Lions Turn To Playmakers Bush, Hackett By HAROLD WILSON
December 1, 2010John Tyler Football
David Bush and Chris Hackett give the John Tyler football team the best of two worlds -- the senior quarterback who rarely throws an interception, and the senior safety who intercepts nearly everything coming his way.
The standout duo, both orally committed to Texas Christian University, represent two key reasons JT heads into its state quarterfinal showdown Friday at Wylie with a mind-boggling plus-27 interception ratio.
Hackett established a new-school record for interceptions this postseason, while Bush needs only 17 yards to become JT's all-time passing leader.
"We've been knowing each other a long time," Hackett said. "It's amazing to come together and do what we're doing now."
Bush completed 17 of 20 passes (85 percent) last week with no interceptions, the fifth straight game he avoided a pick.
"Throwing interceptions is a heartbreaker," said Bush, who has completed 150 of 223 passes (67.2 percent) for 1,835 yards. "It's me (trying) to be smart with the ball and not trying to force too many things if I don't have to."
The dual-threat abilities of Bush work to the team's advantage. Last week Bush surpassed 100-plus yards for the second straight game after he stepped off a career-high 225 the previous week. Bush leads the team in rushing with 1,274 yards rushing and 13 TDs.
"Coaches tell me each and every day if it's not there, go to your second option or take off running," said Bush, listed at 5-9, 160. "In the playoffs we can't have too many turnovers."
Hackett (6-2, 175) intercepted two passes for the second straight week in JT's 45-34 regional win over Carrollton Newman-Smith.
"It really changes the game, and gives the ball back to the offense," said Hackett, who has multiple interceptions in four different games, and leads the team with 11 picks on the season. "I just go out there and try to play my hardest. When I see it in the air, I just go and get it."
The pair started at the two cornerback spots in the eighth grade at Boulter. Now the two play on different sides of the ball, with equal admiration for the other.
The highlight reel of Bush features a dazzling 36-yard TD run when he avoided at least five Robert E. Lee defenders, and a 75-yard score when he rolled to the ground, prevented his knee from touching the grass, hopped back up and sprinted 75 yards to the end zone against Nacogdoches.
The JT signal-caller claims a quarterback rating of 111.4. By comparison, Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick, arguably the best dual-threat to ever play the position, currently tops the NFL with a QB rating of 106.0, and averages 6.5 yards per rush, just slightly ahead of Bush's 6.2
"Watching Bush is amazing," Hackett said of his teammate. "He can do a whole lot of things. When he shakes guys, you don't see too many doing it. I just enjoy watching him."
The two touched on the possibilities of going opposite one another.
"His accuracy and running all together -- I'd have to play the best I could," Hackett said of Bush. "He'd probably take off running so I would have to do my best tackling."
Knowing the chances of getting picked, Bush agreed.
"I probably wouldn't throw it up," admitted Bush, who has a 200-yard rushing and 290-yard passing game to his credit. "His ball skills are incredible. If the ball's in the air, he's going to find some way to go get it. I might be Bush the runner that day."
In his first game with two picks, Hackett soared for a one-handed interception against Nacogdoches. He dove for one last week against Carrollton Newman Smith. In an area round win over Pflugerville Connally, Hackett intercepted passes on the first and last plays of the game. He even hooked up with a 57-yard pass-and-catch from Bush against Longview, and plays offense for JT on occasion.
"I know when's out there, he's one of the best safeties in the state in my eyes,' Bush said of Hackett, who is part of a JT defense with 28 interceptions to their credit. "He's very competitive and likes to have fun, and doesn't like losing. I have as much confidence in him as the rest of my receivers It's a plus having him on the offensive side."
Before becoming college teammates, the pair plans to do their best to bring JT its first title since 1994.
"Point-blank," Hackett said, "we have to win the game."
Bush wants JT's offense, with six 40-point games under its belt, to keep complementing a Lion defense with 46 takeaways.
"We know our defense is going to ball," Bush said. "It's hard to beat us when we come out clicking on all cylinders. Offensive-wise, we just have to put the ball in the end zone."
John Tyler practiced at Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium on Tuesday to prepare for Friday's clash at Wylie Stadium, which has the same type of artificial turf surface and seats 10,000. Wylie, approximately 97 miles northwest of Tyler, is located just east of Plano, and sits in three different counties (Collin, Dallas, Rockwall) ... Tickets to Friday's Class 4A Division I state quarterfinal between John Tyler (12-1) and Wylie (10-3), set for 7:30 p.m., go on sale starting today and can be purchased through Thursday at the high school campus (students and faculty only), and through Friday at the TISD athletic office, T&T Lewis and Tyler Athletics. Pre-sale tickets cost $4 for students and $6 for adults. All tickets at the gate cost $8.