HALLSVILLE — A John Tyler football team starving for a win feasted off 10 turnovers, setting the table with career nights from several players to maul Hallsville 65-6 in the District 14-4A football opener Friday at Bobcat Stadium. Greg Ward totaled five touchdowns while throwing for 200 yards-plus for the fourth straight game.
DeVonte Haggerty recorded four TDs while registering 194 yards of total offense. Fred Ross reeled in a pair of TD passes and finished with five catches for 97 yards, all in the first half as JT took a 42-0 lead into the intermission. Traven Johnson returned an interception for a touchdown and a blocked extra point for a safety in the second half. Haggerty sandwiched two short rushing TDs around Johnson’s scores to complete the rout.
Other defensive standouts included Terry Ausborne (two interceptions) and Kamryn Howard (interception, fumble recovery). The Lions limited the hosts to 120 total yards and zero offensive TDs.
JT notched four interceptions to go with six fumble recoveries as the Lions (1-3, 1-0 in 14-4A) earned their first win of the season. JT scored the third-most points in school history. “The off week let us get people healed up and correct mistakes we’d been making,” JT head coach Dereck Rush said. “It was an overall team effort.”
John Tyler dominated in all respects, intercepting three passes and recovering three fumbles — all on the kickoff — en route to six first-half scores. Howard, a cornerback playing his first varsity game after sitting out a year due to transfer rules, made an immediate impact with a team-leading seven tackles.
Ward accounted for all but one of the first half cores, with Haggerty and Ross both getting into the end zone twice.
On JT’s opening drive, Ward connected with Ross on a well-placed 10-yard fade to the right corner to give the Lions all the points they needed.
Haggerty hit paydirt a first time on a 2-yard scamper, coming two plays after Howard fell on a live ball off Julian Varona’s kickoff.
Ross reached the purple-clad part of the field moments later on a 62-yard catch-and-run, featuring a nifty cutback at the 18 to get by the last line of defense as JT went ahead 21-0. Ward, who passed for 241 yards and four TDs, continued his tear from there, rolling out the pocket to find Darion Flowers on a 5-yard score, calling his own number on a 25-yard jaunt, and dumping off to Haggerty for a 28-yard TD pass on a screen as JT doubled its lead to 42-0 before the break.
Hallsville went more than 16 minutes before its initial first down and failed to move the chains the entire third quarter as JT showed it remains the team to beat in district.
“We’d been stressing it’s do or die now,” said Rush, whose team improved to 8-0 all-time in 14-4A. “ It’s what you go through offseason for, to try and win a district championship.”
John Tyler 65, Hallsville 6
John Tyler 28 14 16 7 — 65
Hallsville 0 0 6 0 — 6
JT—Fred Ross 10 pass from Greg Ward (Porfirio Benitez kick), 8:07
JT—DeVonte Haggerty 2 run (Benitez kick), 7:31
JT—Ross 62 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 3:57
JT—Darion Flowers 5 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 2:23
JT—Ward 25 run (Benitez kick), 8:42
JT—DeVonte Haggerty 28 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 0:10
HAL—JeCori Crayton 12 fumble return (Traven Johnson returned blocked kick for safety), 7:55
JT—Haggerty 8 run (Benitez kick), 6:11
JT—Traven Johnson 26 interception return (Benitez kick), 5:19
JT—Haggerty 7 run (Noe Diaz kick), 10:42
First Downs 19 8
Rushes-Yards 36-179 30-71
Passing Yards 241 49
Com.-Att.-Int. 17-27-1 6-15-4
Punts-Avg. 2-19.5 4-41.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 6-6
Penalties-Yards 12-75 8-97
RUSHING—John Tyler, DeVonte Haggerty 15-110, Greg Ward 9-49, Reggie Gipson 3-19, D’Carlton Grant 3-14, Rod Smith 2-6, DeQuante Woods 1-4, Duan Brooks 1-0, Justice Liggins 2-(-23). Hallsville, Quatron Davis 16-38, Josh Warbington 7-34, Ronnie Gideon 1-2, Bernard Moss 1-0, B.J. wilder 1-0, Thaddeus Fagan 2-(-1), J.C. Daily 2-(-2).
PASSING—John Tyler, Ward 16-25-1—241, Haggerty 1-2-0—0. Hallsville, Warbington 5-9-2—41, Gideon 1-6-2—8.
RECEIVING—John Tyler, Fred Ross 5-97, Haggerty 4-84, Flowers 3-48, Tarodney Wallace 2-6, Gipson 1-5, Liggins 1-1, Black 1-0. Hallsville, Darrian Gilmore 2-19, Wilder 2-14, Fagan 1-8, Andre Jones 1-8.