John Tyler struck an ideal balance in its first two District 16-4A football games, one that has the Lions cruising right along.
With the offense consistently moving the ball, and the defense causing teams to stall, John Tyler appears more than capable of playing for the long haul a fourth straight year.
The offense and defense took turns as driving forces behind John Tyler's 35-0 win over Lindale on Friday.
The JT offense scored on five of its first six drives, and broke the 30-point barrier in consecutive games for the first time this season. Meanwhile, the defense pitched its second shutout. JT, now allowing only 14.4 points per game, has kept three teams from scoring an offensive touchdown in seven games.
JT has rushed for 396 yards and eight TDs, passed for 634 yards and five TDs, and held teams scoreless in seven of eight quarters in district play.
"I feel like we're progressing, getting better and better each week," JT head coach Ricklan Holmes said. "We're starting to learn how to be consistent. We're playing John Tyler football."
The JT ground game gained more strides, with DeQuante Woods rushing nine times for 85 yards. Woods, who also plays linebacker, has rushed for five TDs on 19 carries since moving into the starting lineup to begin District 16-4A play. The 5-11, 185-pound senior is averaging 7.7 yards per carry.
"I feel that's the best decision I've made since I've been here," said Holmes, a former running back/defensive back during his JT varsity days in 1996 and 1997. "He's the running back that we needed and he's doing exactly what we want him to do."
JT (6-1, 2-0 in 16-4A) turned the ball over a season-high three times, all in Lindale territory. JT totaled more than 300 yards in the first half compared to 79 on 17 plays in a slow-paced second half.
The Lions look to fix the mental lapses when they put their school-record 17-game district winning streak on the line Friday against Jacksonville on homecoming.
"We have to make sure we stay focused four quarters," Holmes said. "We have maybe one quarter, half a quarter, maybe a series (where) we lose focus. We have to make sure we don't do that."
John Tyler Rewind
Final score: John Tyler 35, Lindale 0.
Turning point: A contest never in doubt turned into a rout after JT forced the first of four three-and-outs and responded with a nine-play, 64-yard drive on its first possession to get all the points in needed four minutes into the contest.
The game was over when: JT scored three touchdowns during in an eight-minute span to take a commanding 28-point lead late in the second quarter.
Key stats: JT intercepted a season-high three passes. JT charted more yardage on interception returns (110) than Lindale's pasing attack (108). JT avoided an interception for the seventh straight game.
Warning signs: JT coughed up the ball three times and has now lost 10 fumbles on the season.
Positive signs: A year after getting pushed around in the trenches, JT has become dominant up front thanks to the likes of defensive ends Tyus Bowser (sack) and Kavante Jefferson (sack), and tackles DeAndre Miller (10 tackles) and Chris Mobley (five tackles). Lindale finished with 25 rushes for 24 yards.
What this win means: JT can win a variety of ways, following up an offensive masterpiece in a 63-14 win over Corsicana with a defensive gem.
Fast forward: JT returns home for the first time in four weeks on Friday against Jacksonville. JT and Whitehouse share the district lead at 2-0, with Corsicana and Jacksonville in the middle at 1-1, and Lindale and Nacogdoches in the rear at 0-2. Whitehouse defeated Jacksonville 42-35 in overtime Friday.