Free safety Ausborne a special player

John Tyler senior Terry Ausborne has a team-leading 19 tackles through two games. The free safety is still looking for his first interception of 2013 after making seven pickoffs last season. (Shannon Wilson | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

John Tyler coach Ricklan Holmes always tells his players, no matter how well you played one week, you better play even better next week.

For certain players, like Lions senior Terry Ausborne, that's a high standard to live up to week in and week out.

A natural ball hawk, Ausborne has led the Lions in interceptions the last two seasons. While he hasn't opened his account in 2013, the free safety has been plenty busy helping JT's defense as a leader and a tackler.

Through two games, Ausborne is the team's top stopper with 19 tackles, seven more than Braylon Jones, who's second. Ausborne made 11 tackles in Saturday's 31-28 win over Lancaster, and Holmes expects an even better game from him Friday against Robert E. Lee.

"You can't be one of those guys that's satisfied with just having one good game," Holmes said. "You've got to have several good games all the way to December. That's what it boils down to right now."

Last year Ausborne performed all year, finishing third on the team with 91 tackles. He finished with seven interceptions and four pass breakups.

Ausborne showed his talents from an early age; as a sophomore he made four picks with 70 tackles.

"His freshman year going into his sophomore year we knew he was going to be a special guy," Holmes said. "He wasn't ever scared to hit anybody. He understood the game a lot at a young age."

Now with three years of varsity experience, Ausborne is able to be a leader for the Lions.

"First year was all really learning," said Ausborne, a defensive captain. "Last two years you're really a veteran out there. You're really teaching everybody else. You're really a coach out there on the field. It's pretty fun."

Ausborne and the rest of the Lions secondary has already faced three future NCAA Division I receivers, holding the trio to a combined six catches. Ausborne himself has already garnered Division I notice, with an offer from SMU and interest from schools like TCU, UTSA, New Mexico and Houston.

"It motivates me a lot, makes me want to do even better and practice even harder to see how many (offers) I can actually get coming in," said Ausborne, who added that he isn't ready to reciprocate the interest.

While interceptions can bring the most interest to a defender, Ausborne isn't worried that he doesn't have one yet this year.

"They're going to come some way or another, so whenever you get the chance to catch them you just gotta go get them, make the best out of it," he said. "But until then, just keep doing what you've got to do."

Ausborne would love his first to come against the Red Raiders.

JT, which has faced two passing offenses already in Lancaster and Lufkin, faces a revitalized Lee passing attack on Friday. Ausborne went to Moore Middle School with many of the Lee players and will be eager for a big day.

"It's a cross-town rival that we grew up with most of these kids," Ausborne said. "It's always fun to go beat up on them and tell them about it."

NOTES: Tickets for Friday's JT-Lee game can be purchased on campus to students and faculty Wednesday and Thursday. Additional ticket sales will be at the TISD athletic office (807 W. Glenwood) Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., and on Friday from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.; at T&T Lewis (903 W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd) during regular business hours Wednesday and Thursday; and Tyler Athletics (5201 S. Broadway) during regular business hours Wednesday and Thursday. Presale tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for students and $7 for reserved seats. Gate tickets cost $7.