No. 9 Longview Faces a Fearsome Defensive Front in Season Opener vs. Coppell
No. 9 Longview Lobos
7 p.m. Saturday
Tom Landry Classic
SMU's Ford Stadium, Dallas
Longview: John King
Coppell: Joe McBride
Longview: 11-2 (Class 5A Division II Region II semifinalist)
Longview: vs. North Little Rock (Ark.)
Coppell: vs. McKinney Boyd
- QB Bivins Caraway, Sr., 6-0, 200 (committed to ULM)
- LB DeMarkus Lathan, Sr., 5-9, 190
- RB Tory White, Sr., 5-9, 175
- SS Corey Bartley, Sr., 5-7, 155
- SS Stephan Maxey, Jr., 5-11, 185
- DT Cornelius Williams, Sr., 5-10, 290
- DE Jalen Porter, Sr., 6-0, 210
- TE Colin Jeter, Sr., 6-6, 215
- OL Zaycoven Henderson, Jr., 6-3, 270
- WR Justinn Spady, Sr., 5-9, 155
- DE William Udeh, Sr., 6-2, 235
- DE Solomon Thomas, Jr., 6-3, 255
- QB Colby Mahon, Sr., 6-0, 180
- RB Luke Jenner, Sr., 5-10, 175
- TE Josh Self, Sr., 6-2, 220
- LB Tanner Masters, Sr., 6-1, 210
- ATH Jacob Logan, Sr., 5-10, 175
Just the facts
- Coppell's Luke Jenner ran for 1,088 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior.
- Longview's Bivins Caraway threw for more than 2,400 yards and 22 touchdowns last season.
- Coppell's Soloman Thomas had 105 tackles for his defensive end position last season.
- Longview returns only two offensive starters, but has eight returning defensive starters. Coppell has five offensive and six defensive.
- Coppell's Colby Mahon moved in from Class 3A Bridgeport, where he threw for 3,000 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2011.
- Longview has won an outright district championship or at least shared it every year coach John King has been in charge, which dates to 2004.
- Coppell held opponents to 19.7 points per game in 2011, but the Cowboys scored only 21.6.
- Longview scored 34.2 points per game last season and limited opponents to 20.1.
Key matchup: Longview's rebuilt offensive line vs. Coppell's defensive front. The Lobos must depend on a new offensive line with promising players such as junior Zaycoven Henderson (6-3, 270) to contend with a talented veteran front from Coppell. The Cowboys have two true bookends in William Udeh (6-2, 235) and Soloman Thomas (6-4, 255), who had more than 100 tackles playing with a hand on the ground last season. While Longview had such a strong passing game last season, it all starts with the ground attack for Lobo coach John King. He emphasized the importance of not only the Lobos' O-line against Coppell's defensive front, but how well Longview's front four can play against Coppell's offensive line.
"They've got three good down linemen (on defense). ... I think it's going to come down to who wins the battles in the trenches on either side of the ball," King said. "I think that's the key. We've got our hands full on both sides of the line."
Longview coach John King on the Lobos' new receivers replacing their two leading receivers from 2011, Arkansas signee Eric Hawkins and D.T. Jackson: "I think they've done a good job filling in. We don't have a speedy guy like Hawkins that could run by everybody. We've got about five or six of them that all do good things. There's not much separation in them."
King on Longview's experienced defense led by consensus Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year DeMarkus Lathan: "It's a new year, a different year. We lost some good players. Jordan Burton, George Polk, Larry Thomas, what those guys were able to do for our defense, it's hard to replace those guys. You've got to have 11 guys on the same page. We're going to have to play better than we did against John Tyler (in the scrimmage)."
Don't be surprised if: Longview's offensive line grows up fast, and the Lobos' defense proves too athletic for Coppell's offense. Coppell will be bigger, so the Lobos must be physical up front, something King emphasized entering Saturday night's game. But Longview's offense fared well in its close scrimmage loss to John Tyler, and Caraway and White appear ready to have huge senior seasons. If Longview gets a better defensive performance than it got against John Tyler, the Lobos should have enough offense to start 2012 on the right foot.