How They Got Here: John Tyler, Guyer's road to the semis

Published on Friday, 14 December 2012 00:07 - Written by

John Tyler Lions, District 16-4A champs

John Tyler 35, Lufkin 21

John Tyler’s new era enjoyed a rousing premiere behind its offensive showcase.

JT scored five TDs of 30 yards or more and opened up the Ricklan Holmes coaching regime with a 35-21 win over 5A force Lufkin at Earl Campbell Field at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

The Lions, who opened the season ranked No. 3 in Class 4A after making the state semifinals the previous year, reached the end zone on their first play and never trailed against a Lufkin team fresh off its 14th consecutive playoff appearance.

“The thing I liked was my guys came out with a focus at the beginning of the game,” Holmes said while wearing a smile and typing a text message to his son and daughter about the game’s result. “We started out fast, something we didn’t do last year.”

Greg Ward accounted for 389 yards and four of JT’s five touchdowns on the night. Fred Ross reeled in two catches for 118 yards, including a 75-yard TD on the game’s initial play from scrimmage


Lancaster 26, John Tyler 21

LANCASTER — Lancaster succeeded in pulling a fast one on top-ranked John Tyler.

John Tyler fumbled on the last play from the 1-yard line and fell to speedy Lancaster 26-21 in a shocker Friday night.

JT (1-1) came within inches of scoring the game-winning touchdown on Rod Smith’s 3-yard run on the next-to-last play. The time on the clock expired, setting off a wild celebration on the home side. JT called its final timeout, however, before the clock hit zero, leading to the final play.

Lined up in its jumbo shotgun package, the snap from center missed its target, rolling by quarterback Greg Ward. Lancaster swarmed in to recover at the 5-yard line to end JT’s comeback. JT claimed the No. 1 ranking earlier in the week for the first time since 1997. The Lions suffered only their third loss to a 4A opponent in three years since dropping in classification.


John Tyler 21, Robert E. Lee 0

It was big bad John Tyler defense against Robert E. Lee.

The Lions smothered its rival, holding the Red Raiders to 139 yards of total offense in a 21-0 win in front of a capacity crowd at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

JT, ranked No. 7 in Class 4A, led 7-0 at halftime and added two more to its tally in the second half, one of them a 40-yard interception return. It was one of two interceptions for JT in the game with the Lions also recovering a fumble.

The loss for Lee kept the Red Raiders (0-3) winless on the season and prevented REL from tying the overall Rose City Rivalry series which now stands at 29-27-1 in favor of JT.


John Tyler 35, Mesquite Horn 30

MESQUITE — Tyus Bowser filled several roles, including quarterback, and starter Greg Ward sealed things with a 31-yard touchdown run late as the multi-talented standouts willed John Tyler to a 35-30 win over Mesquite Horn in the Metroplex.

Ward missed more than 10 minutes of the second half after getting banged up. Bowser switched to quarterback in the interim, then to receiver upon Ward’s return to haul in a 38-yard TD for the go-ahead score to put JT up 28-24 with 6:34 left.

Moments later, Bowser sacked Mesquite Horn quarterback Destri White to force a punt. Ward handled the rest, hitting Darion Flowers for a pair of 15-yard completions before shaking off any signs of injury on an electrifying 31-yard scramble ending down the JT sideline when he stretched just far enough for a 35-24 lead.

Horn added a TD with 27 seconds left before the horn sounded on the comeback attempt. JT (3-1), ranked No. 4 in Class 4A, captured its third win of the season against a 5A.


John Tyler 20, Tigres (Mexico) 10

John Tyler’s defense saved enough for a rainy day, scoring the go-ahead touchdown and keeping the opposing offense out the end zone to help secure a 20-10 win over Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (Mexico) before a constant downpour at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

Tyus Bowser returned a fumble 37 yards for a score late in the third quarter after UANL knotted the score at 10 moments earlier following a defensive touchdown of its own.

The Lions offense, which last year averaged 43 points per game, disappeared over the final 39 minutes. JT tallied 79 yards and two first downs over the final last three quarters.

JT, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A, closed out non-district at 4-1. UANL, a three-time national champion from Mexico, wrapped up its five-game tour through the United States at 1-4.


John Tyler 63, Corsicana 14

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.

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. Fred Ross finished with seven receptions for 157 yards and two TDs.


John Tyler 35, Lindale 0

LINDALE — John Tyler pulled out all stops on defense and scored a 35-0 shutout win in the first-ever meeting with Smith County neighbor Lindale.

JT intercepted three passes and notched its second shutout of the season before a near-sellout crowd at Eagle Stadium.

DeQuante Woods motored the JT offense with 156 all-purpose yards and two rushing touchdowns. JT senior quarterback Greg Ward completed 22 of 26 passes for 245 yards and one TD, and rushed nine times for 56 yards and another score.

Fred Ross rushed in on a 6-yard sweep barely two minutes into the third quarter for the lone score of the second half as JT cruised to the finish line afterward. JT (6-1, 2-0 in 16-4A) notched its 17th consecutive district win. The Lions have outscored opponents 84-0 over the last seven quarters.


John Tyler 59, Jacksonville 7

The John Tyler Lions preyed on their latest victim in their hunt for a fourth straight district championship.

JT remained unbeaten and untested in district, after shredding apart Jacksonville for a 59-7 homecoming win Friday.

The third-ranked Lions improved to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in district. The Lions increased their district win-streak to 18 games. JT has outscored its three district opponents 157-21 in 2012.

JT finished with 527 yards of offense while holding Jacksonville to 186; more than half coming after the starters left the field in the third quarter. Quarterback Greg Ward supported the JT cause with 262 yards of offense and five TDs. Tyus Bowser powered the JT defense with five tackles, two sacks, four quarterback pressures and three caused fumbles.


John Tyler 50, Nacogdoches 7

NACOGDOCHES — John Tyler torched Nacogdoches for four touchdowns in a seven-minute span in the third quarter to blow away the Dragons for a 50-7 win.

The victory set up a showdown between second-ranked JT (8-1, 4-0 in 16-4A) and Whitehouse (9-0, 4-0) for the outright district championship next Friday at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

The Lions won their 19th consecutive district game, which includes two wins over Whitehouse, including a 42-14 triumph in last year’s affair. JT outscored its first four district foes 207-28.

The JT defense delivered another big performance, forcing seven turnovers, including four fumble recoveries. Defensive standouts included Tyus Bowser (six tackles, two fumble recoveries, sack), Richard Gipson (11 tackles, fumble recovery), DeAndre Miller (10 tackles, forced fumble) and Kavante Jefferson (sack, fumble recovery).

JT’s all-state senior quarterback Greg Ward orchestrated the offense, registering 369 total yards. Ward completed 13 of 25 passes for 302 yards and four TDs and rushed nine times for 67 yards.


John Tyler 45, Whitehouse 38

John Tyler tallied five second-half touchdowns and rallied from a four-score hole as the incumbent district champions retained their seat atop their league with a thrilling 45-38 win over Whitehouse on Friday night.

JT, which trailed 24-0 in the second quarter, increased its district win streak to 20 games. The district title marked the fourth straight for the second-ranked Lions (9-1, 5-0 in 16-4A), who ruined an unbeaten season for the Wildcats (9-1, 4-0) in front of more than 12,000 at a packed Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.

JT defensive end Tyus Bowser wreaked havoc on defense with five of the team’s eight sacks. Bowser’s final sack on Whitehouse’s sensational junior Patrick Mahomes caused a fumble, recovered by JT’s Kavante Jefferson at the Whitehouse 19.

Quarterback Ward amassed 465 yards of offense and accounted for five TDs to win a duel with Whitehouse junior Patrick Mahomes, who passed for 445 yards and four TDs, and rushed for another score.

Fred Ross reeled in seven receptions for 187 yards and three TDs in the shootout victory, and Darion Flowers finished with seven receptions for 109 yards for the Lions.


John Tyler 77, Waxahachie 20

GARLAND — John Tyler geared up for a long playoff run, keeping its offense in drive mode all night in a 77-20 win over Waxahachie.

Greg Ward steered the JT victory with six total touchdowns, Fred Ross, Reggie Gipson and Justice Liggins all scored twice, and the Lions defense found the end zone in the victory. JT set a new school-record for points in its return to Homer B. Johnson, the birthplace of the Cujo jerseys now a commonplace come postseason.

JT improved to 32-11 all-time in the Cujo uniforms. An altercation between the teams, which occurred late in the third quarter on Waxahachie’s sideline, marred the contest.

JT scored on all four offensive possessions in the second half, and capped the win on a 42-yard fumble return by Jaylon Reese. The Lions created five turnovers on defense, including interceptions by Ausborne and DeAndre Miller. Richard Gipson intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble for the Lions, who achieved the 10-win plateau for the fourth consecutive season.

Ross ripped the Waxahachie defense to the tune of six catches for 180 yards and a pair of TDs.


John Tyler 38, Wylie 10

Turnabout proved fair play in the rematch between Cujo and Ahmo.

With a packed home crowd providing the energy, John Tyler’s defense guarded the gate, and the offense ate up Wylie with key big plays to help the Lions continue their playoff run with a one-sided 38-10 win in a Class 4A area playoff Friday night.

The JT defense set up shop with nine sacks, and the Lions enjoyed their own Black Friday by pulling the curtain on Wylie’s offense throughout the contest.

Tyus Bowser bagged seven of JT’s nine sacks on the night. JT’s defense also scored once as the Lions avenged a bitter road loss two years ago in the state quarterfinals at Wylie while more than 7,000 fans observed at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.


John Tyler 45, Frisco 28

ALLEN — John Tyler bonded into an offensive and defensive force down the stretch, and responded to its most physical challenge yet.

Thanks to two takeaways by Darion Flowers in the fourth quarter and a pair of DeQuante Woods touchdown runs in the final two minutes, JT kept alive its drive for a state championship, speeding by Frisco for a 45-28 win in a Class 4A Division I regional Friday night at Eagle Stadium.

The Lions improved to 14-0 all-time in the regional round and moved into the Elite Eight for the fourth straight season.

JT trailed by 11 points late in the first half before outscoring Frisco 35-7 over the final 25 minutes. Frisco ran 73 plays compared to 44 for JT, keeping the Lions’ high-powered offense off the field most of the first half.

The Lions grabbed the lead for good on the opening drive of the third quarter off a Greg Ward touchdown pass, one of four total scores for the all-state quarterback.


John Tyler 38, Frisco Centennial 24

ENNIS — John Tyler kept its championship poise, and moved one step away from playing for a Class 4A Division I state football title.

Thanks to a big night from all-state senior receiver Fred Ross, John Tyler controlled the second half and rolled into the state semifinals with a 38-24 win over Frisco Centennial in the Region II title game Friday at Lion Memorial Stadium.

The Lions lost three starters to injury during the game, but overcame it with another solid effort from the offense (475 total yards, 26 first downs) and a big-play defense that forced four turnovers.

Ross reeled in 13 catches for 172 yards and three TDs. Ross caught his final TD grab from backup Tyus Bowser on a fade pattern to the back of the end zone for a 35-24 lead early in the fourth quarter.

— Harold Wilson


Denton Guyer, District 5-4A champs

Cedar Hill 54, Guyer 28

DENTON — Guyer opened the season with a big loss to 5A power Cedar Hill, a game in which the Wildcats gave up 648 total yards and were outscored 47-21 in the middle quarters. Jerrod Heard led Guyer in passing and rushing, completing 10 of 19 passes for 119 yards with an interception and carrying the ball 16 times for 72 yards and two scores.


Colleyville Heritage 54, Guyer 38

COLLEYVILLE — The Wildcats fell into a quick hole at 0-2 with another loss, during which Guyer almost allowed 600 total yards for the second straight game (578). Despite the loss, the Wildcats still managed to produce 505 yards of their own as Heard passed for 217 yards and rushed for 150 yards and four touchdowns.


Guyer 27, Flower Mound Marcus 14

FLOWER MOUND — The Wildcats started their 12-game winning streak against Marcus, showing up on defense for the first time to the tune of limiting the Marauders to 180 total yards. Three Wildcats finished with more than 100 yards on the ground: Heard (101), D.J. Breedlove (124) and Richard Whitaker (112).


Guyer 55, Azle 14

DENTON — Guyer took advantage of three turnovers by the Hornets, racing ahead to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter en route to taking a 42-0 lead into halftime. Heard completed 6 of 10 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown while the Wildcats turned in 308 yards on the ground.


Guyer 62, Denton 0

DENTON — Guyer took a 42-0 lead into halftime for the second consecutive game, thanks in part to Heard finishing the night 13 of 20 for 170 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Breedlove carried the ball nine times for 80 yards and three touchdowns to help the Wildcats finish with 300 ground yards.


Guyer 53, Trophy Club Byron Nelson 28

TROPHY CLUB — Heard took over to help the Wildcats improve to 4-2 on the season, completing 12 of 18 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns and carrying the ball 19 times for 177 yards and two scores. Whitaker added 13 carries for 75 yards and three touchdowns on a night when the Wildcats carried the ball 48 times for 375 yards.


Guyer 63, Lake Dallas 13

CORINTH — Whitaker and Heard teamed up to lead the Wildcats to victory via the ground; Whitaker carried the ball 17 times for 154 yards and four touchdowns and Heard toted it 11 times for 122 yards, but only completed 6 of 9 passes for 43 yards and a pair of TDs.


Denton Guyer 21, Wichita Falls Rider 10

DENTON — Guyer’s closest game in weeks was capped by Heard’s 3-yard TD run with 4:53 left in the fourth quarter, which made it a two-score separation on the scoreboard. One again Heard and Whitaker led the way, evidenced by Heard finishing with 16 carries for 126 yards and one touchdown and Whitaker producing 19 times for 105 yards without any scores.


Guyer 49, Wichita Falls 0

DENTON — Guyer led 35-0 at the break and never looked back en route to registering its only shutout of the season. For the first time, David Haynes led the way with 10 carries for 132 yards and two touchdowns.


Guyer 62, Fort Worth Brewer 8

FORT WORTH — The Wildcats closed the regular season with their biggest win of the year, once again going into the halftime break with a double-digit (35-0) lead. Heard completed 10 of 16 passes for 131 yards, while also rushing nine times for 179 yards and four touchdowns.


Guyer 42, Saginaw 14

JUSTIN — The Wildcats opened the playoffs with a big win in bi-district, outgaining Saginaw 553-235 in total yards and getting a massive game from Heard. The quarterback completed 20 of 31 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown while also finishing with 18 carries for 108 yards and a pair of TDs. Ellis Jefferson caught eight passes for 78 yards and a TD.


Guyer 42, Aledo 30

JUSTIN — Guyer jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter to eliminate the three-time defending 4A Division II state champions. Heard completed 8 of 10 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown, plus carried the ball 21 times for 108 yards and three touchdowns. Whitaker finished with 22 carries for a team-high 169 yards, while Whitaker rushed for 85 yards and two TDs.


Guyer 38, Amarillo 30

MIDLAND — Guyer led wire-to-wire to keep its state championship hopes alive despite the eight-point margin — the Wildcats’ closest of the postseason. Heard carried the ball 17 times for 155 yards and two touchdowns, plus completed 4 of 8 passes for 122 yards and a score.


Guyer 52, Birdville 42

SOUTHLAKE — Heard and Breedlove teamed up to advance the Wildcats to the semifinals. Heard completed 11 of 15 passes for 172 yards and three touchdowns and carried the ball 16 times for 167 yards and two scores, while Breedlove finished with 15 carries for 159 yards and a touchdown. Jefferson caught six passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

— Shane Stark