TYLER – The legendary speed of east Texas football was on full display Saturday in Tyler.
Plano West might still be trying to catch its collective breath.
John Tyler jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back, forcing two Wolves turnovers and rolling to a 45-14 win at Earl Campbell Field at Rose Memorial Stadium.
Lions quarterback Bryson Smith, a University of Houston commit, accounted for more than 300 total yards and five touchdowns, and receivers Damion Miller, a University of Texas commit, and Michael Givens-Washington accounted for 236 yards and three touchdowns.
Tyler ran only 49 offensive plays, compared to 74 by West. On those 49 plays, Tyler accumulated 407 total yards.
West’s Da’Vonte Carline ran for 90 yards, and senior quarterback Tanner Gillean ran for a score. Backup Jake Sweeny entered the game in the fourth quarter and threw for the Wolves’ second touchdown of the game, a 31-yard fade to Joe Griffin.
Despite the lopsided score, West head coach Scott Smith was optimistic following the game, noting how proud he was of the way his team handled adversity.
“We actually did some really good things on offense and defense, but we have to be more consistent,” he said. “I’m proud of the way the kids handled themselves in what I thought was a playoff-type atmosphere. But John Tyler is such a good team. Obviously, they have one of the best quarterbacks and best receivers in the state. And I was really impressed with their defense, too.”
Said adversity started for West on the first drive of the game, when a high snap from center went over Gillean’s head and was recovered by Tyler’s Tabias Marshall. Shortly after the turnover, Smith found Cameron Grant for the first score of the game. Da’Quaylon Kennedy ran for Tyler’s second touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter.
Kennedy’s touchdown was set up via a blocked punt by Tyler’s Devlen Woods.
The Wolves fought back from the 14-0 deficit, though. West’s best showing of the day was at the end of the second quarter, when following Gillean’s touchdown run the Wolves defense held Bryson Smith and the Lions to a 38-yard field goal as time expired. Keeping the Lions out of the endzone could have acted as a momentum swing for the Wolves.
But Tyler pulled away in the third quarter, outscoring the Wolves 21-0 in the frame – a 25-yard run by Bryson Smith, and two touchdown passes to Miller and Givens-Washington.
“Obviously we would have liked to be in the lead, but I thought we had put ourselves in a position at halftime to be where we could do some things in the second half,” coach Smith said. “But we had too many mental mistakes [in the third quarter], and like good teams do, John Tyler took advantage.”
Coach Smith also said that playing a team “as good as John Tyler” at the beginning of the season – and before district play – is a good thing, regardless of outcome.
“We always want to win, but if you handle a loss like that appropriately, it can only be good for your team going forward,” coach Smith said. “I knew [John Tyler] would be fundamentally sound, and well-coached, and that’s why I wanted to play them. Seeing an opponent like that this early in the season, it’s good for our football team.”
West has a quick turnaround, playing Sachse at 7 p.m. Thursday at Garland’s Williams Stadium. The Wolves’ pre-district schedule concludes with Hebron on Sept. 9, followed by a bye week on Sept. 16. District 6-6A play begins for West on Sept. 22 against McKinney.
For continuing coverage of Plano West sports, follow @timothyglaze on Twitter.