John Tyler loses 24-point lead but tops Plano East
November 26, 1994
Editors' note: The following appeared in the final November 27, 1994 edition of The Dallas Morning News.
IRVING – With just over three minutes remaining, Tyler John Tyler led by 24 points. With 24 seconds left, the Lions trailed by three.
But after nearly giving the game away, John Tyler had just enough time to get it back. Roderick Dunn returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown with 11 seconds left, giving the Lions a 48-44 victory Saturday night in a Class 5A Division II Region II semifinal at Texas Stadium.
"I feel empty," Plano East coach Scott Phillips said. "It's just an empty feeling."
With 3:03 left, Plano East trailed, 41-17. But the Panthers recovered three onside kicks and scored four touchdowns to take an improbable lead.
Plano East's Robert Woods caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Jeff Whitley with 24 seconds left, giving Plano East a 44-41 lead and an apparent victory.
But Dunn returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. He fielded the ball at the John Tyler three, cut toward the left sideline at the 20 and ran untouched for a touchdown.
Dunn's teammates followed him up the locker room tunnel as they celebrated.
"The line blocked and I just followed the lane," Dunn said. "We felt real deflated when they took the lead, and we were arguing, but coach (Allen Wilson) told us to keep our heads up."
Phillips said he wanted the ball kicked deep because Plano East has had good kick coverage teams all season.
"They moved their return man to the 20-yard-line," said Phillips, "I was hoping to kick it over his head, but he went back and got it."
John Tyler's Marc Broyles and David Warren each returned fourth-quarter fumbles for touchdowns, turning a close game into an apparent rout.
John Tyler (13-0), No. 3 in the state, will play Lake Highlands at 5 p.m. Saturday at Texas Stadium. Plano East, No. 1 in The News' 5A area poll and No. 2 in the state, ended its season 12-1.
Trailing, 27-17, with 5:23 left, Plano East had the ball at the John Tyler eight.
Whitley ran an option around right end and several John Tyler player stood him up at the 10. That's when Broyles stripped the ball from Whitley.
The ball popped into Broyles' hands, and he returned it 90 yards for a touchdown and a 34-18 lead with 4:24 left before collapsing in the end zone from exhaustion.
"I started cramping," said Broyles, who dived into the end zone. "I started holding the ball tighter at the five because I felt somebody creeping on me."
On Plano East's next series, a John Tyler defender blindsided Whitley, who fumbled at the Plano East 35. Warren scooped it up, broke a tackle and returned it for a touchdown with 3:03 left, giving John Tyler a 41-17 lead.
Leading, 21-14, at halftime, Wilson made a statement with the Lions' first drive of the second half.
Morris Anderson ran for three yards on fourth-and-inches from the John Tyler 37, and he scrambled for 17 yards on fourth-and-10 from the Plano East 28.
Nicholas Hernandez ended the drive with a 20-yard field goal to end the 14-play, 8:01 drive and give John Tyler a 24-14 lead.
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