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Longview Embraces the Challenge of Moving Up to 6A

LONGVIEW — The Lobos have seen this movie before.

Following a successful run playing down in classification, Longview will once again re-ascend to the state’s largest grouping.

The Lobos, which toiled in Class 5A in each of the last two seasons, are back in 6A for the next two years.

But the expectations haven’t changed.

Longview first dropped from 5A to 4A at the beginning of the 2008 season, and spent the next two years dominating at that level by reaching the state championship game in consecutive seasons.

The Lobos rejoined Class 5A from 2010-13, but Longview was unfazed, advancing to at least the third round of the playoffs all four years.

Longview will now jump to 6A after reaching the 5A Division I state quarterfinals last season.

It remains to be seen how Longview will handle the transition this time around.

Graduation took a toll on the Lobos, as longtime head coach John King returns just four total returning starters.

But as we’ve seen in the past, Longview has never used the word “rebuilding.”

A talented sophomore and junior class will get their time to shine under the glow of Friday night lights for the first time.

Junior receivers Jaylin Brown and Eric Timberlake are players to keep an eye on, as is sophomore running back Japhiniah Lister.

Gaylon Wiley, who served as the backup QB to Michael Ross a season ago, will get his shot under center in 2016. Meanwhile, D’Crayvan Polk returns after being in the rotation at running back in 2015.

Polk will be running behind an offensive line anchored by senior Kendall Starling, who helped pave the way for Longview’s powerful rushing attack last season.

The defense definitely has several holes to fill, but safety Traveion Webster is an instinctual defender with Division I college football in his future.

Longview opens the season Aug. 26 at Lufkin.

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