with Ward hitting on all but two passes and accounting for five TDs during the 24-minute span.
"It goes back to what I tell them: you have to take people out the game early," Holmes said. "When we do the things we need to take care of the game early, we put ourselves in position to win a lot of games."
No. 3 John Tyler 63, Corsicana 14
At Tiger Stadium, Corsicana
John Tyler 14 35 7 7 — 63
Corsicana 14 0 0 0 — 14
COR—Jacob Grayson 44 pass from Zachary Rash (run failed), 10:14
JT—Greg Ward 35 run (Porfirio Benitez), 9:03
JT—DeQuante Woods 2 run (Benitez kick), 1:45
COR—Bobby Wallace 84 pass from Rash (Wallace run), 0:19
JT—Fred Ross 47 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 11:43
JT—Justice Liggins 24 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 8:53
JT—Darion Flowers 15 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 6:24
JT—Woods 10 run (Benitez kick), 5:11
JT—Liggins 39 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 1:52
JT—Woods 8 run (Noe Diaz kick), 8:53
JT—Ross 23 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 10:33
EST. ATT. —6,000.
First Downs 28 14
Rushes-Yards 33-240 48-192
Passing Yards 382 131
Comp.-Att.-Int. 29-32-0 4-10-0
Punts-Avg. 0-00.0 5-30.2
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 8-90 7-70
RUSHING—John Tyler, Rod Smith 6-72, Greg Ward 7-70, DeQuante Woods 10-62, Jeremy Wilson 2-15, Tyus Bowser 2-9, Devonte Humber 2-4, Reggie Gipson 2-3, Duan Brooks 1-4, Nick Cain 1-1 . Corsicana, Ronnie Devereaux 17-92, Donovan Fields 20-73, Tygarius Sheffield 7-13, Bobby Wallace 2-9, Jacob Grayson 1-3, Hunter Easley 1-2.
PASSING—John Tyler, Ward 29-32-0--382. Corsicana, Zacharay Rash 4-9-0--131, Wallace 0-1-0--0.
RECEIVING—John Tyler, Fred Ross 7-157, Justice Liggins 7-105, Woods 6-20, Darion Flowers 3-48, Gipson 3-27, Wilson 2-17, Bowser 1-8. Corsicana, Wallace 2-84, Grayson 2-46, Devereaux 1-1.