Clash of Titans: Centennial next for John Tyler


JT_Frisco_Ward_TD_WEB
John Tyler senior quarterback Greg Ward scores a touchdown in the second half of the Lions' 45-28 win against Frisco in a Class 4A Division I regional at Eagle Stadium in Allen. John Tyler meets another Frisco team, Centennial, in the state quarterfinals. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

As soon as John Tyler maneuvered around one Frisco team last week, the Lions turned their attention to another formidable opponent from the booming suburb in the Metroplex.

Frisco Centennial, one of seven high schools in the growing city north of Dallas, presents the latest roadblock to JT’s plans of making it to Cowboys Stadium.

After a slow start, Frisco Centennial has become a perennial playoff program, with consecutive 12-win seasons under its belt. Centennial (12-1) carries an eight-game winning streak into Friday’s meeting with JT (12-1) at Lion Stadium in Ennis.

Centennial served further notice of its potency with last week’s 40-14 win over Red Oak in the regional round. Red Oak handed Division II quarterfinalist Lancaster its lone loss in the regular season. Lancaster accounts for JT’s lone loss.

While Frisco formed a stiff challenge for JT last week, Centennial figures to be an even tougher out. JT beat Frisco 45-28 after trailing by 11 points in the first half, and scoring twice in the final two minutes.

Centennial topped Frisco 38-24 en route to a District 9-4A title. Three teams from 9-4A lasted through the third round.

The Titans won their eighth straight game last week, jumping out to a 20-0 lead at halftime.

The Titans boast a star-studded lineup on both sides of the ball, with three players committed to Division I schools: quarterback Lamar Jordan (5-11, 180, 4.4) as an athlete to Arkansas; cornerback Ranthony Texada (5-9, 160, 4.4) to TCU; and defensive end K.J. Smith (6-2, 245) to Baylor.

Jordan leads the team with more than 2,900 yards of total offense and 37 total touchdowns. Chris Johnson tops a ground game featuring five 300-yard rushers, with four receivers over the 300-yard mark as well.

Texada and Smith, along with college linebacker recruit Blair Swanner (6-2, 205), headline a defense that offered up just 26 points total the last two games. The Titans forced four turnovers last week.

“The kids are starting to gel at the right time,” Centennial head coach Mark Howard told starlocalnews.com. “When you get this far into the playoffs, it really boils down to who is going to make the fewest mistakes.”

———

Frisco Centennial Titans

Next up: John Tyler, 7:30 p.m. Friday (Class 4A state quarterfinals)

Where: Lion Stadium, Ennis

Head coach: David Howard

Record: 12-1

Season results: Denison, W 45-9; Lake Dallas, W 42-14; McKinney North, W 42-21; Little Elm, W 38-13; Prosper, L 36-38; Frisco Liberty, W 33-10; Frisco Wakeland, W 24-20; Frisco, W 38-24; The Colony, W 36-0; Frisco Heritage, W 42-7; West Mesquite, W 33-25 (bi-district); Dallas Kimball, W 38-12 (area); Red Oak, W 40-14 (regional).

Records since 2004: 2-8 (04), 2-8 (05), 4-6 (06), 1-9 (07), 6-5 (08), 3-7 (09), 6-5 (10), 12-1 (11).

All-time playoff appearances: 4 (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012)

Players to watch: QB Lamar Jordan (191-of-318, 60.0%, 2,381 yards, 29 TDs, 8 INTs passing; 128-55 yards, 9 TDs rushing); RB Chris Johnson (122 carries, 722 yards, 7 TDs), WR Cody Bagwell (41 receptions, 845 yards, 9 TDs), DE K.J. Smith (94 tackles, 18 sacks), Ranthony Texada (57 tackles, 4 INTs)

Offensive outlook: Jordan, a dual-threat quarterback, accounted for 174 yards and two TDs in last week’s win. Kamari Burnett and Chris Johnson both rushed for two scores. The Titans totaled 377 yards against Red Oak. The Titans dictated the tempo, finishing with an 83-55 advantage in total plays. Centennial averages 37.4 points and 359.4 yards (164.0 rushing/195.4 passing) per game.

Defensive outlook: Centennial bases out the 3-4, and showed the ability to be dominant stopping the run and pass through regionals. Centennial has yet to allow a team to hit the 200-yard mark rushing or 300-yard plateau passing. Centennial limited Red Oak to 189 total yards, including a miniscule 36 rushing. Centennial allows 15.9 points and 260 yards (105.8 rushing/154.2 passing) per game.

Team strengths: The defensive line, led by Smith, proved a stronghold in the first 13 games, with Frisco holding five teams under the century mark rushing while registering 39 sacks.

Noteworthy: Centennial’s 24 wins over the past two seasons equaled the total number of games won over the program’s first seven games of existence.

Quoteworthy: “It should be a formidable challenge,” Howard said. “I think the kids are up to the challenge.”