Longview Needs Win At Hallsville to Wrap Up Top D-I Seed From 15-5A
Longview Lobos (7-2, 5-1)
Hallsvlle Bobcats (6-3, 4-2)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Bobcat Stadium, Hallsville
- Longview: John King
- Hallsville: David Plunk
- Longview: TBA, 5A Division I playoffs
- Hallsville: TBA, 5A Division II playoffs
- DB Traveion Webster, Jr., 6-0, 195
- RB Tylan Miller, Sr., 5-8, 195 (87 carries, 620 yards, 8 TDs; 8 catches, 76 yards)
- RB Braylynn Anthony, Sr., 5-9, 175 (34 carries, 526 yards, 6 TDs; 2 catches, 24 yards)
- QB Michael Ross, Sr., 5-11, 175 (59 of 131, 976 yards, 9 TDs, 5 INTs; 36 carries, 144 yards, 2 TDs)
- DE Kybrian Sheridan, Sr., 6-0, 210
- DB Ameron Dean, Sr., 5-10, 170
- DB Keenan Madden, Sr., 6-2, 200
- TE Jordan Wyatt, Sr., 6-3, 215 (12 catches, 300 yards, 5 TDs)
- RB/DB Lance Hardman, Sr., 6-0, 190 (99 carries, 805 yards, 7 TDs, through 8 games)
- QB Roger McCuller, Sr., 6-0, 185 (51 of 113, 625 yards, 6 TDs, 4 INTs; 108 carries, 635 yards, 10 TDs; through 8 games)
- WR Andrew Southard, Sr., 6-2, 195 (20 catches, 265 yards, 3 TDs; through 8 games)
- LB James Nelson, Jr., 5-10, 200
- DL Johnathan Mitchell, Sr., 6-2, 210
- OL Parker Braun, Sr., 6-3, 280
- RB Josh Taylor, Soph., 5-10, 170 (59 carries, 270 yards, 4 TDs; through 8 games)
- LB Blair Fernandez, Jr., 5-9, 185
Just the facts
- This is the fourth all-time meeting between Longview and Hallsville. Longview leads the series, 3-0.
- Longview needs a win or a Texas High loss to lock down the No. 1 seed from 15-5A in the Division I playoffs
- Longview is averaging 37.6 points and 409.9 yards per game -- 291.8 rushing and 118.1 passing.
- The Lobos' defense is surrendering 12.7 points and 248.3 yards per game -- 127 rushing and 121.3 passing.
- During Hallsville's current four-game winning streak, the Bobcats have outscored their opponents by an average of 31.3 points.
- Hallsville is averaging 31 points and 324.3 yards per game -- 233.8 rushing and 90.5 passing.
- The Bobcats' defense is surrendering 23.9 points and 351.3 yards per game -- 247.6 rushing and 103.6 passing.
- Hallsville is already locked into the No. 2 seed from 15-5A in the Division II playoffs.
Key matchup: Longview rushing attack vs. Hallsville defensive front. It's abundantly clear that if the Longview Lobos are able to control the game's tempo with their powerful running game, few opponents stand a chance of winning. That's been true about the Longview program for as long as John King has been in charge. Since King's promotion to head coach prior to the 2004 season, the Lobos have lost a grand total of four district games in 69 chances. And Longview has rarely strayed too far from its game plan, which includes a heavy does of running plays. Through nine games this season, the Lobos have run 487 offensive plays, and 346 of them have been rushing attempts. In addition, 32 of Longview's 42 offensive touchdowns have come on the ground.
Out of necessity, Longview has used a variety of ball carriers this season. Projected starting tailback Tylan Miller, the team's leading rusher, missed a couple of games earlier in district. And that has allowed a few other players to gain valuable experience. D'Crayvan Polk and Braylynn Anthony have combined for 1,132 yards and eight touchdowns on the year, and both have game-changing speed. Anthony, in fact, leads the Lobos in yards per carry at 15.5, which is well above the team's average of 7.6. Expect Miller, Polk, and Anthony to be involved in the Lobos' plan of attack once again Friday night.
Hallsville's defense has been flying under the radar all season. In the Bobcats' last five games, which has resulted in a 4-1 record, Hallsville is allowing 13.8 points per game. However, Hallsville's total defense currently ranks in the bottom half of 15-5A, and its weakness has been defending the run. The Bobcats come into Friday's regular-season finale allowing almost 250 rushing yards per game, which could play right into Longview's strength. At the very least, Hallsville must excel on third-and-short situations and force a couple of turnovers to keep Longview's ground-control offense from controlling the pace.
Don't be surprised if: The game is closer than most expect. The Lobos have not exactly been tested the previous two weeks, outscoring Mount Pleasant and Sulphur Springs -- teams that are a combined 3-15 -- by a total of 89 points. Hallsville, meanwhile, is in the midst of a four-game winning streak after beginning league play with losses to Marshall (56-21) and Texas High (21-10). With a win, Longview would clinch the district's No. 1 seed for the 5A Division I playoffs, which would keep them clear of a first-round matchup with John Tyler. As far Hallsville, a team overshadowed by the league's other three playoff teams -- Longview, Texas High, and Marshall -- the Bobcats could create a wave of confidence before the postseason begins next week by upsetting perennial East Texas giant Longview.