Turns out Jacksonville head coach Steve Wells was spot-on concerning what it would take for the Indians to have a chance to beat No.9-ranked John Tyler on Friday.
Wells said prior to the game that his team would, “have to play a prefect game” to have any hope of upsetting the Lions.
Four interceptions, four dropped passes and two missed field goals — a far cry from a consummate evening — proved to be too much for Jacksonville to overcome as JT pinned a 34-14 defeat onto the Tribe in the final regular-season contest for both teams.
“We had our chances, but we missed too many opportunities and just shot ourselves in the foot,” Wells said. “We turned the ball over, made bad reads, missed field goals, and in the end it cost us the ball game.”
With the win the Lions (9-1, 7-0) win the league title outright, while Jacksonville (7-3, 5-2) finishes in third place behind Whitehouse.
The Indians will see action in the bi-district round of the UIL state Class 4A, Region II, Division II playoffs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night when they travel to TMF Rose Stadium (Tyler) for a date with Sulpher Springs (8-2).
JT journeys to Texarkana for a first-round date with Texas High on Friday night also.
The night started off well for the Tribe as Jacksonville drove 78 yards in seven plays to draw first blood when Daryl Minifee came up with a 40-yard scoring reception from Ryan Black that came with 9:02 showing on the clock.
The Indian defense then stepped up into the glow of the spotlight and held the high-powered JT offense, forcing the Lions to go three-and-out on their first possession of the game.
Following the JT punt, the Indians took possession at their own 22-yard line and on the third play, Black would throw the first of what became an uncharacteristic four-interception game for the senior signal caller.
Chris Hackett demonstrated to the near-capacity crowd that had engulfed the Tomato Bowl on Senior Night just why he is a TCU (NCAA Division I) commit, by making the interception look easy.
Oh, and by the way, Hackett returned the ball 37 yards after making the pic to set JT up at the Tribe 6-yard line.
A 5-yard penalty backed the ball up to the 11, but that didn’t seem to bother JT as Lion quarterback David Bush shot into the end zone on the first actual play from scrimmage to put JT on the board.
The point after touchdown attempt missed its mark, resulting in the Indians being able to retain the lead, 7-6.
The Indians moved the ball well on their ensuing possession, just as they seemed to do all night — Jacksonville had 425 yards of total offense — but were unable to come away with any points as the normally sure-footed Rodrigo Carreon missed, wide right, a 28-yard field goal try after the Jacksonville drive stalled out at the JT 11.
The team’s then swapped turnovers on their respective next possessions as the Indians got the ball back when JaColby “Spoon” Scott recover a JT fumble and then on the next play Devontaye Kennedy picked off Black, giving the ball right back to JT.
JT turned that miscue into eight points as Jeremiah Henry squirted in from a yard out with 3:35 to go in the half.
A David Bush conversion run made things 14-7 in favor of the visitors at that point.
Jacksonville was on the move once again on the Indians’ next possession as the Tribe advanced the rock all the way down to the JT 36 when Triston Wade stepped in front of a Black aerial that served to end the Jacksonville scoring opportunity as the teams made their way to the locker room with the Lions leading 14-7.
JT got the ball to open the final half and needed just 2:25 to tack on another touchdown, this one coming on a 20-yard end around by Fred Ross.
The Indians rebounded by peeling off a nice 11-play progression that was capped off with a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Jonathan Session that came with 4:24 to go in the third stanza.
Session’s score made things 21-14 in favor of JT.
On JT’s follow-up possession, things looked, for a minute, like the Tribe may be in a position to possibly tie things up as Xavier Mosely picked off a Bush pass.
Jacksonville then used 17 plays to move the pigskin all the way down to the JT eight, to set Carreon up for what seemed like a chip-shot field goal try that if made, would have put the Indians to within four points,
Instead, Carreon, who came into the game having converted on 8-of-10 field goal attempts, missed wide right from 25-yards away.
“That field goal would have pulled us to within four points and that would have made things a whole new game,” Wells said. “After we missed the field goal you could sense the dam had broken on us.”
JT needed just three plays to add another touchdown and then tacked on six-more points at the 5:22 mark in the game, following another Black gopher ball.
Hackett picked off the wayward Jacksonville pass to collect his seventh interception of the year.
Black finished up by going 22-of-40 for 252 yards (1 Td, 4 Int.). He also rushed 19 times for a team-high 100 yards.
Minifee had four catches for 71 yards and a touchdown to lead the Jacksonville receiving corps.
With about a minute to go in the game, Jacksonville’s Sha’Kil Mosely took a hard hit and lay motionless on the field for a brief while before being carted away on a stretcher.
Wells said, late morning on Saturday, that Mosely is fine and that since he was complaining of back pain, it was determined that it was in Mosely’s best interest to be taken to a local hospital for an examination as more of a precautionary measure.
Cody Bolton was also forced out of the game early with what Wells referred to as a “stinger” but is expected to play this week.
Wells said he is optimistic heading into the bi-district match-up against Sulphur Springs, based on some of the things his team was able to accomplish on Friday.
“We moved the ball up and down the field against what’s probably the best (class) 4A defense in the state,” he said. “If we can do that (this) week and eliminate the mistakes, I think we will have a good chance to win the game.”
NOTES: Jacksonville will be the road team and will wear all white uniforms while the Wildcats will be decked out in blue from head to toe according to Wells.
Indian fans will be seated on the visitors (non-press box) side of Rose Stadium.
Pre-sale tickets are priced at $4.00 for students and $7.00 for adults.
All tickets purchased at the gate will cost $8.00 each.
The Tribe’s last trip to Rose Stadium did not go well as Jacksonville lost a 2008 bi-district game to Longview 61-14.
John Tyler 34
JTHS 6 8 7 13 — 34
JHS 7 0 7 0 —14
JHS-Daryl Minifee 40 pass form Ryan Black (Rodrigo Carreon kick), 9:02, 7-0
JT-David Bush 11 run (kick failed), 5:42, 7-6
JT-Jeremiah Henry 1 run (Bush run), 3:35, 14-7
JT-Fred Ross 20 run (Julian Varona kick), 9:23, 21-7
JHS-Jonathan Session 1 run (Carreon kick), 4:24, 21-14
JT-Jeremiah Henry 4 run (Varona kick), 7:27, 28-14
JT-Damarcus Humber 2 run (kick blocked), 5:22, 34-14
First Downs 16 25
Rushes-Yards 34-250 45-173
Passing-Yards 134 252
Comp/Att/Int. 10-15-0 22-40-4
Total Yards 384 425
Punts-Avr. 1-44.0 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 5-50 7-51
Rushing — JT-David Bush 13-76, Jeremiah Henry 9-73, Devonte Heggarty 3-58, Damarcus Humber 5-23, Fred Ross 1-20, Ben Gordon 1-4, team 2-(4). JHS-Ryan Black 19-100, Jonathan Session 24-77, Tevin Garland 2-(4).
Passing — JT-Bush 10-15-0 —134; JHS-Black 22-40-4 — 252.
Receiving — JT-Greg Ward 3-30, Gordon 2-51, Ross 2-28, Henry 1-18, Haggerty 1-6, DeQuante Woods 1-1; JHS-Daryl Minifee 4-71, Ryan Lacy 1-15, Garland 8-72, Andrew Black 1-6, J. Session 6-52, LeDarius Session 2-36.