Longview Works Through Inconsistency To Down Defending Champ Ennis In Live-Action Scrimmage
LONGVIEW -- Friday night's scrimmage at Lobo Stadium was, for Longview, a far cry from last season's showing in Ennis. And while it wasn't perfect, the Lobos were able to walk off the field with final score in their favor.
Longview defeated defending Class 5A Division II state champion Ennis, 21-14, in two live quarters of action, which leads the Lobos into next week's season opener at home against arch-rival Lufkin.
The scrimmage began with a controlled element, which consisted of eight, 12-play sequences, cycling through the first-, second-, and third-teamers for each team.
'I thought our defensive football team, particularly our 1's, settled down after the first controlled part of the scrimmage and played well in the live quarters," said Longview head coach John King.
Senior defensive end Kybrian Sheridan recorded two sacks and forced a fumble during the two quarters, while junior safety Traveion Webster shined for most of the night, making several stops at or near the line of scrimmage in run support.
"He's very athletic and we're gonna expect him to make big plays for us," King said of Sheridan. "He's hard to block, he's got a lot of speed and he's surprisingly strong when you look at him."
But it wasn't all good for Longview, which struggled with inconsistency for much of the night, especially on offense.
"Too many penalties, too many missed alignments, we can't line up, too may face masks, illegal procedures, busted plays, missed assignments," King said. "It was very inconsistent."
King praised his team's effort, but stopped short of giving them a glowing assessment.
"Our guys need to understand it's a scrimmage," he said. "Nobody prepared for this in terms of scheming people up, and that's what we're going to face next week."
King added: "(Ennis is) a different football team, and they're breaking in a bunch of new guys. I think they're going to be a great football team, and I think they tested us where we needed to be tested."
Longview senior quarterback Michael Ross, in his first season as the starter, showed flashes of brilliance. Most of his big plays came on the ground, as he finished both portions of the scrimmage with 76 yards and a touchdown on seven rushing attempts, earning the bulk of his yardage via improvisational scrambles.
Ross, who suffered through a few drops from his receivers and a couple of overthrown balls, did come through with a couple of big completions on the run during the live portion of the scrimmage.
And they came on back-to-back snaps.
Facing a third-and-7 from his own 33-yard line, Ross eluded the Ennis pass rush, rolled out and hit D'Crayvan Polk for a 20-yard gain. On the next play, Ross side-stepped another Ennis defender, and hit senior receiver Jon Sorey for a 47-yard touchdown, which gave Longview a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
"That's the intangible he gives our offense, but I wish it didn't come down to that," King said of Ross. "I wish we could execute better, that's not how it's designed and drawn up. We didn't protect well at times offensively, and he busted a couple of things, too. He's gonna have to play a little more consistent."
Sorey was the Lobos' leading receiver for the night, catching five passes for 76 yards.
Longview's backfield tandem of senior tailback Tylan Miller and senior fullback Austin Miller worked well together, for the most part. Neither back saw a ton of carries. Miller finished the night with 35 yards and a touchdown on five attempts.
WIth all the preseason preparation finished, Longview can now shift of its focus on the regular season, which opens Friday night at home vs. Lufkin.
"We better sit back and evaluate where we're at, personnel-wise," King said. "And the mistakes that we made (tonight), we don't need to repeat next week. It's not going to be an easy road with our non-district schedule. Lufkin's coming to town (next week), and I know they'll be fired up and excited. We've seen them plenty of times in the past. Our kids have played each for years in sub-varsity games, in playoff games … you name it, we've matched up. It'll be a fun night, and I hope our guys prepare in the right way, and we come ready to work on Friday."