Pottsboro duo ready for the next level
POTTSBORO — Over the past two seasons, there wasn’t a more productive combination in the area through the air.
And so when Braden Plyler dropped back to pass and the ball ended up in the direction of Titus Lyons, it wasn’t a surprise that good things happened for the Pottsboro Cardinals — including the best season in school history.
Even though they will go their separate ways after high school — Plyler signed with Southeastern Oklahoma State and Lyons joins a large Texoma contingent at Cisco College — they know their connection on Friday nights helped get them to this point.
“We were always going out in the summer and putting in the work,” Plyler said. “I just have to put it to him and he’ll go and get it.”
Plyler chose the Division II school due to several factors.
“It was close to home and seemed like the right fit for me. I’ve had family go there,” he said. “I love playing football and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Lyons picked the junior college program over offers from Cornell, Valparaiso University, East Central, Southeastern Oklahoma State, Hendrix and Henderson State.
“I felt like I was underrecruited and COVID may have played a part in that,” Lyons said. “(Cisco) has plans for me. They want to use me to properly show my skills. They want to help you with your journey along the way.”
Plyler was slated to a four-year starter for the Cardinals but his first two seasons ended in the opener due to knee injuries.
“My parents told me to keep going, push through it and stick with it,” Plyler said.
He made up for the lost time and immediately began to produce.
Lyons became his top target and they were part of the best offense in school history as Pottsboro went 15-1 and reached the Class 3A Division I state championship game for the first time before losing, 42-35, to defending champ Grandview.
“It was something unreal,” Lyons said. “I had never had connections like that before with that team. It was an amazing experience.”
The Cardinals set the program mark with 720 points (45 per game) and the 15 straight victories broke the school record of 12 that had been done four times.
Plyler was the district’s Offensive Player of the Year and chosen second-team all-state by completing 177-of-274 passes for 2,725 yards and 30 TDs with seven interceptions and also ran 217 times for 1,058 yards and 19 touchdowns.
After a broken thumb and torn ligaments sidelined him for almost his entire sophomore year, Lyons broke out in a big way as a junior and was first-team all-district and first-team all-state after 75 catches for 1,303 yards and 16 touchdowns. It also helped that he went from 5-foot-8 to six feet during the summer before high school and has continue to grow at least an inch each year to his current height of 6-4.
This past season the Cardinals ended with a 9-3 record and an area-round loss against Malakoff after tying for the District 5-3A (I) title.
Plyler was again the district Offensive Player of the Year. He completed 141-of-231 passes for 2,123 yards with 26 touchdowns and five interceptions and ran 187 times for 950 yards and 20 touchdowns.
“I feel like I can produce at the next level at QB,” Plyler said.
Lyons shared the district’s Utility Player of the Year. He finished with 49 catches for 953 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Both of them accumulated those numbers in just 10 games as Pottsboro had two contests forfeited by its opponents due to COVID-19.
Southeastern had its 2020 season cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Storm went 1-10 in 2019, the first time since 2013 the program had a losing record. Southeastern had players from several area high schools slated to be on the roster this past fall, including Sherman, Denison, Van Alstyne, Howe, Bells and Texoma Christian.
Cisco will play a seven-game schedule starting in late March after it had the 2020 fall schedule postponed due to COVID-19. The Wranglers went 5-4 in 2019 and will be under the direction this season by Denison native Ryan Taylor, who was elevated to head coach after four years as the offensive coordinator. Another former Yellow Jacket, Brian Lilly, is taking over as the defensive coordinator.
Lyons joins Sherman’s Jacoby Hunt and Denison’s Keebler Wagoner, Keleon Vaughn and Javonte Briscoe in the Wranglers’ recruiting class.