The John Tyler and Longview football game will be under the bright lights of national TV, ESPN announced on Tuesday.
The JT and Longview rivalry will be featured from Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium in Tyler on Thursday, Sept. 12. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. with ESPN2 broadcasting the game as part of the GEICO ESPN High School Football Showcase.
John Tyler went 10-3 last season, advancing to the Class 5A Division I quarterfinals (losing to eventual state champion Highland Park, 42-35). The Lions return the No. 85 player in the country (ESPN 300 Player Rankings), defensive back Kitan Crawford (Texas commit). Crawford also plays running back for the Lions.
Longview is the defending Class 6A Division II state champion, coming off an undefeated season in 2018. Senior quarterback Haynes King, son of Lobos head coach John King, is the No. 1 ranked QB and No. 18 ranked player in the country (Texas A&M commit).
JT coach Ricklan Holmes said it will be an opportunity for the country to see “beastTexas” brand of football.
“This is a great rivalry and is always a great game between these two teams that now the nation will get to see, not just the fans in East Texas,” Holmes said. “They reached out earlier this year because of the talent that both teams have coming back as well as the success that both teams had this past season.”
King added, “This is great for East Texas football and Texas high school football for that matter. This is always a great matchup between two teams that represent Texas high school football and their respective communities.”
This will be the 96th edition of the Lions and Lobos. It is such a heated rivalry that the schools can’t agree on the win totals.
According to Joe Lee Smith’s TexasHighSchoolFootballHistory.com, JT and Longview have played 95 times with the Lobos leading 48-40-7. Smith, a Tyler resident, was the longtime Lamar University sports information director and he is a member of the Texas High School Football Hall of Fame.
However, Lobo football historian Bill Simpson’s Lobohistory.com has the Lobos leading 50-38-7.
Both teams have two games before the Rose City meeting and both could be ranked entering the contest.
The Lions are ranked No. 6 in Class 5A Division I by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine, while the Lobos are No. 6 in Class 6A Division II.
Longview enters the 2019 edition on a two-game win streak against the Lions and the Lobos are 4-3 against John Tyler since 2010, when the teams renewed the rivalry after a three-year break.
ESPN’s Jay Alter and Craig Haubert will be on the call for all Showcase games.
JT opens the season with home games against Mesquite Horn (Friday, Aug. 30) and Tyler Lee (Saturday, Sept. 7). Both have 7 p.m. starts.
Longview opens its season on Friday, Aug. 30 at Lufkin before hosting Marshall on Friday, Sept. 6.
The 11-game schedule begins Thursday, Aug. 29, and will continue through Friday, Nov. 1. This year’s showcase will feature 49 ranked players from ESPN 300 (Class of 2020) and ESPN Junior 300 (Class of 2021), including athletes who have committed to top college programs such as Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, USC, Vanderbilt and Washington. Teams from nine states are represented in this season’s showcase: California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. Washington D.C. is also represented.
Among this year’s teams are six nationally ranked teams, according to USA TODAY High School Sports’ pre-season poll: No. 2 Galena Park North Shore (Texas), No. 3 Mater Dei (California), No. 5 St. John’s (Washington D.C), No. 7 IMG Academy (Florida), No. 9 Marietta (Georgia), and No. 11 St. Joseph’s Prep (Pennsylvania).
On Thursday, Aug. 29, the No. 1 player, running back Zachary Evans will lead the No. 2 ranked team, North Shore, against perennial Texas power Katy. It will be broadcast on ESPNU at 7 p.m. from Galena Park ISD Stadium.
Hayden Henry of the Longview News-Journal contributed to this report.
2019 GEICO ESPN High School Football Showcase
Thursday, Aug. 29 — Katy at Galena Park North Shore, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Friday, Aug. 30 — St. Joseph’s Prep (Pa.) at Marietta (Ga.), 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
Thursday, Sept. 5 — Cedar Hill Trinity Christian at Dallas Parish Episcopal, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Friday, Sept. 6 — Bethel (Wash.) vs. Kennedy (Wash.) at CenturyLink Stadium, Seattle, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Thursday, Sept. 12 — Longview at John Tyler, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Friday, Sept. 13 — IMG Academy (Fla.) vs. St. Joseph’s Prep (Pa.), venue to be announced, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Friday, Sept. 20 — De Smet Jesuit (Mo.) at Christian Brothers (Mo.), 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
Friday, Sept. 27 — Mater Dei (Calif.) vs. St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) at The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Thursday, Oct. 3 — Bentwood Academy (Tenn.) at Knoxville Catholic (Tenn.), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Friday, Oct. 18 — Mandarin (Fla.) at Sandalwood (Fla.), 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Friday, Nov. 1 — Parkview Baptist (La.) vs. Madison Prep Academy (La.) at Doug Williams Stadium in Baton Rouge, La., 8 p.m. (ESPNU)