Longtime Rivals Lufkin + Longview Meet For Fourth Time in Two Seasons
CLASS 5A DIVISION I BI-DISTRICT
Longview Lobos (8-2)
Lufkin Panthers (7-3)
7:30 p.m. Friday
Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, Tyler
- Longview: John King
- Lufkin: Todd Quick
- Winner faces winner between Dallas Kimball and Mansfield Summit, area round
- RB Tylan Miller, Sr., 5-8, 195 (87 carries, 620 yards, 8 TDs; 8 catches, 76 yards)
- RB Braylynn Anthony, Sr., 5-8, 175 (43 carries, 716 yards, 10 TDs; 3 catches, 27 yards)
- TE Jordan Wyatt, Sr., 6-3, 215 (12 catches, 300 yards, 5 TDs)
- QB Michael Ross, Sr., 5-10, 175 (67 of 145, 1,076 yards, 10 TDs, 6 INTs; 38 carries, 170 yards, 2 TDs)
- DE Kybrian Sheridan, Sr., 6-0, 210 (43 tackles, 11 for loss, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 PBU)
- CB Ameron Dean, Sr., 5-11, 170 (21 tackles, 1 for loss, 4 INT, 6 PBUs, 3 blocked kicks)
- S Traveion Webster, Jr., 6-0, 200 (53 tackles, 1 PBU)
- S Bryson Davis, Sr., 6-3, 185 (70 tackles, 2 for loss, 1 sack, 1 PBU)
- DE Bronson "Boom" Massie, Sr., 6-4, 200 (65 tackles, 14 for loss, 3 sacks, 10 QB pressurs, 3 forced fumbles, 1 PBU)
- QB Kordell Rodgers, Jr., 6-0, 175 (130 of 214, 2,044 yards, 22 TDs, 10 INTs; 106 carries, 584 yards, 5 TDs)
- OL Jerrod Johnson, Sr., 6-3, 285
- WR Dhailon Phillips, Jr., 6-3, 195 (38 catches, 639 yards, 6 TDs)
- RB Ellis Jackson, Sr., 5-8, 170 (125 carries, 627 yards, 1 TD; 8 catches, 162 yards, 1 TD)
- WR Malik Jackson, Soph., 5-11, 170 (32 catches, 399 yards, 2 TDs)
- DT Eric Smallwood, Sr., 6-2, 265 (46 tackles, 3 QB pressures)
- CB Lavonte' White, Sr., 6-1, 170 (28 tackles, 2 INTs, 3 PBUs, 1 fumble recovery)
Just the facts
- This is the 78th all-time meeting between Longview and Lufkin. Longview leads the series, 37-36-4.
- Each of the previous two meetings have been decided by one point, both in Longview's favor.
- Longview is averaging 40.1 points and 437.1 yards per game -- 320.8 rushing and 116.3 passing.
- The Lobos' defense is yielding 13.4 points and 256.5 yards per game -- 135.6 rushing and 120.9 passing.
- Longview averaged 47.7 points in District 15-5A action.
- Lufkin is averaging 38.6 points and 436.1 yards per game -- 200.2 rushing and 235.9 passing.
- The Panthers' defense is allowing 22.3 points and 355.5 yards per game -- 206.4 rushing and 149.1 passing.
- Lufkin gave up 38 points per game in non-district, but just 14.5 in 16-5A competition.
Key matchup: Longview rushing attack vs. Lufkin defensive front. If everything goes according to Longview head coach John King's plan, the Lobos won't open up the offense very much; instead, rely on a running game that's carried them to a share of their 11th district title in King's 12 seasons as head coach.
What has differentiated this year's ground attack from past years is its versatility and depth. Four Longview ball carriers finished the regular season with at least 497 rushing yards. Starting tailback Tylan Miller, who has missed a couple of games because of injury, leads the team in carries with 87 and is second in both yards (620) and touchdowns (eight). Junior D'Crayvan Polk, who spelled Miller early in the season, has run for 606 yards and five touchdowns on 77 attempts. And senior fullback Austin Moore has run for almost 500 yards and scored five touchdowns on the year.
The biggest surprise out of Longview's backfield this season might by senior speedster Braylynn Anthony, who not only leads the team with 716 yards and 10 touchdowns. but enters Friday's game averaging an astounding 16.65 yards per carry. He is coming off his best performance of the season, rushing for 190 yards and four touchdowns on only nine carries against Hallsville.
Longview fell behind Lufkin, 28-0, in the first half of last season's playoff encounter, which forced the Lobos to the air in order to get back in the game. It ultimately worked out for Longview, as senior quarterback Dez Chumley passed for 305 yards and four touchdowns, including a 10-yarder with 31 seconds remaining and the ensuing game-winning two-point conversion that gave Longview a wild 43-42 comeback victory.
This season's starting quarterback for Longview, senior Michael Ross, has steadily progressed in the passing game from the beginning of the year. But obviously Longview doesn't want to fall behind by multiple scores again, and force Ross into a position to win the game by himself. But that's exactly what Lufkin's primary objective figures to be on defense -- slow down Longview's ground attack, and force Longview to beat the Panthers through the air.
Don't be surprised if: Friday's game is more high-scoring than Longview's 21-20 season-opening win. The Lobos' offense has drastically improved since Week 1, and Lufkin's collection of young skill-position players shouldn't be considered underclassmen anymore. Lufkin junior quarterback Kordell Rodgers has thrived in year one as the Panthers' signal-caller. Rodgers' arm strength and touch on the deep ball were never in question, but his accuracy on immediate routes has gotten better as the season has progressed. He also presents Longview's defense with the ability to escape the pocket, and make big plays with his legs. Rodgers enters the playoffs as the Panthers' second-leading rusher, trailing running back Ellis Jackson by less than 100 yards.
Rodgers' receiving corps, while comprised almost entirely of junior and sophomores, is as talented as they come in East Texas. Junior Dhailon Phillips, who leads the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, is on the recruiting radar of several Division I FBS college programs, and the combination of junior Javante Ellington and sophomores Malik Jackson and Jeremiah Davis give the Lufkin receiving corps game-breaking explosiveness.