Time: 7 p.m., Friday
Stadium: Bearcat Stadium, 200 N. Rusk, Sherman, 75090 (Capacity: 6,500; Year opened: 1940)
WHAT: District 7-5A Division I football game
SERIES: John Tyler leads 6-1
LAST TIME: John Tyler 45-13 in 2018 in Tyler
John Tyler: Ricklan Holmes (8th season at JT, 69-29)
Sherman: J.D. Martinez (4th season at Sherman, 18-23)
Radio: KTBB 97.5-FM/600-AM, Tyler-Longview. Broadcasters: Manny Almanza, Reginald Coleman
Last week: Mesquite Poteet 37, John Tyler 14; Sherman 56, West Mesquite 27
Up next: Bi-district
WHEN SHERMAN HAS THE BALL
Players to watch
Sherman: RB Mike Brown (5-9, 185, Sr.) ... RB Benji Omayebu (5-10, 175, Jr.) ... QB Tate Bethel (6-0, 160, Jr.) ... WR Seth Husband (Jr.)
John Tyler: DL Kameron Mayfield (6-1, 215, Sr.) ... DL Jamaurea Britton (6-0, 210, Fr.) .... NG LaTravion Hawkins (6-1, 275, Jr.) ... LB Isaiah Johnson (6-2, 187, Sr.) ... LB Daveon Cummings (5-10, 185, Sr.) ... MLB Tyrone Williams (6-0, 190) ... LB Shiloh Canady (6-1, 200, Sr.) ... CB Keelan Erwin (5-9, 175, Jr.) ... SS D’Jonte Henderson (6-2, 165, Sr.) ... FS Travion Ates (6-0, 185, Jr.) ... CB Kitan Crawford (6-0, 195, Sr.) ... P Miguel Munoz (5-9, 185, Sr.)
BEARCATS OFFENSE VS. LIONS DEFENSE: The Bearcats have an offense that produces 347.7 yards per game and averaging 29.7 points per game. ... The Lions give up 351.9 yards a game and 28.6 ppg. ... Junior quarterback Tate Bethel, who is a standout shortstop/pitcher, leads the Bearcats, hitting on 126 of 214 passing attempts for 1,644 yards and 14 TDs with four interceptions. He has 41 carries for 50 yards and three touchdowns, but mainly sticks to the air. ... The Bearcats have a couple of top runners in senior Mike Brown (163-966, 10 TDs) and Benji Omayebu (34-339, 4 TDs). ... Bethel loves to throw to Omayebu (40 catches, 482, 4 TDs), along with wide receiver Sean Husband (34-306, TD). ... The Lions are ballhawks, recovering nine fumbles and grabbing 10 interceptions. ... Junior free safety Travion Ates leads JT with 104 tackles, an average of 11.6 per game. He also has three interceptions. Daveon Cummings (68), Tyrone Williams (59), LaTavion Hawkins (54), D’Jonte Henderson (50), Isaiah Johnson (48), Kameron Mayfield (38), and Keelan Erwin (33) are next in line. ... Lions picking off passes along with Ates include Crawford (3), Johnson (2), Henderson (1) and Canady (1). ... Mayfield leads with four sacks.
WHEN JOHN TYLER HAS THE BALL
Players to watch
Sherman: DB Aaron Ingram (Sr.) ... DB Gage Smith (Sr.) ... DB Benji Omayebu (5-10, 175, Jr.)
John Tyler: QB Cameron Ford (6-0, 190, Jr.) ... C LeTavion Erwin (5-9, 225, Jr.) ... RG Kadarius Tave (6-1, 235, Soph.) ... RT Ashton Williams (6-1, 305, Jr.) ... LG Kimbrick McCaney (6-1, 245, Sr.) ... LT Angel Sarmiento (6-2, 285, Sr.) ... WR Frank Turner (6-2, 165, Sr.) ... WR Austin Campbell (5-9, 170, Sr.) ... WR Damion Taylor (5-9, 150, Sr.) ... WR Isaiah Johnson (6-1, 200, Sr.) ... RB Ken’Yontae Pinkard (5-11, 185, Jr.) ... PK Victor Leon (5-8, 165, Sr.)
BEARCATS DEFENSE VS. LIONS OFFENSE: The Bearcats’ defense is No. 3 in the district, giving up 339.2 yards per game (1,298 rushing, 1,755 passing). ... The Lions are fifth in offense and average 345.9 yards per game (1,881 rushing, 1,232 passing). ... After sophomore Eli Sanchez started the last two games and Isaiah Johnson played the majority of snaps last week, JT coach Ricklan Holmes said junior Cameron Ford will return under center this week. ... “We had a three-game winning streak and then we had a bump in the road against McKinney North because we had some issues going on within our football team that we had to take care of,” Holmes said. “I think we have taken care (of those issues). Moving forward we are going back to Ford at quarterback and hopefully things will get back on track.” ... JT’s top rushers are Crawford (94-870, 9 TDs, 9.3 yards per carry), Ford (97-430, 3 TDs) and sophomore running back Jakyron Lacy (46-217). Ford has connected on 67 of 149 passing attempts for 968 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions. Austin Campbell (23-221, TD), Crawford (19-255, TD), Frank Turner (15-356, 3 TDs) and Robert Draper (11-145) lead the Lions in receiving. ... The Bearcats have seven interceptions, led by Aaron Ingram and Gage Smith with three each.
Did you know: Both the Lions and Bearcats are plus 4 in turnover ratio. ... JT and Sherman have five common opponents — Texas High (JT won 16-0, Sherman lost 27-14), Wylie East (JT won 48-7, Sherman won 42-14), West Mesquite (JT won 39-36, Sherman won 56-27), McKinney North (JT lost 36-28, Sherman lost 49-28) and Mesquite Poteet (JT lost 37-14, Sherman lost 44-21). ... McKinney North (8-1, 5-0) and Mesquite Poteet (5-4, 4-1) will play for the District 7-5A Division I championship on Friday at Mesquite Memorial Stadium. The winner is the district champion with the loser the No. 2 seed. The Lions have clinched a postseason berth, but not their seeding. JT is currently third and a win against Sherman will keep them as the No. 3 seed. However, a loss could move the Lions to fourth. ... Sherman would clinch a playoff spot with a win and a West Mesquite victory or if the Bearcats win by at least 11 points should Texas High earn the victory. Sherman is eliminated with a loss and in that case the final postseason spot will go to the West Mesquite-Texas High winner. ... West Mesquite (2-7, 2-3) visits Texarkana (5-4, 2-3) Friday night. The Lions have beaten both West Mesquite and Texas High to hold a tiebreaker over those teams. ... As far as the postseason, the teams from District 7-5A will play District 8-5A in bi-district. Lufkin (6-0) has clinched the 8-5A title and will host the fourth-place team from 7-5A, either JT, Texas High or West Mesquite. If JT places third, the Lions will play either College Station or Magnolia West. ... The only team from District 7-5A eliminated from the postseason is Wylie East. ... Sherman is in central Grayson County some 75 miles north of Dallas on U.S. Highway 75. According to The Handbook of Texas Online, the community, which is in the center of the county, was designated as county seat by the act that established the county on March 17, 1846. The town was named for Gen. Sidney Sherman, a hero of the Texas Revolution and one of the state’s earliest railroad promoters. ... The Bearcats began playing varsity football in 1902 according to Joe Lee Smith’s TexasHighSchoolFootballHistory.com. Sherman has made 34 playoff appearances with 21 district titles. Sherman has an all-time record of 653-457-47. ... The Lions began playing football in 1906 as Tyler High, that was also the first year that the Lions and Bearcats played against each other. They have an all-time record of 720-390-41 with 37 playoff appearances, 28 district titles, three state championships and two state runner-up trophies. The Lions’ playoff record is 59-31-3. ... JT is named after President John Tyler, who was instrumental in Texas joining the union. He was the 10th president of the United States from 1841 to 1845 after briefly serving as the 10th vice president. He was elected VP on the 1840 Whig ticket with President William Henry Harrison, who died after a month in office. ... Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine has JT ranked No. 44 in Class 5A Division II, down from No. 29 last week. ... Sherman is No. 41. ... TexasFootball.com projects JT to play College Station in bi-district with Texas High meeting Lufkin, two old district foes. The web site has Mesquite Poteet meeting Magnolia and McKinney North facing Magnolia West.
Twitter-sized preview: JT has already clinched a playoff berth, but the Lions do not want a three-game losing streak heading into the playoffs. As far as Sherman, the Bearcats need a win to ensure they have a chance to be in the postseason for the third-straight year.