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Longview Takes Three-Game Winning Streak into District 12-5A Opener at Mesquite

Longview’s Nakia Brown is wrapped up by a Coppell defender in the Lobos’ season-opening loss to the Cowboys. Longview has won three games in a row since. (Jaime R. Carrero, ETSN.fm)

Longview Lobos (3-1)
vs.
Mesquite Skeeters (4-0)

7:30 p.m. Friday
E.H. Hanby Stadium, Mesquite

Coaches
Longview: John King
Mesquite: Robbie Robinson

Last week
Longview: def. Lufkin, 45-14
Mesquite: def. Plano West, 49-35

Next week
Longview: idle
Mesquite: at Rockwall-Heath

Playmakers
Longview

  • RB Tory White, Sr., 5-9, 175 (66 carries, 533 yards, 4 TDs)
  • FS Corey Bartley, Sr., 5-7, 155 (56 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 forced fumble, 6 PBUs, 2 PAT blocks, 1 punt block, 1 defensive TD)
  • LB DeMarkus Lathan, Sr., 5-9, 190 (49 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 3 PBUs)
  • FB Antonius Sanders, Sr., 5-10, 180 (20 carries, 159 yards, 3 TDs)
  • CB Nakia Brown, Sr., 5-10, 180 (23 tackles, 1 INT, 1 forced fumble, 3 PBUs; 29.8 punt return average, 1 TD)
  • DE Jalen Porter, Sr., 6-0, 210 (20 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 sack, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 defensive TD)
  • OL/DE Zaycoven Henderson, Jr., 6-2, 280 (9 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack)

Mesquite

  • QB Alex Cooper, Sr., 6-0, 155 (89 of 113, 1,219 yards, 12 TDs, 1 INT; 38 carries, 124 yards, 1 TD)
  • WR Rashard Higgins, Sr., 6-2, 170 (25 catches, 444 yards, 3 TDs)
  • RB Junior Session, Sr., 5-10, 200 (49 carries, 409 yards, 5 TDs; 10 catches, 110 yards, 1 TD)
  • OLB Javon Jones, Sr., 6-2, 200 (31 tackles, 9 for loss, 5 sacks, 1 INT)
  • WR Dameon Gamblin, Sr., 5-10, 157 (25 catches, 390 yards, 5 TDs)
  • WR Jordan Bracy, Sr., 5-8, 166 (15 catches, 118 yards, 2 TDs)
  • LB Jalen Montgomery, Jr., 5-10, 192 (31 tackles)

Just the facts

  • Longview safety Corey Bartley’s 56 tackles put the senior in the top five in East Texas
  • Mesquite has won all four of its games by at least 14 points
  • Longview averages 32.3 points per game and 17.3
  • Longview has outscored its opponents 123-28 during its three-game winning streak
  • Mesquite averages 36.8 points per game and allows 19.5
  • Longview and Mesquite have played as district foes six times since 2004, and Longview has won every game, averaging a 22.5 margin of victory

Key matchup: Mesquite’s skill players vs. Longview’s back seven. The Skeeters have several talented options in their spread offense, which quarterback Alex Cooper has run to near perfection so far this season. Not only is his TD passes-to-interceptions ratio 12-1, he’s completed almost 80 percent of his passes, which is especially impressive considering he averages 28.3 pass attempts per game. Longview coach John King counters with a speedy, veteran defense, but he emphasized the importance of limiting big plays and keeping the Skeeters’ skill players in front of the Lobo defenders.

  • “Our ability to tackle their skill guys in the open field (is a key matchup),” King said. “They are a solid football team that reminds me a lot of John Tyler. Alex Cooper keeps plays alive with his legs and he’s always looking down field to throw. We also need to be able to control the line of scrimmage on both sides.”

Chalk talk

  • Longview coach John King on his team’s three-game winning streak after a season-opening loss to Coppell: “We’re trying to improve each week. Not where we need to be, but steadily getting there.”
  • King on the progression of his offensive and defensive lines, which dominated the game against Lufkin: “They’re getting better each week. There’s not as many missed assignments.”

Don’t be surprised if: A battle of styles breaks out in this contest, which could ultimately be the District 12-5A championship game. It’s hard to think that way in late September, but Longview and Mesquite were the choices at the top of 12-5A entering the season, and here they are with three- and four-game winning streaks, respectively, coming into a big matchup against each other. Mesquite will use its pass-happy spread offense to face Longview’s four-man front-based defense, while the Lobos will mostly be under center in a pro-style offense against Mesquite’s 3-4 defense. That three-man front will be tested by a Longview running game that shredded Lufkin for more than 300 yards thanks to Tory White’s 232-yard effort. Mesquite has yet to beat Longview as a district opponent, but this could be the Skeeters’ best shot to date. Despite a 31-point win at rival Lufkin, the Lobos’ first in Angelina County since 1997, Longview is still ironing out its quarterback situation, and playing at Mesquite doesn’t help the Lobos’ chances. Nevertheless, Longview is more than accustomed to big district matchups during the John King era. Sophomore QB Dezmond Chumley and junior QB Stephon Dunn managed the game well enough for the Lobos to come up with a big win last week. Chumley got the vast majority of the snaps, so don’t be surprised if that’s the case again Friday. This game should be one of the state’s best in Class 5A this week.

 

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