John Tyler flowed for four quarters on offense, and slowed Marshall enough to force five turnovers and remain unbeaten in District 14-4A play after a wild 56-35 win Friday night.
JT racked up 554 total yards and scored 40-plus for the fifth straight week as the Lions moved their district record to a spotless 5-0, with a showdown coming Friday at Kilgore, in which John Tyler could earn the district title with a win.
Greg Ward rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 193 yards and a pair of scores, including the back-breaker to Darion Flowers from 35 yards out with 1:18 remaining. Ward became JT’s all-time single season passing leader in the process.
Flowers finished with five catches for 113 yards and two TDs.
JT took a commanding 35-14 lead into halftime and ended with the same cushion despite a valiant comeback by the visitors.
Playing for its postseason life, Marshall (1-4) sliced a 21-point first-half deficit to seven and trailed 28 points in the third quarter before getting within 14 points twice, the last time on a double-pass by Trey Rogers to Keith Biggs to make it 49-35 with 4:54 remaining.
Unfazed, JT recovered an onside kick and sent in its second-string. The first teamers returned eventually, leading to Ward’s 35-yard touchdown to Flowers with 1:18 remaining to ice the contest.
“It was a win for us,” JT head coach Dereck Rush said. “Our kids fought and played hard but it was definitely not the way we wanted. Our kids have to learn how to finish football games.”
DeVonte Haggerty boosted JT’s offense with 89 total yards and a pair of TDs. Reggie Gipson gave JT a lift in the first half, where he picked up all 88 of his rushing yards before walking to the sideline with assistance in the second quarter and never returning.
Tyus Bowser played both ways for JT, scoring on a pair of short runs on keepers in goal-line packages. On defense Bowser totaled six tackles (two for losses).
Terrance Stevens, a senior cornerback, intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble. Other Lions with takeaways included Traven Johnson (interception), Devonte Jones (interception) and Deandre Miller (fumble recovery).
Marshall’s duo of Biggs (119 total yards) and Alandric Tutt (104 yards rushing, 2 TDs) kept the Mavericks in the game, though turnovers ultimately killed Marshall’s chances.
The JT defense set the tone early, forcing a punt on Marshall’s first possession, leading to a 93-yard scoring drive. Bowser bowled over from 1-yard back to give JT the lead for good.
On Marshall’s next play from scrimmage, Richard Gipson jarred the ball loose from Marshall’s quarterback and Miller recovered at the Mavericks 38-yard line. Ward connected with Flowers for a 31-yard pass before JT doubled its lead when Haggerty sprinted 7 yards to paydirt on a sweep.
The turnover bug bit Marshall on the next play from scrimmage, with JT deflecting a pass at the line, allowing Devonte Jones to intercept the ball close to midfield.
Ward scrambled 37 yards on a third-and-11 and Bowser capped the drive with a 3-yard keeper on fourth-and-goal as JT claimed a 21-0 advantage.
Marshall made it interesting briefly, getting on the board a first time on Biggs’ 30-yard TD run.
After Marshall forced a fumble, the Mavericks struck for another two-play drive on Tutt’s 18-yard fade to Tremayne Bender.
JT canceled the two scores in the second quarter, with Ward scoring on a 5-yard keeper and later connecting with Flowers for a 6-yard TD to put the Lions back in front by 21 points (35-14) at the break a second straight week.
“We started off fast, got up three touchdowns and let up,” Rush said. “We can’t do that. It was something to build off of.”
John Tyler 56, Marshall 35
At Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium
Marshall 14 0 0 21—35
John Tyler 21 14 7 14—56
JT—Tyus Bowser 1 run (Porfirio Benitez kick), 6:45
JT—Devonte Haggerty 7 run (Benitez kick), 6:23
JT—Bowser 3 run (Benitez kick), 1:56
MAR—Keith Biggs 30 run (Roberto Casas kick), 1:35
MAR—Tremayne Bender 18 pass from Alandric Tutt (Casas kick), 0:36
JT—Greg Ward 5 run (Benitez kick), 11:04
JT—Darion Flowers 6 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 0:38
JT—Ward 47 run (Benitez kick), 6:30
MAR—Alandric Tutt 2 run (Casas kikc), 8:10
MAR—Tutt 22 run (Casas kick), 7:34
JT—Haggerty 3 run (Benitez kick), 4:54
MAR—Biggs 61 pass from Trey Rogers (Casas kick), 4:24
JT—Flowers 35 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 1:18
First Downs 16 21
Passing Yards171 193
RUSHING—Marshall, Alandric Tutt 18-104, Keith Biggs 12-58, Mario Adkins 2-37, Marek Reyes 2-17. John Tyler, Greg Ward 17-106, Reggie Gipson 9-88, Justice Liggins 2-55, DeVonte Haggerty 5-40, Rod Smith 7-32, DeQuante Woods 3-20, Devonte Black 0-9, Duan Brooks 2-5, Tyus Bowser 2-4, Fred Ross 2-3, Team 1-(-1).
PASSING—Marshall, Tutt 4-15-2—110, Trey Rogers 1-1-0—61, Biggs 0-1-0—0. John Tyler, Ward 14-24-0—193, Bowser 0-1-0—0.
RECEIVING—Marshall, I’Cordia Green 2-80, Biggs 1-61, Tremayne Bender 1-18. John Tyler, Darion Flowers 5-113, Ross 5-29, Haggerty 3-49, Gipson 1-2.