Final score: John Tyler 20, Mesquite 14
Quotable: “We’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve got a lot that we’ve got to clean up. We’ve got a lot that we have to fix, but that’s what the season’s about. Each week you’ve got to practice to get better and that’s what we’ve got to learn how to do is practice to get better.” – JT coach Ricklan Holmes
Turning point: Down 14-7 at halftime, John Tyler’s defense held Mesquite to 40 yards in the third quarter to allow the Lions to take a 20-14 lead heading to the fourth. The JT stop unit pitched a second-half shutout for the second straight game.
The game was over when: John Tyler senior Javontavius Mosley hauled in his first interception of the year with 64 seconds left as Mesquite was driving with a chance to win late. The Lions were able to run out the clock to seal the win.
Key stats: After the Skeeters held a 271-216 advantage in yards in the first half, JT outgained Mesquite 186-114 in the second half. Taking out the Rockwall loss, the Lions are allowing 4.2 points per game in the second half in their five wins.
Warning signs: Lions senior Bryson Smith threw a career-high three interceptions after going three straight games without a pick. The first killed JT’s first drive of the game. The second was on a throw at the end of the first half with little choice but to throw it up and see what happens. The last was an impressive play by Mesquite’s Eric Wills in the end zone. Smith’s only other multi-interception game came in his first career start under center against Plano last year.
Positive signs: The Lions offensive line helped JT average 7.1 yards per rush, the second straight game over 7 yards per rush. Sophomore Cameron Grant did the heavy lifting with 173 yards on 24 carries.
What this win means: Holmes said the win was ugly, but it got the job done. John Tyler stayed in the District 11-6A race, tied at 2-1 with Rockwall-Heath, North Mesquite and Mesquite Horn. Longview leads the way at 3-0. JT beat North Mesquite last week.
Fast forward: John Tyler - and the rest of the district - has its bye week next week. The Lions are relatively healthy but won’t mind the extra time to prepare for the home stretch. Fellow league front-runners Heath, Longview and Horn are the Lions’ next three opponents.
- Travis Yoesting