JT part of Fantastic Four, eyeing berth in state final

John Tyler quarterback Greg Ward (1) runs the keeper as Frisco Centennial's Conner Roden comes up for the tackle. (Herb Nygren Jr. | Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Only John Tyler and three other schools still entertain Class 4A Division I state championships hopes.

JT captured its second straight regional championship last week to join the four-team show, which includes 5A dropdowns Denton Guyer and Georgetown, and the new school on the block, Leander Rouse.

JT (13-1) and Guyer (12-2) meet in one semifinal on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Midlothian. Georgetown (14-0) and Leander Rouse (10-4) clash in the second semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cedar Park's Gupton Stadium.

Tickets for the JT-Guyer game go on sale Wednesday at the Tyler ISD athletic office (807 W. Glenwood).

Tickets cost $4 for students, $8 for adults and $10 at the gate. JT will be the visiting team at the Midlothian Multi-Purpose Stadium, an 8,000-seat complex which opened in 2006.

Tradition-rich JT leads the field with three state titles. The Lions, on a 12-game winning streak, are the highest-ranked team still playing, and the highest-scoring during the playoffs.

The winners square off for all the marbles at noon on Saturday, Dec. 22, at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

A snapshot of the four teams who remain in the title picture:


Class 4A Division I State Semifinalists

Denton Guyer

Record: 12-2

Playoff appearances: 5

Points For-Against (Playoffs) - 632-311 (174-116).

Road to semifinals: The Region I champs knocked off Saginaw (42-14, bi-district), Aledo (42-30, area), Amarillo (38-30, regionals), North Richland Hills Birdville (52-42, quarterfinals) to reach the next-to-last stop.

Notable: Guyer's schedule includes a loss in its opener to 5A Division I semifinalist Cedar Hill, and wins over 4A Division II semifinalist Wichita Falls Rider and defending champion Aledo. Guyer, which opened the season ranked No. 1, advanced to the 4A Division I state semifinals in 2008 and 2009, and the Class 5A Division II championship game in 2010. Guyer, a fairly new program in only its seventh year of competition, sports a 58-14 over last five seasons (JT is 54-15 during the same period).


John Tyler

Record: 13-1

Playoff appearances: 32

Points For-Against (Playoffs) - 582-235 (198-82)

Road to semifinals: The Region II champs tripped up Waxahachie (77-20, bi-district), Wylie (38-10, area), Frisco (45-28, regionals), Frisco Centennial (38-24, quarterfinals) on its way to the final four.

Notable: JT qualified for the state semifinals for the eighth time, and fifth in an 18-year span. The Lions are 48-9 over the past four seasons, with 14 playoff wins during the span. The Lions' resume includes wins over four teams with at least nine victories (Lufkin, Whitehouse, Frisco, Centennial), and a five-point loss to Class 4A Division II semifinalist Lancaster. JT's playoff offense tops the field, with the Lions averaging 49.5 points in the postseason.



Record: 14-0

Playoff appearances: 19

Points For-Against (Playoffs) 648-182 (169-84)

Road to semifinals: The Region III champs chopped down Magnolia West (44-18), Summer Creek (38-21), Angleton (49-39) and Nederland (38-6) to get one game from the championship.

Notable: The former 5A program, in the playoffs for just the third time this century, posted the latest in a long line of impressive wins, with a 32-point victory over a Nederland team fresh off an upset of top-ranked Pearland Dawson. Georgetown, the lone unbeaten team left, won their first 14 games all by 10-plus points. Georgetown held nine of its first nine opponents to single digits. Georgetown's average margin of victory (33.2) tops all remaining semifinalists.


Leander Rouse

Playoff appearances: 1

Points For-Against (Playoffs): 407-222 (172-48)

Road to semifinals: The Region IV champs eliminated Austin McCallum (59-27, bi-district), San Antonio Brackenridge (35-14, area), Gregory-Portland (44-7, regionals) and Corpus Christ Flour Bluff (34-0, quarterfinals) to extend its season.

Notable: Rouse reached this point by playing championship-level defense. Rouse blanked previously-undefeated Corpus Christi Flour Bluff in an impressive performance last week. Rouse, which started football in 2010, flew under the radar behind more-heralded Cedar Park and cross-town rival Leander during district before hitting its groove for the playoffs. Rouse paces the field in scoring margin (31.0) and scoring defense (12.0) in the playoffs.


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