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John Tyler Captures Outright District Title By Harold Wilson

November 28, 2010
John Tyler Football



JACKSONVILLE -- Jacksonville challenged John Tyler's stout secondary, and the Lions responded by taking away ball after ball, and in the end, the gold ball all to itself.

John Tyler intercepted four passes, helping the Lions put away Jacksonville 34-14 Friday night with a packed stadium on hand at the Tomato Bowl to claim the District 14-4A football title outright.

 The solo crown marked the first for JT (9-1, 7-0 in 14-4A) since 1998.

"A group of kids set a goal back in December (of 2009) to try and win a district championship and we got it done," said fourth-year JT head coach Dereck Rush, who has led the Lions to victory in 21 of its last 24 games after the program went 1-9 in his first season on the job. "To see this program go through some down points ... John Tyler is a good place to be (right now)."

Jacksonville, which could have created a tri-district championship with a win, led after one quarter, and trailed by just seven with eight minutes left. Jacksonville (7-3, 5-2) faced a fourth-and-goal from the JT 3-yard line before a delay of game pushed the Tribe back five yards, leading to a 25-yard field goal try. The kick missed wide right, and JT needed just three plays to go 80 yards.

Jeremiah Henry doubled JT's lead to 28-14 with a 4-yard run. Chris Hackett sailed airborne to take a second ball from Jacksonville's Ryan Black away, and moments later JT answered with another three-play drive, finished by Damarcus Humber's 2-yard run to ice the game -- literally.

Rush received an icebath after the Lions locked up their ninth straight win, that despite a valiant effort from Black, who produced 346 yards of total offense. JT opens the Class 4A Division I playoffs on Friday at Texas High in Texarkana. Jacksonville defeated Texas High in non-district, while JT started the 2009 season with a 24-point victory against the same team at the same location.

"Every game in 14-4A is going to be tough -- it definitely wasn't a cakewalk, added Rush. "We fought too and we came out victorious."

David Bush rushed for a team-high 76 yards and the TCU pledge also completed 10 of 15 passes for 134 yards. Bush received ample help on the ground from Henry (9-73, 2TDs) and Devonte Haggerty (3-58). Fred Ross, a sophomore wideout, sparked JT multiple ways, taking his only carry 20 yards for a TD for JT's first two-score lead (21-7) early in the third, and adding two catches for 28 yards.

But the night belonged to JT's defense, which used three of its interceptions to set up TDs. Triston Wade added his sixth pick of the season -- he shares the team lead with Hackett -- while Devontaye Kennedy tacked on an interception as well.

The Lions did so minus the services of blue-chip junior defensive end Eric Davis, the team leader in sacks with 9.5 who sat out due to an ankle injury. JT starting linebacker Antjuan Lee also played sick, while the offense continued to play without its most experienced lineman -- senior guard Martin Perez.

The Lions totaled an impressive 20 interceptions in the regular season and held each team to 17 points or below.

"They came at us real hard, they tried the run game and a mix of passing," Hackett said on the way back to the locker room. "The DBs tried to play our hardest and keep another team (under) 18 points a game."

Jacksonville controlled the ball in the first half, outgaining JT by 84 yards and picking up nine more first downs, but went into the intermission with only one TD to show. In the first quarter, Jacksonville ran 25 plays to JT's four, leading in total yardage 150-13 through 12 minutes.

The Tribe traveled 78 yards in seven plays to take an early lead thanks to Black's 40-yard TD on a wide receiver screen to Darrell Minifee. Jacksonville went more than 28 minutes before getting its next score.

One week after Jacksonville survived a national-record setting 12-overtime game against Nacogdoches (84-81 win), the Tribe took one of the state's top teams to the limit for 3 1/2 quarters to leave with its heads high.

"We had a chance to be up good in the first half and didn't take advantage," Jacksonville head coach Steve Wells said. "Anytime you let John Tyler hang around with the speed they've got ... they did a good job persevering, coming back and doing what they do. We told the kids at halftime they played two teams that played them close for a half, but nobody's played them close a full ballgame."

After playing a team from Tyler tough, Jacksonville begins its playoff march in the Rose City on Thursday against Sulphur Springs in a Division II matchup.

"Hopefully we'll eliminate those mistakes next week when the third season starts," Wells said. "We want 14-4A to stay in the playoffs for a while."

-- -

John Tyler 34, Jacksonville 14

John Tyler 6 8 7 13 -- 34

Jacksonville 7 0 7 0 -- 14

First Quarter

JAX-Darrell Minifee 40 pass from Ryan Black (Rodrigo Carreon kick), 9:02

JT -- David Bush 11 run (kick failed), 5:42

Second Quarter

JT -- Jeremiah Henry 1 run (Bush run), 3:35

Third Quarter

JT-Fred Ross 20 run (Julian Varona kick), 9:23

JAX -- Jonathan Session 1 run (Carreon kick), 4:24

Fourth Quarter

JT -- Jeremiah Henry 4 run (Varona kick), 7:27

JT -- Damarcus Humber 2 run (kick blocked), 5:22

EST.ATT. -- 7000.



JT JAX

First Downs 16 25

Rushes-Yards 34-250 41-172

Passing Yards 134 250

Com.-Att.-Int. 10-15-0 22-41-4

Punts-Avg. 1-44.0 0-0

Fumbles-Lost 3-2 0-0

Penalties-Yards 5-50 7-51

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING -- John Tyler, David Bush 13-76, Jeremiah Henry 9-73, Devonte Haggerty 3-58, Damarcus Humber 5-23, Fred Ross 1-20, Ben Gordon 1-4, Team 2-(-4). Jacksonville, Ryan Black 16-96, Jonathan Session 21-65, Jadarius Session 1-9, Team 1-6, Tevin Garland 2-(-4) .

PASSING -- John Tyler, Bush 10-15-0 -- 134. Jacksonville, Black 22-41-4 -- 250.

RECEIVING -- John Tyler, Greg Ward 3-30, Gordon 2-51, Ross 2-28, Henry 1-18, Haggerty 1-6, DeQuante Woods 1-1. Jacksonville, Garland 7-65, Darrell Minifee 6-85, J. Session 5-46, L. Session 2-37, Ryan Acy 1-11, Andrew Black 1-6.

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