A strange thing happens when a ball is lobbed toward John Tyler's Kieran Freeman.

In the eyes of the junior cornerback, the football changes appearance.

"When I get an interception, I see a money sign on the ball," Freeman said. "It just inspires me to get the interception because when I get interceptions I get money."

See, Freeman's older brother bet him he couldn't make any interceptions. So every time Freeman proves his brother wrong, he gets paid.

So far his brother, Demetree Curtis, a receiver for JT who graduated in 2010, has had to pay up five times.

Freeman and his fellow starting corner Javontavius Mosley have combined for seven of JT's 11 interceptions this year and the duo are a big reason why opponents often shy away from throwing the ball.

Along with backups Nicholas Thompson and Cordarion Johnson, and under the coaching of Jayme Moore, the corners have helped the Lions' defense limit opponents to 137.9 yards per game through the air.

Last week against Jacksonville, the JT secondary caught more passes from the Indians quarterback (two) than the Jacksonville receivers (one).

"It was good experience," Mosley said. "I hope we can do that this week against Nacogdoches."

Teams are often afraid to throw the ball against the Lions secondary, with teams averaging less than 19 attempts per game, fewer than half of which are completed.

"Because our kids are doing a good job at creating turnovers, getting interceptions, that's something that you put in the back of your mind if you're a coach going against us because you know we have playmakers out there," John Tyler coach Ricklan Holmes said.

Mosley, at 6-2, 170 pounds, is the bigger of the two and can match up with anyone. He leads the team in pass breakups with nine to go with 47 tackles, seventh most on the squad.

Freeman is ninth with 32 stops. Despite being listed at half a foot shorter than Mosley, he has three more interceptions than anyone else on the team because of his athleticism and jumping ability.

"Both of them bring a lot to the table," Holmes said. "(Freeman is) a really physical corner, not real big, but he's fast, he's very athletic, he can jump, he knows how to play the ball in the air.

"With Mosley, he's a tall corner, lanky, long arms, very athletic, can run, can pretty much cover any receiver you put him on."

Holmes knows the corner position well and watches the four corners like a hawk, keeping an eye on details like footwork and hand placement.

"I watch the secondary - safeties and corners - like no other because that's what I played when I played," Holmes said. "(I make) sure they're doing all the small things right because I know when it comes to the heat of the moment in the battle of the game you've got to make sure you lean on all those small things to make great things happen."

Added Freeman: "He pushes hard, making sure we're doing everything right. He don't play no games."

Mosley and Freeman, both juniors, had big shoes to fill in taking over for Isaac Warren and Deandre Williams, both of whom signed with Division I colleges last February.

Freeman was on varsity as a sophomore, but primarily saw the field on special teams and is relishing his opportunity as a starter after learning from Warren and Williams.

Mosley was a receiver on junior varsity a year ago but has made a seamless transition to stopping passes instead of completing them.

"I've got the feeling of it," Mosley said. "I'm more comfortable at it. I've been working at it more than I've been playing receiver."

Whether they're trying to break up a pass or pick it off, Holmes only cares about ensuring the other team doesn't catch the ball.

"If you catch the ball and they don't catch the ball that's great, but if you knock it down and they don't catch it that's great too," Holmes said.

But for Freeman, at least, grabbing the pigskin is his way to bring home the bacon.

TWITTER: @TYoestingETFS

LIONS TALES: Tickets for the John Tyler-Nacogdoches game will be sold on campus to students and faculty Thursday and Friday. Additional ticket sales will be at the TISD athletic office (807 W. Glenwood) Thursday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Friday and at T&T Lewis (903 W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd) during regular business hours Thursday. Presale tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students. Gate tickets cost $7 for general admission and $8 for reserved.

 

John Tyler 2015 Statistics

Scores

Non-District

Plano 35, John Tyler 17

Longview 31, John Tyler 14

Robert E. Lee 69, John Tyler 38

District 16-5A

John Tyler 65, Whitehouse 32

John Tyler 30, Lindale 20

John Tyler 41, Lufkin 38

John Tyler 40, Ennis 29

John Tyler 36, Corsicana 22

John Tyler 57, Jacksonville 21

John Tyler at Nacogdoches

Score By Quarters

    1st    2nd    3rd    4th       OT        Tot. 

Opponents    58    98    56    77    0    —    289

JOHN TYLER    68    103    59    108    0    —    338

———

Team Statistics

Scoring

    JT    Opp.

Rushing    180    162

Passing    84    78

PAT    39    35

FG    15    6

Defense/Special Teams    20    6

2 Pt Conversion    0    2

Total    338    289

———

First Downs

    JT     Opp.

Passing    72    52

Rushing    104    120

Penalty    14    12

Total    190    184

——— 

Third Down Conversions

JOHN TYLER    49-103 (48%)

Opponents    45-109 (41%)

Fourth Down Conversions

JOHN TYLER    6-14 (43%)

Opponents    8-22 (36%)

Field Goals Made/Attempted

JOHN TYLER    5-6 (83%) 

Opponents    2-4 (50%) 

———

PATs Made/Attempted

JOHN TYLER    39-45 (87%)

Opponents    35-40 (88%) 

Team Yardage

Rushing

JOHN TYLER    1715 (190.6)

Opponents    2391 (265.7)

Passing 

JOHN TYLER    1824 (202.7)

Opponents    1241 (137.9)

Total Yards

JOHN TYLER     3539 (393.2)

Opponents    3632 (403.6)

Punts-Avg.

JOHN TYLER    31-976 (31.5)

Opponents    27-1035 (38.3)

Fumbles-Lost

JOHN TYLER    17-10

Opponents    20-13

Interceptions Thrown

JOHN TYLER    5

Opponents    11

Turnover Ratio

JOHN TYLER    +9

Penalties-Yards

JOHN TYLER    80-683

Opponents    91-814

———

Individual Statistics

Rushing

Player    No.    Yds.    Avg.    TD    Lg.

Bryson Smith    126    961    7.6    13    73t

James Allen    72    297    4.1    2    19

Martrevious Allison    59    146    2.5    6    12

Dejuan Beal    47    139    3.0    1    17

Ka'Darius Henderson    14    110    7.9    1    43t

Dicarlo Dudley    5    34    6.8    0    6

Damion Miller    2    26    13.0    0    14

Duntayviun Gross    3    19    6.3    1    12

Jamal Cuba    2    16    8.0    0    1

M. Givens-Washington    1    13    13.0    1    13    

Jesse Darden    4    12    3.0    0    5    

Pierre Leonard    8    11    1.4    5    2

Cordarion Johnson    1    0    0.0    0    0

Bryston Gipson    1    -6    -6.0    0    -6

Team    9    -63    -7.0    0    -5

Total    354    1715    4.8    30    73t

Opponents    406    2391    5.9    27    88t

———

Passing

Player    Co.    Att.    Yds.    TD    INT    Lg.

Bryson Smith    118    192    1754    14    5    91t

Jamal Cuba    7    7    70    0    0    18

Total    125    199    1824    14    5    91t

Opponents    82    167    1241    13    11    50

———

Receiving

Player    No.    Yds.    Avg.    TD    Lg.

Duntayviun Gross    49    660    13.5    5    91t

Damion Miller    30    656    21.9    6    64t

James Allen    10    131    13.1    0    35

Jerry Young    10    79    7.9    1    38t

M. Givens-Washington    8    66    8.3    0    23

Ka'Darius Henderson    6    77    12.8    0    46

Martrevious Allison    4    45    11.3    0    23

Joshua Parker    3    68    22.7    1    54

Dejuan Beal    2    15    7.5    0    11

Jamar Cuba    1    14    14.0    0    14

Tabias Marshall    1    9    9.0    0    9

Jesse Darden    1    4    4.0    1    4

Total    125    1824    14.6    14    91t

Opponents    82    1241    15.1    13    50

———

Punting

Player    No.    Yds.    Avg.    N20    BK    Lg.

Devan Salazar    16    551    34.4    6    1    63

Aaron Alfaro    7    218    31.1    2    0    42

Reynaldo Araiza    8    207    25.9    0    0    35

Total    31    976    31.5    8    1    63

Opponents    27    1035    38.3    

———

Kicking

Player    XPM/A    FGM/A    TB    Lg.

Devan Salazar    39-45    5-6    5    63

Totals    39-45    5-6    5    63

———

Kickoff Returns

Player    No.    Yds.    Avg.    TD    Lg.

Duntayviun Gross    14    385    27.5        45

M. Givens-Washington    10    271    27.1        42

Damion Miller    6    132    22.0        43

Bryston Gipson    4    82    20.5        39

Cordarion Johnson    1    48    48.0        48

Ka'Darius Henderson    1    43    43.0        43

Kieran Freeman    3    33    11.0        22

Bryson Smith    1    27    27.0        27

Total    40    1021    25.5        48

———

Defensive Stats

Fumble Recoveries

Player    No.    TD    

Dewayne Jones    4    1

Demondre Bacon    1    1

Brandon Dade    1    0

Pierre Leonard    1    0

Bryson Smith    1    0

Kieran Freeman    1    0

Martrevious Allison    1    0

Shaundrick Williams    1    0

Gregorio Guerrero    1    0

Javontavius Mosley    1    0

Total    13    2

———

Interceptions

Player    No.    TD

Kieran Freeman    5    0

Da'Quaylon Kennedy    2    0

Javontavius Mosley    2    0

Cordarion Johnson    1    0

Bryston Gipson    1    0

Total    11    0

———

Sacks

Player    No.

Dekalen Goodson    5.0

Tabias Marshall    3.0

Pierre Leonard    3.0

Adrian Harris    1.0

Brandon Dade    1.0

Total    13.0

———

Tackles

Player    TOT    TFL    SAC    QBP    PBU    FF

Bryston Gipson    77    1    0    0    8    0

Shaundrick Williams    65    0    0    0    0    1

Da'Quaylon Kennedy    62    0    0    0    5    1

Pierre Leonard    62    8    3    22    0    4

Braylon Jones    58    1    0    11    0    2

Dewayne Jones    52    0    0    0    0    0

Javontavius Mosley    47    0    0    0    9    0

Martrevious Allison    41    0    0    0    1    1

Kieran Freeman    32    0    0    0    1    0

Brandon Dade    27    0    1    0    0    2

Jesse Darden    23    0    0    0    0    0

Dekalen Goodson    23    0    5    3    1    0

Damion Miller    22    0    0    0    3    0

Decorian Blaylock    18    3    0    1    0    0

Tabias Marshall    16    0    3    2    1    1

Gregorio Guerrero    16    0    0    1    0    0

Cordarion Johnson    10    0    0    0    3    0

Walker Franklin    5    0    0    0    0    0

Ka'Darius Henderson    5    0    0    0    0    0

Adrian Harris    5    0    1    0    0    0

M. Givens-Washington    5    0    0    0    0    0

Demondre Bacon    4    0    0    0    0    0

Dejuan Beal    4    0    0    0    0    0

Nicholas Thompson    4    0    0    0    0    0

Jamar Cuba    4    0    0    0    0    0

James Allen    3    0    0    0    0    0

Joshua Parker    3    0    0    0    0    0

Howard Hawkins    1    0    0    0    0    0

Ricky Hill    1    0    0    0    0    0

Totals    695    13    13    40    32    12

———

Scoring

Player    TD    FG    PAT    2PT    Tot.

Bryson Smith    13    0    0    0    78

Devan Salazar    0    5    39    0    54

Duntayviun Gross    7    0    0    0    42

Damion Miller    6    0    0    0    36

Martrevious Allison    6    0    0    0    36

Pierre Leonard    5    0    0    1    32

James Allen    2    0    0    0    12

Demondre Bacon    1    0    0    0    6

Ka'Darius Henderson    1    0    0    0    6

Jesse Darden    1    0    0    0    6

Dewayne Jones    1    0    0    0    6

Jerry Young    1    0    0    0    6

M. Givens-Washington    1    0    0    0    6

Joshua Parker    1    0    0    0    6

Dejuan Beal    1    0    0    0    6

Total    47    5    39    1    338

Opponents    41    2    35    1    289

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