No. 3 Whitehouse hosts defending District 16-4A champion John Tyler on Friday in a game that’s been anticipated since the horn sounded on the Lions’ 45-38 victory last year.
The hottest ticket in Smith County this week will continue to be sold until Friday or until they’re all sold out.
In Tyler, fans can pick up tickets Thursday on the John Tyler campus and at the TISD athletic office from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and on Friday until 1 p.m. Tickets also are available at T&T Lewis and Tyler Athletics Thursday during regular business hours.
In Whitehouse, tickets can be bought at any campus or at the administration office through 10 a.m. Friday.
Presale tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for students or $7 at the game. Reserve tickets are $7 or $8 at the gate.
The Wildcats boast an undefeated 9-0 record while the Lions come in 7-2, unbeaten against Class 4A opposition. Like last year, both teams are 4-0 in 16-4A, with the winner set to claim the league championship. John Tyler has won 23 straight district contests since moving to 4A.
Wildcat Stadium will likely be at capacity (7,000) as two of the area’s top teams collide.
“You are talking about John Tyler, one of the greatest programs in the state,” Whitehouse coach Adam Cook said. “It doesn’t matter whether you are from El Paso or anywhere else, you know who John Tyler is, you know who Southlake Carroll is and you know who Odessa Permian is.”
The game will be broadcast on delay by KCEB/Me-TV (Suddenlink cable channel 2, Tyler) at 11:30 p.m. following the ETFinalScore.com Football Show. It will be replayed at noon Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday.
“It’s going to be a big game,” JT coach Ricklan Holmes said. “It’s a game that’s been talked about when two-a-days started.
“I think by putting it at the end of the season it kind of puts that same weight of how it used to be when we played Robert. E. Lee at the end of the season.”
Though the game has little bearing on playoff seeding — both JT and Whitehouse know where they’ll be playing next week — the District 16-4A crown is still up for grabs. Area bragging rights are definitely on the line.
“We are pumped for this game,” JT junior Isaac Warren said. “We are hyped. We’ve had great practices. Our coaches have been pumped up for this game too and we’re just ready to play.”
Tyler ISD athletic director Rod Kaspar said he expects Tyler’s allotment of 1,500 tickets to sell out, albeit with a late push on Friday.
“We had a good day Thursday but we did not sell out,” Kaspar said Wednesday. “I think it’s going to be a big-time playoff atmosphere.
“We were lucky enough to win that one last year and it’ll be an interesting game this year.”
Cook and the Wildcats will be eager to reverse that result and keep their unblemished season alive.
“Here we are, we have another chance to write a different ending here to this game,” Cook said. “We know that coach Holmes and Cujo will be ready. What a great opportunity.”
An opportunity fans won’t want to miss.
Staff writer Shane Stark contributed to this story.