CLASS 5A DIVISION I QUARTERFINAL

Longview Lobos (11-2)

vs.

Mansfield Lake Ridge Eagles (13-0)

9 p.m. Saturday

AT&T Stadium, Arlington

 

Coaches
  • Longview: John King
  • Lake Ridge: Kirk Thor

 

Last week

 

Next week
  • Winner faces winner between Canyon Randall and Aledo, state semifinals

 

Playmakers

Longview

  • RB Tylan Miller, Sr., 5-8, 195 (138 carries, 941 yards, 12 TDs; 9 catches, 106 yards)
  • RB Braylynn Anthony, Sr., 5-8, 175 (75 carries, 981 yards, 12 TDs; 6 catches, 72 yards)
  • FB Austin Moore, Sr., 5-10, 230 (73 carries, 608 yards, 7 TDs; 8 catches, 116 yards)
  • QB Michael Ross, Sr., 5-10, 175 (77 of 165, 1,283 yards, 10 TDs, 6 INTs; 46 carries, 203 yards, 3 TDs)
  • OL Tim Clay, Sr., 6-6, 380
  • DE Kybrian Sheridan, Sr., 6-0, 210 (64 tackles, 15 for loss, 7 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries, 1 PBU)
  • S Bryson Davis, Sr., 6-3, 185 (102 tackles, 3 for loss, 1 sack, 1 PBU)
  • CB Ameron Dean, Sr., 5-10, 170 (39 tackles, 1 for loss, 5 INTs, 8 PBUs, 3 blocked kicks)

 

Lake Ridge

  • QB Jett Duffey, Sr., 6-0, 180 (137 of 226, 2,318 yards, 25 TDs, 5 INTs; 129 carries, 1,402 yards, 17 TDs; committed to Texas Tech)
  • LB Loren Mondy, Jr., 6-1, 240 (committed to Arizona State)
  • RB Duke Carter, Sr., 5-8, 185 (203 carries, 1,677 yards, 17 TDs; 6 catches, 84 yards, 2 TDs; committed to ULM)
  • DB Arnold Azunna, Sr., 6-0, 190 (committed to Iowa State)
  • DB Austin McCarther, Sr., 6-1, 180
  • LB Jack Lechman, Sr., 6-2, 220
  • WR Jabari Ford, Sr., 5-8, 155 (21 catches, 325 yards, 5 TDs)
  • WR Tyler Robinson, Jr., 5-11, 170 (25 catches, 410 yards, 5 TDs)

 

Just the facts
  • Longview is participating in its 10th fourth-round playoff game. The Lobos are 5-4 all-time in this round, and have won their last three.
  • Lake Ridge is in its fourth season of varsity of football, and in the fourth round for the first time.
  • Longview is averaging 37.5 points and 422.2 yards per game -- 316.8 rushing and 105.4 passing.
  • The Lobos' defense is allowing 13.7 points per game, and has forced 19 turnovers -- 10 interceptions and nine fumble recoveries.
  • Longview's two losses this season came by a combined 10 points.
  • Lake Ridge is averaging 54.4 points and 514.7 yards per game -- 319.2 rushing and 195.5 passing.
  • The Eagles' defense is allowing 24.5 points per game, 34.3 during the playoffs.
  • Lake Ridge's closest game this season was decided by 17 points.

 

Longview's Tylan Miller (left) breaks away from Wylie's Chance Miller during the Lobos' 35-14 win in a Class 5A Division I regional semifinal Nov. 28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. (Jeff Stapleton, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Longview rushing attack vs. Lake Ridge defensive front. Not only is the running game the unquestioned strength of the Longview Lobos offense, it must be at its absolute best Saturday night. Sure, Longview needs to rely on its deep collection of talented ball carriers to put up points, but the Lobos also must limit the number of possessions for Lake Ridge's explosive offense. The Eagles come into the quarterfinal round of the playoffs on fire, averaging almost 70 points per game in postseason wins over Dallas Samuell, John Tyler, and Mesquite Poteet. Normally when teams enter the playoffs, production dips because of the tougher level of competition. But that certainly hasn't been the case for Lake Ridge, which is averaging 20 more points per game in the playoffs than it did during the regular season. The Eagles are also averaging 643.7 yards per game in the playoffs after putting up 476 on average their first 10 games.

Mansfield Lake Ridge quarterback Jett Duffey runs for yardage during the Eagles' 77-51 win over John Tyler in a Class 5A Division I area playoff Nov. 21 in Forney.

It will be up to Longview's grind-it-out approach on offense to keep pace with Lake Ridge, while shortening the game. The Lobos feature four backs with at least 608 rushing yards on the season, and all four have taken turns leading the way. Seniors Braylynn Anthony and Tylan Miller are each zeroing in on 1,000 yards for the season, and the duo offers opposing defenses differing styles. Anthony is the "home run threat," as he enters this week averaging more than 13 yards per carry, while Miller is the more hard-nosed runner, whose physical running typically takes its toll on defenses in the second half. D'Crayvan Polk, who has rushed for 757 yards and eight touchdowns, will also see significant time in the Longview backfield. And for short-yardage and goal line situations, there's 230-pound fullback Austin Moore, who is just valuable as a lead blocker. All four will likely be needed in order for Longview to have success.

Longview's D'Crayvan Polk (9) celebrates one of his two touchdown runs in the Lobos' 35-14 win over Wylie in a Class 5A Division I regional semifinal Nov. 28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. (Jeff Stapleton, ETSN.fm)

Don't be surprised if: Longview opens up its offense slightly, either out of necessity or design. Lake Ridge's defense will likely load the box with extra defenders in an attempt to force Longview out of its comfort zone, and in those situations, there will be one-on-one matchups downfield the Lobos' passing game may try to exploit. In last week's win over Wylie, Longview quarterback Michael Ross was 6 of 7 passing for 132 yards. The six completions were two more than Longview had in its first two playoff games combined. Ross is a good athlete, who's at his best when rolling out and making throws on the run. He is a strong-enough runner for defenses to respect his rushing capabilities, which may allow more time for receivers to create separation downfield, especially when single-covered. In the area round of the playoffs, John Tyler quarterback Bryson Smith had success making plays with his feet, finishing with 215 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Lake Ridge's offense has put up gaudy numbers for sure, but its defense has been hit for 91 points the last two weeks, and the Eagles have allowed an average of 477.5 yards in those games.