TYLER - The John Tyler football team returns 16 of it's 22 starters from 2016. For most teams, you'd give them a pass right into the state quarterfinals.
But for the Lions, those few players that graduated leave some big holes.
Quarterback Bryson Smith (now at Houston) and wide receiver Damion Miller (now at Texas) were two of the best players in East Texas last year. JT does bring back several other receivers with experience, and new quarterback Devlen Woods has shown he's more than capable of holding down that position. So while others may be concerned, the Lions feel comfortable with what they have.
Head coach Ricklan Holmes says, "We're going to make sure we continue all the success we've been having over the years on the offensive side of the ball, yes we lost Bryson Smith, yes we lost Damion Miller, but we got some guys that are going to be able to fill their shoes, that's going to be doing the same thing that they've done, if not better."
On the defensive side, most of the Lions star players are back this year. This team gave up less than 20 points a game in 2016, making them the best defense in 11-6A. So, with that unit intact and feeling good, they're expecting big things this year.
Senior linebacker Dekalen Goodson says, "We got a lot of returning starters...almost our whole defense is full of seniors so we should do what we're supposed to do and nothing should fail."
JOHN TYLER 2017 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Fri. Sept. 1 at Plano West
Fri. Sept. 8 vs. Ennis
Fri. Sept. 15 at Lufkin
Fri. Sept. 22 at Rockwall
Fri. Sept. 29 vs. North Mesquite
Fri. Oct. 6 at Mesquite
Fri. Oct. 13 - BYE
Fri. Oct. 20 at Rockwall-Heath
Fri. Oct. 27 vs. Longview
Fri. Nov. 3 at Mesquite Horn
Fri. Nov. 10 vs. Lee