Big Second Half Vaults JT Into Quarters By HAROLD WILSON
November 28, 2010John Tyler Football
WACO -- After three quarters full of worry, John Tyler finished with a flurry.
JT scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter and advanced to the fourth round a second straight year with a 45-34 win over Carrollton Newman Smith in a Class 4A Division I regional playoff Saturday at Waco ISD Stadium.
Jeremiah Henry and David Bush spurred the Lions offense with a combined 268 yards rushing and four touchdowns, and Chris Hackett intercepted two passes for the second straight game to help JT get back to the state quarterfinals.
JT (12-1) lost a coin flip afterward, meaning the Lions must travel to Wylie (10-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday for the right to move into the state semifinals.
JT trailed Newman Smith (7-6) by as many as 14 points, then held a 17-point lead twice in the fourth quarter.
"That's a true testimony that we're still going in the right direction -- the kids fighting through the adversity," JT head coach Dereck Rush said. "Every game is not going to be pretty. But the main thing is we got a 'W.'
Henry headed JT's offense with a career-high 150 yards and three touchdowns. Henry tied the game at 14 in the third quarter, later punched in on a 2-yard run to make it 38-21, and scooted 46 yards the very next minute to put JT in front 45-28.
"We all came out and wanted to win," Henry said. "When a group of people come together and share the same goal, nine times out of 10 it's going to get completed. We'd been there before (behind 17-3) against Marshall. We overcame it."
Bush showcased his dual-threat abilities, rushing for 118 yards and a score, and completing 17 of 20 passes -- hitting seven different receivers -- for 121 more yards.
A 32-yard TD run off a keeper by Bush sparked a JT offensive explosion over the final half. On the ensuing kickoff, Triston Wade applied a crushing blow on the return man, prying the ball to the turf, where Kelvin Bowie covered it up to give JT back possession.
Five plays later, Damarcus Humber raced around the right side for a 5-yard TD run, making it a 10-point game (31-21) and atoning for his first-half run called back due to holding.
Newman Smith, which lost to Longview by three points in the same round last year in only the school's second-ever playoff appearance, posted three TDs of its own in the final quarter, but failed to match JT's come-from-behind heroics.
JT allowed a season-high in points, but managed to keep Newman Smith's dangerous offense scoreless for 30 minutes after a fast start. The offense unwinded in the meantime, getting its first lead at 17-14 after Julian Varona's 39-yard field goal with the wind to his back.
Braxton Bearden accounted for 157 yards of offense and three TDs to ignite Newman Smith's quick start.
Bearden broke free twice in the opening quarter to give Newman Smith a 14-0 lead early. For his first strike, Bearden bounced left on his team's seventh play from scrimmage for a 35-yard TD.
After JT went three-and-out on its opening series and netted a 19-yard punt, Bearden burned the Lions again on a 24-yard reception off a middle screen, going untouched to the end zone as Newman Smith stunningly moved in front 14-0.
JT took momentum briefly when Hackett extended his body for an interception, his 10th of the season -- the senior TCU commit later increased the number to 11. JT marched to the 1-yard line but fumbled on fourth-and-goal to remain scoreless.
JT fumbled again later in the second quarter at Newman Smith's 36 trying to return a punt. JT's defense stiffened again moments later when Davontaye Kennedy separated Jerome Akintunde from the ball and Antjuan Lee recovered to get the Lions one final crack before the intermission.
With 15 seconds left in the first half, JT tallied its first TD after right guard Martin Perez pounced on a loose ball in the end zone after a Newman Smith defender jarred it loose from Bush crossing the plane.
"Carrollton Newman Smith is a good team. They played Longview to the wire last year," Rush added. "Our kids could have quit but they kept fighting and fighting. They've got a desire to win and we're going to keep on riding them."