TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Most would expect the John Tyler Lions to have little bit of a sense of urgency after an 0-2 start.
Fact is, JT, under Ricklan Holmes has had teams, that got off to slow starts before, and wound up making deep playoff runs.
Just last season, the Lions were 1-2 before going undefeated in district play and reaching the Class 5A Division 1 state quarterfinals.
But CUJO does face a different animal Thursday in defending state champion Longview, who as expected has looked like a team that could again be playing until the week before Christmas.
JT is also on short rest, having played cross-town rival Tyler Lee Saturday, falling 34-7.
Now, they must face another old East Texas rival in front of a national television audience.
“No need to panic. That’s part of the process. You know the things that we done wrong the first game, we didn’t do wrong in the second game. Now did we still make mistakes, yes. But they were new mistakes, and all the mistakes are correctable. We’re playing people to get us prepared for the second season. This is just the first season, preseason. And with our players that we have, we plan on having three seasons.”Ricklan Holmes, John Tyler Head Coach
While the Lions have struggled against a tough early schedule, the Lobos have excelled.
Coach John King’s squad pulled out a win in a hostile environment at rival Lufkin 24-21 thanks to a gutty performance in its season opener. They then went on to dominate a highly talented Marshall team, pitching a 53-0 shutout last Friday.
Longview has only allowed an average 56 yards on the ground in their two victories. JT, on the other hand, has had trouble sustaining drives.
The Lions and Lobos meet for the 96th time at 7:00 p.m. Thursday at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium in Tyler.
Meanwhile, our Friday Football Fever game of the week Friday will be a Top 5 4A showdown. The rejuvenated 2-0 Gilmer Buckeyes (ranked No. 5 in Division 2) will host the 2-0 Paris Wildcats (ranked No. 5 in Division 1).
Gilmer is looking for some payback after losing to the Cats in a close one 27-21 last season.
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Jeff Traylor Stadium in Gilmer.