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Lobos earn state 7-on-7 berth

By Jimmy Carter
June 15, 2013 at 4:24 p.m.

TYLER - Jordan Whitaker wasn't a part of the first Longview team in school history to qualify for the 7-on-7 state tournament last year.

But the 6-foot-4 senior tight end more than did his part to ensure the Lobos earned a second consecutive state berth on Saturday at the Tyler State Qualifying Tournament.

Whitaker caught six touchdown passes in four Lobo wins, including a 13-yard score in the 26-13 victory over John Tyler to win the tournament semifinal game and clinch the state tournament trip.

"It feels good, " Whitaker said. "I didn't go last year. And to qualify for state is a good experience. They said they had fun last year. I just want to go up there and try to win the game."

Longview and Tyler Lee won their respective semifinal games to qualify for state. The teams mutually opted not to play the championship game, a common decision. 

The Lobos earned the berth by outscoring their four opponents 157-70 in the tournament at Leander Park. They won their pool by beating John Tyler B 34-6, Crosby 52-43 and Sulphur Springs 45-8, then earned the berth in the John Tyler win.

Longview trailed John Tyler 7-6 in the semifinal game before junior quarterback Dezmond Chumley engineered a six-play drive capped off by a 13-yard touchdown pass to Whitaker.

The Lobos stretched the lead to 19-7 when Chumley found Texas commit Dorian Leonard for a 6-yard score on a jump ball early in the second half. John Tyler cut it to 19-13, but the Lobos responded with Chumleys 14-yard touchdown pass to Chris Pellum, who finished with 10 catches for 122 yards and the score in the game.

Chumley had an at-times stellar day for the Lobos. He completed 29 of 35 passes for 370 yards and eight touchdowns in the Crosby win and finished with 18 touchdown passes on the day.

He had an assortment of receivers to throw to.

Whitaker had 11 catches for 145 yards and four touchdowns in the Crosby game and was a consistent target.

"We all said we wanted to go to state," Whitaker said. "And I just told Dezmond, 'You pass me the ball and I'm going to do whatever I can to catch the ball.' And I did. We all did our thing for us."

Pellum totaled four touchdown catches in the tournament run, including the key score in the John Tyler game. He also had 13 catches for 142 yards and four touchdowns in the Sulphur Springs win.

Senior receiver and new Texas commit Dorian Leonard drew attention from opposing defenses each game and was still productive. He finished the day with three touchdown catches, including two in the John Tyler game.

Stephon Anthony and JaMycal Hasty also played key roles.

"It's good to have choices," Chumley said. "If you've got one key receiver, everybody's locked on him. But if you got multiple choices to go to, it's good."

And the Lobos defense was solid when Chumley and the offense sputtered. The defense intercepted six passes against John Tyler B, including touchdown returns by Jhavaurian Moore, Laurent Johnson and Stephon Anthony.

The defense also shut down Sulphur Springs and held up against a speedy John Tyler team in the semifinals, finishing with seven interceptions and four defensive touchdowns in the tournament.

"Our man coverage has gotten better," Johnson said. "Everybody just started playing as a team, really. Started communicating. That last game we were talking a lot. Most of our returning starters are in the secondary."

The state tournament is July 12-13 in Leander.


Follow Jimmy Carter on Twitter @jicartersports



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