DALLAS – There was a feeling at Wildcat-Ram Stadium Friday that was not good, even though something great had just taken place.
It seemed as though a late fourth quarter touchdown run by Lake Highlands, while it tied its Class 5A Division II area round game against Tyler John Tyler at 46-46, had given too much time back to the John Tyler offense. In the end it wasn’t too much time, but enough for the Lions to win an edge-of-your-seat thriller.
Jeff Howe's Lake Highlands-John Tyler game blog
John Tyler quarterback Jeremy Johnson led a five-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a three-yard touchdown run by Ky’Ordric Black with under a minute left in regulation to lift the Lions to a thrilling 53-46 victory over the Wildcats.
The Lions (11-1) had to hang on for the win fending off several rallied by a talented Lake Highlands (9-3) ball club.
The two teams played an epic contest in front of a packed house at “The Boneyard” with the two squads combining for 44 first downs, more than 1,100 yards of total offense, 99 points and only one punt in a battle for the ages.
John Tyler led by as many as 16 points in the second half thanks to a rushing attack spearheaded by Johnson and senior running back Kedrick Chancellor that tallied 413 yards. Johnson and Chancellor both had big nights on the ground with the SMU commit Johnson rushing for 231 yards and two touchdowns while adding 172 yards and two touchdowns through the air on 9-for-12 passing to accompany 130 yards and two touchdowns by Chancellor.
The game was a track meet with both teams going back and forth when John Tyler missed a field goal with under three minutes to go in regulation that, with a 46-39 lead, would have iced the victory.
Lake Highlands took over at its own 20 and on the first and only play of the drive senior quarterback Rickey Zorn called his own number and after weaving through the John Tyler defense found a seam down the far sideline and jetted 80 yards to pay dirt to tie the game with 2:13 remaining.
That’s when Johnson went to work and found a crease over the right side of the line on the first play of the Lions ensuing drive and took for a 61-yard run down into Lake Highlands territory. After three straight runs by Chancellor, the Lions gave the ball to Black who busted his way through the heart of the Wildcat defense for the go ahead touchdown with 57 seconds left on the clock.
Lake Highlands looked like it would answer thanks to a pass interference call but the John Tyler defense and Texas commit Ashton Dorsey. The Under Armour All-American defensive tackle shot into the Lake Highlands backfield and put a big hit on Zorn to set up a fourth down and 17 near midfield.
On the next play Zorn’s desperation heave down the field fell aimlessly to the turf and Johnson took a knee out of the victory formation one play later to send the Lions to the third round of the playoffs.
Lake Highlands’ final play of the game will have implications next week for John Tyler as Dorsey left the field with the assistance of the John Tyler training staff after injuring his left ankle. The longtime Longhorn pledge left the field on crutches but to a lot of is known as of this time about the extent of the injury.
The large John Tyler lead was cut into by Lake Highlands junior all-purpose back Desmond Roland, who almost single handedly got the Wildcats back in the game.
John Tyler led 39-23 after a 30-yard field goal by Jessie Diaz with 7:21 left in the third quarter and that’s when Roland went to work. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound speedster capped an 11-play, 64-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown reception on a short pass that saw him hit the corner and dive for the pylon to score to cut the deficit to 39-31 thanks a nice two-point run by Zorn. After forcing John Tyler’s only punt of the night, Roland accounted for the only play on the Wildcats’ next drive by hauling in a pass from Zorn on a wheel route for a 36-yard score. Zorn had his two-point run of the night to tie the game at 39.
John Tyler slowed the game down on its ensuing drive, converting three third down and two fourth down situations to sustain a 12-play, 80-yard drive that milked nearly five minutes off of the clock and ended with a four-yard touchdown run by Chancellor on fourth and goal to give the Lions a 46-39 lead.
While Johnson and Chancellor led the way for John Tyler, Roland and Zorn did the same for Lake Highlands.
Roland rushed 12 times for 93 yards and a touchdown while hauling in six passes for 157 yards and two more scores. Zorn rushed for 175 yards on 19 carries and scored two touchdowns while throwing for 218 yards on 10 of 16 passing with three touchdowns.
In the end however the effort of Lake Highlands’ dynamic duo was not enough as John Tyler held on for the win and now moves on to face Klein Collins, a winner of Leander on Friday night, in a regional playoff game next week.