DENTON — Jeremy Wilson had one word to describe his team’s offense.
John Tyler had just put up 64 points and 715 total yards of production, 279 from the Lions senior running back.
“Underrated,” Wilson said. “We’ve got probably the best quarterback in Texas, the best running back, the smallest O-line but the best O-line, the best receivers.
“I mean, they can’t key in on one person. I don’t see nobody stopping us.”
McKinney North certainly didn’t come close to stopping Cujo.
John Tyler continued its impressive run through the Class 5A Division I playoffs with a 64-40 victory over the Bulldogs on Friday night before 10,000 fans at The University of North Texas’ Apogee Stadium.
Cujo (12-2) advances to the state semifinals for the third time in four years and will face top-ranked Aledo (13-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13 at Mesquite’s Hanby Stadium.
Wilson racked up 199 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, finishing with 231 on the ground to go with three catches for 48 yards.
Even with the gaudy numbers the Lions stayed balanced offensively, rushing for 366 and passing for 349, both season highs.
John Tyler senior quarterback Geovari McCollister completed 16 of 24 passes with five touchdowns, adding 124 yards and a score rushing.
McCollister spread the ball around with six players catching at least two passes. Damion Miller led the way with 131 yards on three catches, two going for touchdowns including an 83 yarder that put the Lions up 13-0 less than four minutes in.
Rodney Bendy, a North Texas commit playing on his future home field, caught a game-high four passes for 72 yards and a score. Nick Cain and Bryson Smith also had touchdown receptions.
“We just executed and used our playmakers: Geo, Jeremy Wilson, Nick Cain, Damion Miller, Bryson Smith, the numbers go on and on,” JT coach Ricklan Holmes said. “Bendy got to have a great performance here at his home stadium for next year.”
While the offense thrived, Holmes wasn’t as thrilled about his defense’s performance.
McKinney North (11-3) racked up 485 yards, the second most JT has allowed all year.
The Bulldogs were powered by Ronald Jones, an Oklahoma State commit at running back who fought through an ankle injury to run for 191 yards and two touchdowns, including a 74-yard burst to pull his team within 41-19 at halftime.
The Lions were a bit better against quarterback Nick Hutchins, who last week amassed 443 total yards. Hutchins threw for 233 yards — a season high against JT this year — and ran for 63 yards.
But it seemed for every touchdown the Bulldogs scored, the Lions scored two.
“(The offense) bailed us out today because our defense didn’t play very well,” Holmes said. “That mainly came from missed tackles. We were where we were supposed to be, doing exactly what we needed to do, we just didn’t wrap up and complete it.”
Continuing a theme from the last two weeks, John Tyler jumped out big early. The Lions took the ball first and scored on an eight-play drive that lasted just 91 seconds.
The Lions scored on six of seven first-half possessions, only punting when a snap came too early for McCollister, resulting in a 9-yard loss on the fumble. All scoring drives were quick strikes, lasting less than three minutes.
Wilson started things off with a 33-yard run before the Cujo defense forced a three-and-out. McCollister then hit Miller for an 83-yard score over the top.
JT made it 20-0 on its next drive. After an impressive 44-yard run by McCollister, who made a strong cut to burst up the middle then bowled over a defensive back to race for 15 more yards, Wilson cruised in from 20 yards out.
Though McKinney North started scoring in the second quarter, John Tyler didn’t stop. Wilson exploded up the middle for a 41-yard touchdown that gave him 150 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries early in the second quarter.
“It was all O-line,” Wilson said. “Once I got to the second level, the linebackers, safety, that was all me. Up front that was them. They had great players, we just stepped up to the plate.”
Bendy then got in on the act with a 19-yard score and Cain hauled in his 37-yard touchdown before halftime, giving the Lions 478 yards in the opening two quarters.
The second half was more of the same, though the first of three touchdown drives actually lasted a full 4:17, the Lions’ longest drive of the game.
John Tyler’s shortest drive came midway through the third quarter when Wilson was stripped in the end zone by Justin Madubuike, who recovered it for a touchdown. Madubuike, a junior with double digit Division I offers, finished with three tackles for loss, one sack and a blocked punt, a lone bright spot for the Bulldogs defense.
Madubuike’s touchdown pulled McKinney North within 48-27, but the Lions scored 17 points on their next three drives to go up 24 points and close out the game.
Smith caught an 8-yard score after drawing a pass interference flag in the end zone on third-and-5, Miller picked a pass off a defensive back’s shoulder and waltzed in for a 39-yard score and Luis Duran drilled a 40-yard field goal for the final tallies.
“It’s amazing what our offense can do,” Wilson said. “If we would have done this at the beginning of the season we’d be undefeated right now. We beat ourselves some of the games we lost. I just love balling with my team. It’s amazing man.”
Class 5A Division I Region II Final
John Tyler 64, McKinney North 40
At Apogee Stadium
John Tyler 20 21 20 3 — 64
North 0 19 14 7 — 40
JT—Jeremy Wilson 33 run (Luis Duran kick), 10:29.
JT—Damion Miller 83 pass from Geovari McCollister (kick fail), 8:20.
JT—Wilson 20 run (Duran kick), 2:53.
MN—Ronald Jones 28 run (Chase Carraher kick), 9:39.
JT—Wilson 41 run (Duran kick), 7:43.
MN—Nick Hutchins 3 run (kick fail), 4:37.
JT—Rodney Bendy 19 pass from McCollister (Duran kick), 2:51.
JT—Nick Cain 37 pass from McCollister (Duran kick), 0:56.
MN—Jones 74 run (kick fail), 0:08.
JT—McCollister 29 run (Duran kick), 8:15.
MN—Justin Madubuike fumble recovery in end zone (Gabe Constantine pass from Hutchins), 6:14.
JT—Bryson Smith 15 pass from McCollister (kick fail), 2:57.
MN—Hutchins 17 run (kick fail), 2:01.
JT—Miller 39 pass from McCollister (Duran kick), 1:12.
MN—Hutchins 1 run (Sam Ashun kick), 9:09.
JT—Duran 40 FG, 6:49.
First Downs 29 22
Rushes-Yards 49-366 29-252
Passing Yards 349 233
Comp.-Att.-Int. 16-24-0 13-24-1
Punts-Avg. 1-37.0 5-40.6
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 11-70 5-45
RUSHING—John Tyler, Jeremy Wilson 29-231, Geovari McCollister 12-124, Nick Cain 5-22, Team 3-(-11). McKinney North, Ronald Jones 19-191, Nick Hutchins 19-63, Micah Baulicex 1-(-2).
PASSING—John Tyler, McCollister 16-24-0—349. McKinney North, Hutchins 13-23-1—233, Kirvin Parks 0-1-0—0.
RECEIVING—John Tyler, Rodney Bendy 4-72, Damion Miller 3-131, Jeremy Wilson 3-48, Cain 2-49, Bryson Smith 2-26, Duntayviun Gross 2-23. McKinney North, Gabe Constantine 4-44, Jones 3-44, Brennan Harris 2-56, JoMarr Davis 2-53, Miguel Hudson 2-36.