After a performance lacking in the standards set forth by John Tyler tradition, seniors Tre Allison and Trejon Blake decided a players-only meeting was needed.
They asked head coach Ricklan Holmes and the players moved forward with a Wednesday morning meeting.
The conversion was between the 54 varsity players, but both Allison, JT's standout linebacker, and Blake, the Lions' standout offensive lineman, are confident the Cujo crew will be back in order this week.
The team will be on display before the home crowd on Friday as JT (2-2, 0-1 District 11-6A) and North Mesquite (3-1, 1-0) tangle at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Earl Campbell Field.
The Lions are coming off an uncharacteristic 48-7 loss to Rockwall last week, a margin of defeat JT had not seen since 2009. Last year, John Tyler rebounded from a Rockwall loss to win district. The Lions will try to do that again.
"We are happy to be home this week," said Allison, a 6-2½, 220-pounder who has committed to SMU. "This will be a chance for us to regroup and be ourselves.
"I really feel like this team is similar to our teams in previous years. I see a lot in this team that rebounded last year after that first loss to win district. We are explosive with big hearts. If we follow our assignments and just listen, we will be all right."
Allison, son of Latakia Allison and Markeith Lacy, is the leader of the JT defense and he takes that to heart.
Blake, a 6-0, 160-pound center, said the Lions will get back on track this week. Cam Grant, the Lions leading rusher, may not be back as he was in concussion protocol earlier in the week. Still, Blake said the line will clear the way for the other running backs such as Roderick Hawkins and Victor Campbell Jr., among others.
Blake is expected a bounce-back.
"We just need to focused and be John Tyler," said Blake, who is the son of Helen and Marcus Blake. "We need to do what the coaches have told us and be a team – play as unit."
Blake, whose mother is the former Helen Black who led the John Tyler Lady Lions to back-to-back district basketball championships in the late 1980s and to the regional finals, said the team is happy to play in the Rose City for only the second time this season.
"We want to show our city what we are made of and get back to the tradition that John Tyler has held in the community," said Blake, who wants to play football on the next level and major in criminal justice in college. "We want to show what we have been working on in the offseason, all the early morning workouts."
Holmes said the Lions are growing and getting better. He said the players were shocked about what happened against Rockwall.
"It is going to be better because the kids are going to play better," Holmes said. "It's nothing that the coaches have done differently or there was a different format in district. I expect to see a different football team."
The Stallions, who defeated Mesquite 39-24 last week, are a strong running team, led by senior Latavion Larry (56 carries for 437 yards, 6 TDs).
JT is paced by quarterback Devlen Woods, a junior, who has thrown for 680 yards by hitting on 45 of 88 pass attempts, including nine TDs and one interception. Top receivers are Ke'Andre Street (12-236, 4 TDs) and Michael Givens-Washington (12-122, TD).
Hawkins has rushed for 381 yards and five touchdowns on 29 attempts to lead JT, while Grant, who missed the Rockwall game and is questionable this week, has gained 341 yards and scored two TDs on 41 attempts.
LIONS TALES: After Friday's game, the Lions are on the road again. JT plays at Mesquite on Oct. 6, followed by a bye and then the Lions play at Rockwall-Heath on Oct. 20. John Tyler returns home again on Oct. 27 against Longview. … North Mesquite hosts Rockwall-Heath on Oct. 6.