Unbeaten Longview Begins Quest for State at Home on Friday
[By Stephen Amason, Special to ETSN.fm]
Did anybody really expect anything less than what the Longview Lobos have done so far this season?
The Lobos have been more than just a force to be reckoned with in 2018. They’ve imposed their will on every team they’ve played, and won just about every game in dominant fashion, winning by an average of 34 points per game.
Longview won the District 11-6A title by going undefeated in district play, and finished with the regular season a perfect 10-0.
The Lobos didn’t go the whole season without being tested. The first game of the year they faced a very good Lufkin team that led over the Lobos most of the game. The Lobos had to match Lufkin score-for-score, and work together as a team to get the victory.
“We’ve played well as a football team all year long,” Longview coach John King said. “It started in Week 1 in that big come-from-behind victory versus Lufkin. They play together and believe they can win any game until there’s no time left on the clock.”
Longview has an electrifying offense that averages 51 points per game, making teams play from behind, and ultimately beating them off the field.
“We’ve been very balanced on offense with run and pass,” King said. “We’ve been able to use a good mixture of different backs and receivers, we’ve able to spread the ball around. Our kicking game has been very solid, we’ve had good returns, our field goals and extra-points have been solid by JK Martin all year long.”
The Lobos offense is led by a combination of players in Haynes King and Kamden Perry.
Haynes King has thrown for 2,424 yards with 28 touchdowns and only one interception this season. Perry has caught everything thrown his way. Perry holds the school record for single-season receiving yards at 1,235 yards, and has also hauled in 57 catches and 15 touchdowns.
“Those two have had a connection since they were in grade school,” Coach King said. “They’ve thrown the ball to each other for many years. We’re fortunate to have a guy like Kamden Perry. He believes every ball that’s in the air is his. Haynes has done a good job putting the ball in the air to him. He’s a great route runner, he’s extremely gifted with his ball skills. He’s a very unselfish player, he blocks well. He’s just a good all-around football player.
“But you gotta have people around you to make all of this work. Our offensive line has done a great job in protecting the quarterback and giving Haynes time to throw the ball and let the receivers run routes and get open.”
The Lobos have had some solid depth this season at the running back position, led by Keilyn Williams, Jessie Anderson, and Kaden Meredith. Each one of those guys have different attributes.
“All three of them bring something different to bring to the table,” Coach King said. “Obviously Jessie with his size and his power in running the football, he does a good job of blocking, and he catches the ball out of the backfield.
“Keilyn, he’s hard to get your hands on, he’s not very big, but he is electric when he gets into open field and makes people miss. Kaden, he’s kind of mixture of the two, he’s got great open-field speed. He’s extremely strong, he’s got a burst through the hole. When he hits the hole he’s gonna hit it downhill and he’s popped a few long runs for us this year as well.”
The Lobos begin their march into the playoffs by hosting Copperas Cove (7-3) this Friday night at Lobo Stadium. This is the first time the two teams have met, and although the teams have no experience together, Coach King has known of Copperas Cove head football coach Jack Alvarez’s work and knows the Bulldawgs are more than a worthy opponent for the Lobos in the first round of the playoffs.
“I know their head coach Jack Alvarez very well,” Coach King said. “He’s done an excellent job everywhere he’s been. I’ve known Jack for probably 30 years. He does an amazing job at coaching kids and getting them to play extremely hard. This team that’s coming in leads their district in defense only allowing 250 yards per game and offensively they’re averaging over 440 yards per game.
“We’re going to have to play our best football. On the offensive side of the ball we’re going to have to move the football. They don’t make it easy on you, everything they do they try to make it as hard on you as possible. They’re a good football team.”