John Tyler battles Ennis in CTMF Football Classic

John Tyler's Dekalen Goodson Sr., Cam Grant, Michael Givens-Washington and Martrevious Allison pose for a portrait at the Dorsey family ranch in Whitehouse, Texas, on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. (Chelsea Purgahn/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

After making a dazzling debut on the road, the John Tyler Lions unveil their 2017 football show for the home folks Friday night.

JT (1-0), ranked No. 13 in Texas by the Associated Press, takes on another pride of Lions - Ennis - in the 14th Annual Christus Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic.

Kickoff on Earl Campbell at CTMF Rose Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.

The matchup of Lions is the second day of a three-day football festival. On Thursday, Whitehouse and Chapel Hill began things and on Saturday morning Corsicana and Tyler Lee will meet. The Tigers and Red Raiders have an 11:30 a.m. kickoff.

According to JT is favored by 16 over Ennis, which happened to be the same margin of last year’s 30-14 Cujo victory in Ennis.

The blue & white Lions opened their season with a 49-13 victory over Plano West last week. Ever the perfectionist, JT coach Ricklan Holmes was pleased with many aspects of the game, but not the five turnovers.

“For the most part we played a pretty good game,” Holmes said. “You take away the turnovers it’s almost a great game, but to have that many turnovers and score that many points and keep points off the board, that’s pretty impressive.”

Quarterback Devlen Woods came through in his first varsity start, throwing for 123 yards and two touchdown passes to Ke’Andre Street. After an initial incompletion, Woods, a junior connected on eight straight passes. Running back Cam Grant came through with 200 yards and two TDs on 15 carries.

As for Ennis, JT holds a 2-1 series lead and Holmes expects a tussle this week.

“Ennis is a very productive football team, a program that is successful and tradition rich under Coach (Jack) Alvarez,” Holmes said. “They won a state championship recently (2014). When you play Ennis it is always a tough, hard-fought game.”

Ennis lost a heartbreaker last week on the final play of the game in a 29-28 defeat to Dallas South Oak Cliff. Ricky Wren scored on a 7-yard run to give the Golden Bears the victory. Ennis led 18-6 at halftime. Ennis rushed for 264 yards, but not put away the Golden Bears.

Offensively, Ennis is led by a couple of standout running backs in senior Tycen Thompson and Kyrie Holliday.

A couple of the maroon Lions’ top defenders include cornerback Kevion Gabriel who has committed to Arkansas State, and linebacker K.D. Davis who is rated as one of the top 100 players in the D/FW Metroplex.

Ennis is favored to win District 17-5A which includes Corsicana, Jacksonville, Whitehouse, Nacogdoches and Lindale.

LIONS TALES - John Tyler is ranked No. 23 by … Ennis is ranked No. 30 after last week’s ranking of No. 20. … Forty years ago, Tylerite Earl Campbell was about to begin his senior season at the University of Texas where he eventually led the Longhorns to an undefeated regular season, along with winning the Heisman Trophy. The John Tyler graduate rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries in the Longhorns’ 44-0 win over Boston College on Sept. 10 in Austin. … JT returns to the road next week, traveling to Lufkin to meet the Panthers in a Piney Woods duel. The contest is set for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15 on John Outlaw Field at Abe Martin Stadium.


The John Tyler Lions (1-0) meet the Ennis Lions (0-1) on Friday in the 14th Annual Christus Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Earl Campbell Field at CTMF Rose Stadium, 700 Fair Park Drive. The game will be broadcast on The Team 92.1-FM Tyler-Longview. Manny Almanza and Kenny Smith will have the call.

Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 34 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.

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