John Tyler & Lee play rivalry game with playoffs on the line - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


John Tyler & Lee play rivalry game with playoffs on the line

It's a true crosstown rivalry, with decades of classic battles between them. When John Tyler and Robert E. Lee meet, everybody wants to talk about the game.

"We had spirit week this week," Lee lineman Brandt Martin said. "The whole school's ready to play John Tyler."

"It's everybody," John Tyler safety Correy Wilson said. "The coaches want us to practice hard and play hard, the teachers are pressuring us about the win. It's always special, there's a lot of pressure."

This year, there's even more on the line. The winner is guaranteed a playoff spot, so the annual meeting has a little something extra.

"Now that we have a district championship on the line, we've got to beat them," John Tyler center Azael Arispe said.

"It means a lot to me, because I've never played in a playoff game at John Tyler," Lions safety Billy Thomkins said.

"It's the biggest game of the year," Lee defensive lineman Reggie Taylor said. "It's the last time we play them."

As big a game as this is for the fans, it's even bigger for the players. For the seniors, it's their last chance to make their mark.

"That's our crosstown rivalry, " Arispe said. "That's what we work out for in the summer. This is for Lee."

"Your senior year, you're going to look back on playing John Tyler," Martin said. "You're always going to ask, ‘did I play my hardest'?"

"I should go out with a bang," Thomkins said. "Playing like I never played before."

"They're going to remember me."

Reid Kerr can be reached at

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