PREVIEW: Rivals Longview + Lufkin Clash in All-East Texas Regional Final
CLASS 6A DIVISION II
REGION II CHAMPIONSHIP
Longview Lobos (12-1)
Lufkin Panthers (11-2)
2 p.m. Saturday
Homer Bryce Stadium, Nacogdoches
- Longview: John King
- Lufkin: Todd Quick
- Longview: def. Klein Collins, 30-24
- Lufkin: def. Spring Westfield, 14-11
- Winner faces either Southlake Carroll or Hewitt Midway, state semifinals
- QB Haynes King, Soph., 6-3, 170 (102 of 186, 1,743 yards, 20 TDs, 5 INT; 16 carries, 167 yards, 1 TD)
- CB Jalen Carr, Sr., 6-0, 160 (56 tackles, 10 INTs, 5 PBUs, 3 blocked kicks)
- S Jephaniah Lister, Jr., 5-9, 155 (117 tackles, 4 for loss, 2 sacks, 3 INTs, 4 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
- LB Ja'Vontae Writt, Jr., 5-9, 190 (81 tackles, 10 for loss, 3 sacks, 5 fumble recoveries)
- RB Keilyn Williams, Jr., 5-5, 145 (155 carries, 1,037 yards, 16 TDs; 9 catches, 153 yards, 1 TD)
- TE Jaylin Brown, Sr., 6-3, 205 (27 catches, 576 yards, 12 TDs)
- WR A'Darius Carter, Sr., 6-4, 205 (23 catches, 489 yards, 5 TDs; 27 carries, 150 yards, 12 TDs)
- DE Ke'Andre Mauldin, Sr., 6-0, 205 (45 tackles, 8 for loss, 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery)
- RB Jaquan Edwards, Sr., 5-5, 155 (99 carries, 670 yards, 9 TDs)
- DE JC Blakemore, Sr., 6-0, 210 (67 tackles, 17 for loss, 7 sacks, 3 PBUs, 3 fumble recoveries)
- RB Isaiah Phillips, Sr., 5-9, 185 (254 carries, 1,727 yards, 24 TDs; 4 catches, 37 yards)
- WR Ja'Lynn Polk, Soph., 6-2, 175 (35 catches, 607 yards, 5 TDs)
- DT Carl Williams, Jr., 6-4, 306 (34 tackles, 9 for loss, 3 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 2 forced fumbles)
- S Jerrin Thompson, Soph., 6-0, 170 (95 tackles, 5 for loss, 4 INTs, 7 PBUs, 4 forced fumbles, 2 recoveries, 1 defensive TD)
- WR Malik Jackson, Sr., 5-11, 170 (59 catches, 773 yards, 8 TDs; 12 carries, 112 yards, 2 TDs)
- CB Demond McKelvey, Jr., 5-11, 165 (24 tackles, 4 INTs, 8 PBUs, 1 forced fumble)
- QB Kewone Thomas, Jr., 6-2, 190 (158 of 275, 2,143 yards, 19 TDs, 8 INTs; 135 carries, 422 yards, 10 TDs)
- DE Ja'Vasia Brunson, Jr., 6-4, 235 (23 tackles, 5 for loss, 3 sacks, 12 QB pressures, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovery)
- S Jeremiah Davis, Sr., 6-0, 180 (74 tackles, 3 for loss, 2 INTs, 9 PBUs, 4 forced fumbles; committed to Louisiana-Lafayette)
- S Savon Fields, Sr., 5-9, 168 (67 tackles, 6 for loss, 1 sack, 2 QB pressures, 1 INT, 6 PBUs, 3 fumble recoveries)
Just the facts
- This is the 81st all-time meeting between Longview and Lufkin. Longview leads the all-time series, 39-37-4.
- Longview and Lufkin have met nine times in the playoffs, and four times since 2002. The two teams faced off against one another in 2002, 2004, 2014, and 2015.
- Longview averages 43 points and 402.1 yards per game -- 223.1 rushing and 179 passing.
- Longview is 9-0 since sophomore Haynes King took over as starting quarterback. He has thrown for 1,370 yards and 17 touchdowns with two interceptions as the starter.
- Longview running back Jessie Anderson rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown in the Week 1 win over Lufkin, but has missed the last 11 games to injury.
- Longview is 3-2 in the fourth round of the playoffs under head coach John King. The Lobos' last semifinal berth came in 2010.
- Longview allows 19.5 points per game, and has forced 34 turnovers -- 19 interceptions and 15 fumbles.
- Lufkin averages 34.8 points and 389.2 yards per game -- 219.4 rushing and 169.8 passing.
- Lufkin running back Isaiah Phillips has rushed for 514 yards and six touchdowns in the Panthers' three playoff games.
- Lufkin's defense is allowing 2.9 yards per carry for the season. In the playoffs, opponents average just 2.3.
- Lufkin has not advanced to the fourth round of the playoffs since 2005, which was also its last time in the state semifinals.
- Lufkin allows 19.8 points per game, and has forced 31 turnovers -- 14 interceptions and 17 fumbles.
Key matchup: Longview rushing attack vs. Lufkin defensive front. It doesn't get more clear cut than this: The winner of Saturday's game could very well be determined by how this matchup shakes out. They are far and way the overriding strengths of each team.
The Lobos come into the regional finals averaging 223 rushing yards per game. Despite losing starting running back Jessie Anderson in Week 2 to a injury, Longview has still relied its ground game to get the job done. Keilyn Williams and Jaquan Edwards have picked up the slack in Anderson's absence, combining to rush for more than 1,700 yards and 25 touchdowns.
However, Longview is coming off its worst rushing performance of the season. In their 30-24 upset win over Klein Collins, the Lobos managed only 89 yards on the ground and were held to just four yards per carry. For the season, Longview had come into last week's game averaging 6.9. The Lobos were rescued by sophomore quarterback Haynes King, who tossed a season-high four touchdown passes and passed for 164 yards.
Lufkin has thrived on defense all season long, and in particular against the run. The Panthers enter Saturday allowing less than three yards per carry and just 81 rushing yards per game. Lufkin rotates a few guys along the defensive line, but the majority of the production comes from four players -- ends Micah Thomas, Jacourtney Calvin and Ja'Vasia Brunson, and nose tackle Carl Williams. That foursome has combined for 28 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.
In the playoffs, Lufkin's run defense has been even more fierce. The Panthers have surrendered an average of 2.29 yards per rushing attempt.
Something's gotta give.
Don't be surprised if: Both quarterbacks are forced to make plays through the air. Longview and Lufkin would each much rather control the game with their rushing attacks, but each defense figures to make that difficult. While the Panthers' run defense has been superb, Longview's has been almost as good. In last week's win over Klein Collins, the Lobos allowed 156 yards but on 46 carries. Collins junior running back and Oklahoma commit Isaiah Spiller ran for 131 yards, but only 37 of those came after the first quarter.
King has been a revelation for Longview since taking over as starting quarterback in Week 5. The Lobos are 9-0 with him as the starter, and judging by last week's performance, he is gaining more and more confidence from the coaching staff. King's 24 passing attempts last week were a season-high, and with Lufkin's prowess at stuffing the run, Longview might ask even more of its quarterback on Saturday.
Lufkin junior Kewone Thomas has solid numbers for the season in his first season at quarterback. But in the playoffs, Lufkin has relied more and more on running back Isaiah Phillips, who has 514 and six touchdowns in the Panthers' three playoff games. Thomas is completing 52 percent of his attempts for 335 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions during the postseason.