Game 1: John Tyler

Cameron Drummond, Sports Editor

To help Wildcat fans out, the Wildcat Tales will be posting a weekly preview of each Plano Senior football opponent prior to their clash with the Wildcats.

Up first the Wildcat Tales staff introduces Plano’s Week One opposition, the John Tyler Lions.

School – John Tyler High School.

Location – Tyler, Texas (Population: 100,223), 114 miles SE of Plano Senior.

Division – UIL 5A – District 16.

2014 Record – 10-3 (2nd in 5A – District 16), Lost in UIL 5A Division I State Semifinal to Aledo 44-14.

Current Record – 0-0 (Tied-1st in 5A – District 16).

Last Meeting with Plano Senior – Defeated Plano Senior 30-12 in 2014.

Analysis – The Lions are looking to reload following the loss of two players that were key parts of a record-setting 651 point offense in 2014. Quarterback Geovari McCollister and running back Jeremy Wilson both graduated over the summer, leaving sizable vacancies in the John Tyler offense. In their place arrive junior quarterback Bryson Smith and senior running back Dejuan Beal, with sophomore Tre Allison also likely to see action in the backfield. Smith already has a go-to target on standby at wide receiver in the form of junior Damion Miller, a UT – Austin commit.

On the other side of the ball, big things are expected from senior defensive lineman Pierre Leonard, who totaled four sacks in John Tyler’s annual Blue & White Spring Game held this past May. Alongside Leonard at defensive tackle is University of Houston commit Braylon Jones, a massive 282 pound senior nicknamed “The Bear”. There will be plenty of new faces on display for John Tyler in 2015 though, as the Lions lost 30 players to graduation from last year’s team. Head coach Ricklan Holmes has installed a before dawn preseason practice schedule to build team chemistry among the Lions, although time will tell if the results match the preparation.

Last year’s 30-12 victory over Plano Senior can be attributed, in part, to the injury suffered early on by former Plano QB Brooks Panhans, but the Lions are an accomplished squad with a real chance to reach their first state title game since the year 2000.

Key Players – QB Bryson Smith (Jr.), WR Damion Miller (Sr.), DL Pierre Leonard (Sr.), DT Braylon Jones (Sr.) .

John Tyler Famous Alumni – Earl Campbell (1977 Heisman Trophy winning RB, Member of both the College and Pro Football Hall of Fame), Daniel Hernandez (Former SMU and FC Dallas soccer player), Kendall Hunter (RB for the San Francisco 49ers), Aaron Ross (Collegiate National Championship and Super Bowl winning CB).