ETSN.fm 2013 Preseason Class 5A/4A Poll: No. 1 Longview
Outsiders might look at the 2013 Longview Lobos with skepticism considering only four starters return on each side of the ball.
But don't let those numbers fool you. With what could be one of the best receiving corps in program history, and an offensive line bigger than any veteran head coach John King has had with the Lobos, Longview should contend for the District 12-5A championship and be a serious threat for the Division II Region II crown.
That puts the Lobos at the top of ETSN.fm's preseason East Texas Class 5A/4A poll for the second consecutive year.
Texas-bound Dorian Leonard joins tight end Jordan Whitaker and classmates Chris Pellum and Stephon Anthony to give second-year starting quarterback Dezmond Chumley plenty of options in the passing game. Highly-recruited tailback JaMycal Hasty takes over the starting spot behind a burly offensive line that includes Vernon Hutchinson, Kenny Andrews, and Broderick Washington.
Defensively, the Lobos should be their usual fast, physical selves.
Longview must live without TCU defensive tackle pledge Zaycoven Henderson for the first five games of the season, but the 6-foot-1, 290-plus-pounder should be back from his foot fracture for the stretch run. He and DeRodrick Alexander played key roles on last year's stingy defensive line, which may have been the best in East Texas.
The Lobos must replace their three top tacklers in DeMarkus Lathan (Tarleton State), Torean Sheppard (Tarleton State), and Corey Bartley (Texas A&M-Commerce), but Stephan Maxey and Travin Howard give the Lobos one of the most athletic safety tandems in the state, and King speaks highly of cornerback Chris Coby's cover skills.
A non-district schedule that includes Coppell, Olive Branch (Miss.), and Lufkin will prepare the Lobos for a potential run at the 12-5A title, for which they should battle Mesquite Horn and standout quarterback Destri White.
Regardless of how the district race winds up, Longview should have a good chance at a deep playoff run. If the Lobos and Lufkin can exorcise demons from last year's regional semifinal losses to Austin Westlake and Plano West, there could ben an all-East Texas D-II Region II final.