JT Looks To Finish, Lee Leans on ''D''

One year after a 1-9 season, the John Tyler Lions goals may seem a little easier.

"Just finishing our games," junior quarterback Jeremy Johnson explained. "We didn't finish a lot of games last year and that's our motto."

"We were close but we didn't finish games," head coach Dereck Rush said. "So, this year we want to finish. But in order to finish you've got to start so we took the notion to start two-a-days in a positive manner."

Different from last season, the Lions have experience.

"We have 13 starters coming back I think offensively and defensively all together," Coach Rush said. "You know you can't substitute anything for experience."

"I feel a lot better going into this season," running back Ky'Ordrick Black said. "Last year was my first year on varsity and I was kind of scared. But I've got experience this year, I'm ready."

The Lions earned a spot in the state 7-on-7 tournament this summer. It was another confidence booster.

"We have pride, we've got a big heart, but we don't have that many in numbers," Jeremy Johnson said.

Six miles up the Loop, the Tyler Lee Red Raiders are no longer satisfied with just making the playoffs.

"I really want to get the passing game going a lot better than it was last year," junior quarterback Luke Wagner said. "We struggled a lot with completing passes in big games."

"Since '04, none of the teams have made it to the state championship," middle linebacker Matt Monigold said. "That's the biggest goal of any team. But, that's really want I want to do."

Lee had an early exit in the bi-district playoffs last season. The Red Raiders look to a veteran defense as their foundation this season.

"We've always had a big defense," said defensive end Reginald Taylor. "We work hard, come back and there it is."

Like John Tyler, Lee also made it to the 7-on-7 tournament.

"We all got together and hung out the whole summer," Luke Wagner said. "So we really made a bound and I think that really helped our passing game. Some people say it's not much, but we really did connect a lot and real well at it."

Lee will open the season at home on August 29th, hosting Lufkin. John Tyler will host Texas high on Saturday, August 30th.