LONGVIEW — Pine Tree picked John Tyler for homecoming and licked its wounds after a second-half pounding from the Lions, the reigning District 14-4A football king.
Greg Ward factored into five touchdowns, the defense scored once as John Tyler tallied a 52-14 victory over Pine Tree on Friday.
Ward passed for 255 yards and dashed for a game-high 129 yards as JT (3-3, 3-0 in 14-4A) won for the 10th consecutive time in its new district. Ward, a junior quarterback, added a two-yard TD run in the fourth quarter and padded his passing stats by throwing his fourth-and-final scoring pass to Justice Liggins.
More importantly, JT pitched a second-half shutout. Pine Tree mustered only 70 yards total over the final two quarters after stepping off more than 200 yards during an inspired first-half effort.
After Roderick Smith scored on a six-yard run, Tyus Bowser returned a fumble 19 yards for a score as JT pulled ahead 38-14, setting the table for 28 unanswered second-half points.
Darion Flowers caught four passes for 100 yards and a TD, with Fred Ross (136 all-purpose yards, TD), Smith (9-66, 1 TD) also playing big roles on offense. Devonte Black, a senior linebacker/receiver named JT’s homecoming king last week, made seven tackles and intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble to lead the Lions.
“The defense adjusted and the offense scored when we had too,” JT head coach Dereck Rush said. “The main thing is they didn’t have but 14 points and anytime we can do that we’re in (good) shape.”
Ward racked up 280 total yards of offense by halftime, helping JT overcome a rough defensive start.
The Pirates piled up 230 yards rushing on 30 carries, never attempting a pass, to keep pace.
Pine Tree traveled 78 yards in 12 plays on the opening drive, taking a 7-0 lead after Matt Cox sprinted two yards toward the home sideline after a pitch.
JT evened the score less than three minutes later, with Ward finding DeQuante Woods on a 14-yard TD.
Following a fumble recovery by Devonte Black, JT pulled ahead on a 24-yard Porfirio Benitez field goal.
The Lions added to the lead on Ward’s 52-yard TD strike to Darion Flowers, although the Pirates pulled right back within three points on Xavier McCoo’s 39-yard jaunt.
The quick-strike Lions needed just three plays to take their advantage back to 10 points after Ward carried twice for 63 yards before he connected with Ross on a 15-yard TD pass.
Pine Tree did a good job establishing the run in the first half. They run a lot of sets we don’t see everyday -— the option and veer,” Rush said. “We did great stopping the run in the second half.”
John Tyler 52, Pine Tree 14
At Pirate Stadium, Longview
John Tyler 10 14 14 14 — 52
Pine Tree 7 7 0 0 — 14
PT—Matt Cox 1 run (Andrew Procell kick), 5:50
JT—DeQuante Woods 14 pass from Greg Ward (Porfirio Benitez kick), 3:18
JT—FG Benitez 24, 0:14
JT—Darion Flowers 52 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 8:03
PT—Xavier McCoo 39 run (Procell kick), 5:14
JT—Fred Ross 15 pass from Ward (Benitez kick), 4:10
JT—Roderick Smith 6 run (Benitez kick), 10:03
JT—Tyus Bowser 19 fumble return (Benitez kick), 5:30
JT—Ward 2 run (Benitez kick), 11:35
JT—Justice Liggins 16 pass from Ward (Julian Varona kick), 4;52
First Downs 27 13
Rushes-Yards 39-266 50-273
Passing Yards 255 0
Com.-Att.-Int. 16-22-0 0-1-1
Punts-Avg. 2-40.0 4-32.7
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 4-2
Penalties-Yards 8-47 7-75
RUSHING—John Tyler, Greg Ward 19-129, Rodrick Smith 9-66, Fred Ross 4-26, DeQuante Woods 3-23, D’Carlton Grant 2-22, Kedarius Oliver 1-1, Team 1-(-1). Pine Tree, Jake Oden 22-102, Xavier McCoo 3-68, Victor Butler 14-61, Cameron Roach 6-34, Matt Cox 5-8.
PASSING—John Tyler, Ward 16-22-0—255. Pine Tree, Oden 0-1-1—0.
RECEIVING—John Tyler, Ross 7-72, Darion Flowers 4-100, Woods 3-46, Justice Liggins 2-37. Pine Tree, None.