Longview Topples Marshall For State 7-On-7 Tournament Berth + Jacksonville Clinches For Second Straight year
TYLER -- A lot of people along Interstate 20 are eager to see how new Mavericks head coach Claude Mathis will shake up the Marshall-Longview rivalry when the two teams meet Sept. 8.
While that's the first official melee between the two schools in Mathis' tenure, the 7-on-7 squads met Saturday at Lindsey Park in Tyler for the right to advance to the Division I State 7-on-7 Tournament later this month. Longview kept its longtime edge with a 33-0 semifinal win in the Tyler State Qualifying Tournament and will make its first state tournament appearance since 2013.
Jacksonville defeated Greenville, 41-25, in the other semifinal to secure its place in the July 1 tournament at College Station's Veterans Park and Athletic Complex. Longview and Jacksonville opted not to play a championship game since the top two teams from a qualifying tournament automatically move to the state level.
"Our rivalry is always good with Marshall," Lobos senior athlete Kendle Johnson said. "I felt like it was going to be a pretty good game. We had a good time."
Johnson caught a team-best two touchdowns in the meeting. Both scores came from about 30 yards and were delivered by senior quarterback Jordan Lawson, who threw all five of the game's touchdowns.
Lawson, Johnson and Haynes King all got signal-caller reps through the course of the tournament. King and Johnson strictly played receiver in the semifinal game.
It took Longview four possessions to break the opening deadlock.
Adarius Carter's 20-yard score just under the 10-minute mark of the first half held up as the winning play. Lawson threw scores the next two possessions for a 20-0 lead at halftime.
King and Jacob Johnson scored touchdowns around Kendle Johnson's two grabs and Carter's go-ahead score.
Junior cornerback Tainique Taylor recorded two interceptions in the second half.
"It was a team effort," Taylor said. "We practiced hard the last couple of weeks preparing for this, and we performed."
Marshall's offense ran hot-and-cold all day on its way to a Pool D win versus College Station, John Tyler and Sulphur Springs.
College Station had previously qualified for the state tournament and traveled to Tyler solely for the experience, so pool games against College Station didn't count. Marshall, John Tyler and Sulphur Springs all officially achieved 1-1 records.
The Mavericks dropped their opening game to Sulphur Springs, 42-40, and lost 28-12 against College Station. A 39-25 win versus John Tyler allowed it to represent the pool on point differential.
Marshall led John Tyler, 27-7, at halftime and pitched a shutout until the final play of the half.
Longview officially finished Pool C competition with a 2-0 record. It lost to Whitehouse 33-14 in its opening game, but Whitehouse had already earned a state tournament berth and forfeited its games. The team went on to beat Forney, 31-20, and topped Lindale by a score of 30-0.
Past and present Lobos players would be the first to tell you 7-on-7 isn't their forte, which makes achieving a state tournament berth for the first time in four seasons that much sweeter. The team operates a balanced offense out of pro formations during the football season.
Longview lost Tyler qualifying tournament semifinal games in 2015 and 2016. The 2015 Lobos reached the fourth round of the Class 5A Division I playoffs and the 2016 squad won a share of the District 11-6A championship.
"It feels good," Kendle Johnson said. "We always say we're the best class, '18. It feels good to be going to state and representing Longview."
Indians Get Back To State
Jacksonville had never been to the state level of 7-on-7 competition prior to last year. It's starting to look like appearances in College Station will be the program's norm under third-year coach Wayne Coleman.
The Indians topped Greenville on the other side of the Tyler State Qualifying Tournament, 41-25, and now have the opportunity to work on an 0-3 all-time record at the state tournament outside of consolation bracket play.
Dontrell Sessions threw six touchdowns in the semifinal game. Cade Chandler scored three times, including from a long of 40 yards on the 45-yard field.
Defensively, Dallas Mobley recorded three pass breakups in the red zone. Chris Carpenter's interception in the final minutes sealed the game.
Sessions guided the squad to an unblemished 3-0 record in Pool B against Texas High, Huntsville and a B-team from Tyler Lee.
Greenville defeated Mount Pleasant and Tyler Lee's main team in Pool A competition. Lufkin beat Greenville, but it forfeited the game back to Greenville because it had previously qualified for the state tournament.
Heavily recruited Tyler Lee quarterback Chance Amie did not play Saturday.
Extra 7-on-7 experience might have been part of the edge Jacksonville needed to reach the postseason last year. It scraped into the Class 5A Division II playoffs on graduated dual-threat quarterback Cameron High's 30-yard pass to Devin Henry with four seconds remaining in its regular season for a 46-45 victory against Nacogdoches.
The Indians put up 406 rushing yards in that decisive game and had thrown for a tad under 100 yards, but Nacogdoches got the margin of victory it needed to make the playoffs with 1:29 remaining and forced the squad to throw to save its season.
Jacksonville's win in that game secured its first playoff appearance since 2012 and first winning regular season since 2010.
Tyler State Qualifying Tournament Results
- Greenville 46, Mount Pleasant 20
- Lufkin* 18, Tyler Lee 0
- Lufkin* 28, Greenville 27
- Mount Pleasant 26, Tyler Lee 7
- Lufkin* 27, Mount Pleasant 20
- Greenville 32, Tyler Lee 28
- Jacksonville 32, Tyler Lee B 6
- Huntsville 35, Texas High 33
- Huntsville 53, Tyler Lee B 6
- Jacksonville 32, Texas High 26
- Texas High 34, Tyler Lee B 32
- Jacksonville 28, Huntsville 27
- Forney 40, Lindale 20
- Whitehouse* 33, Longview 14
- Longview 32, Forney 21
- Whitehouse* 33, Lindale 0
- Whitehouse* 34, Forney 20
- Longview 30, Lindale 0
- John Tyler 29, College Station* 27
- Sulphur Springs 42, Marshall 40
- College Station* 28, Marshall 12
- John Tyler 33, Sulphur Springs 26
- Sulphur Springs 60, College Station* 55
- Marshall 39, John Tyler 25
- Longview 33, Marshall 0
- Jacksonville 41, Greenville 25